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Lessard, Stars defeat Houston to clinch playoff berth

Junior Lessard recorded four points, scoring two goals and two assists, to lead the Iowa Stars to a 6-2 win over the Houston Aeros before 10,384 fans at the Toyota Center on Friday night.

With the win, the Stars have clinched a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs for the second year in a row.

Dan Ellis stopped 23 of 25 shots to earn his 30th win of the year for the Stars.

Francis Wathier tallied a pair of goals and teammates Scott May and Chris Conner each had a goal an assist for Iowa, which won its third straight game, outscoring opponents 12-4 during that stretch.

Peter Olvecky and Erik Reitz both scored in the loss for Houston.


HERSHEY 6, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 1
The Hershey Bears claimed their first division title since 1994 and secured first place in the overall AHL standings with a 6-1 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza.

The Bears scored five times in the first period en route to their 50th win of the year.

Kyle Wilson scored two goals, while Joey Tenute, Tomas Fleischmann, Dave Steckel and Scott Barney each recorded a goal and an assist for Hershey, which has outscored its opponents 22-5 during its four-game winning streak.

Frederic Cassivi stopped 34 of 35 shots to earn his 22nd win of the season for the Bears.


BINGHAMTON 5, ALBANY 4 (OT)
Kaspars Daugavins scored his second goal of the night 2:13 into overtime to give Binghamton a 5-4 win over Albany at the Times Union Center.

Despite the loss, the River Rats clinched a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2000.

Charlie Cook scored for the Senators with 1:36 left in regulation to send the game to OT. Andrew Ebbett recorded three assists for the B-Sens.

Keith Aucoin had a goal for Albany, setting a franchise record with his 99th point of the season.


HARTFORD 3, BRIDGEPORT 0
Al Montoya posted his sixth shutout of the year by stopping all 20 shots to lead the Hartford Wolf Pack to a 3-0 win over the visiting Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

The loss by Bridgeport eliminates them from playoff contention.

Nigel Dawes had a goal and an assist and defensemen Dave Liffiton and Bryce Lampman also tallied for the Wolf Pack, who are unbeaten in regulation in their last six games at home (5-0-0-1).

Michael Mole stopped 33 of 35 shots in the loss for the Sound Tigers.

Hartford clinched second place in the Atlantic Division with the win, its ninth in a row over Bridgeport.


CHICAGO 4, MILWAUKEE 3 (SO)
In a back-and-forth contest it was the Chicago Wolves edging the Milwaukee Admirals in a shootout by a score of 4-3 at the Bradley Center.

Michael Garnett stopped 22 of 25 shots in regulation and overtime, and denied all four Milwaukee players in the shootout to earn his 23rd win of the year.

Recently named top AHL rookie Brett Sterling and AHL MVP Darren Haydar each had a goal and an assist for the Wolves, who moved to within one point of Omaha for the West Division lead.

Sterling also ended the game with a shootout goal in the ffith round.

Ramzi Abid and Cal O’Reilly each had a goal and two assists in a losing effort for the Admirals.


PEORIA 4, OMAHA 0
Jason Bacashihua stopped all 26 shots he saw from the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, as the Peoria Rivermen defeated Omaha by the score of 4-0 at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.

D.J. King had a pair of goals while Gavin Morgan recorded two assists on the night for the Rivermen, who are now two points behind Grand Rapids for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

David Backes and Yan Stastny also provided goals for Peoria, as the Rivermen improved to 10-0-0-0 all-time at the Civic Auditorium.


PROVIDENCE 4, WORCESTER 3
Nate DiCasmirro tallied the game-winning goal with 3:02 left to play as Providence defeated Worcester, 4-3.

The teams combined for four goals in 6:45 late in the third period, but the Bruins held on and now sit one point behind the third-place Sharks in the Atlantic Division.

DiCasmirro and Marco Rosa had a goal and an assist each on the night for the P-Bruins.
Riley Armstrong did the same for Worcester.

David Krejci and Sean Curry also provided goals for Providence and Hannu Toivonen made 24 saves to earn his 12th win of the year.


LOWELL 2, PORTLAND 0
The Lowell Devils kept their playoff hopes alive with a 2-0 win over the visiting Portland Pirates at the Tsongas Arena.

Jordan Parise earned his second shutout in his last five starts with 21 saves in the contest.

David Clarkson and Chris Minard both provided goals for Lowell, which is three points behind Providence with two games remaining for the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.

Gerald Coleman stopped 35 of 37 shots in the loss for Portland.


NORFOLK 6, PHILADELPHIA 3
Pierre Parenteau led the way with a goal and three assists as Norfolk doubled up Philadelphia by a score of 6-3 at the Wachovia Spectrum.

Jonas Nordqvist and Jack Skille each had a goal and an assist as the Admirals closed to within two points of second-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the East Division.

Corey Crawford stopped 37 of 40 shots from the Phantoms to earn his 37th win of the year.

Bruno St. Jacques, Craig MacDonald and Jake Dowell also produced goals in the victory for Norfolk.

Mark Cullen, Claude Giroux and Jared Ross all scored in the loss for Philly.


HAMILTON 3, GRAND RAPIDS 1
Making his first professional start, Carey Price stopped 27 of 28 shots to lead Hamilton to a 3-1 win over visiting Grand Rapids in front of 10,510 fans at Copps Coliseum.

Price was the fifth overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens.

Duncan Milroy, Andre Benoit and Jonathan Ferland all scored for the Bulldogs, who remain one point behind Rochester for second place in the North Division.

Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson scored in the loss for the Griffins, who are just two points up on Peoria in the race for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.


MANITOBA 3, TORONTO 2
Brad Moran tallied a goal and an assist to help the Moose edge the Toronto Marlies 3-2 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.

Marc Chouinard and Lee Goren also provided goals for the Moose, who have won three straight games.

Drew MacIntyre earned his 24th win of the year with 18 saves.

Martin Sagat had a goal and an assist and Alex Foster had two helpers for the Marlies.

Attendance in Winnipeg was 11,970.


ROCHESTER 3, SYRACUSE 2 (OT)
Janis Sprukts scored the game-winning goal in overtime to go with his two assists on the night as the Rochester Americans defeated the visiting Syracuse Crunch by a score of 3-2 before 8,674 fans at the Blue Cross Arena.

Craig Anderson’s 43-save performance helped the Amerks win their fourth straight home game, while earning his 22nd win of the year.

Clarke MacArthur had a goal and an assist and Michael Ryan rounded out the scoring for Rochester, which remains in second place in the North Division, one point ahead of Hamilton.

Curtis Glencross provided both goals in the loss for the Crunch.


MANCHESTER 7, SPRINGFIELD 0
Patrick O’Sullivan recorded a goal and three assists as the Manchester Monarchs routed the Springfield Falcons by a score of 7-0 at the MassMutual Center.

The Monarchs scored six of their seven goals on the power play, going 6-for-12 win the win.

In his first AHL start since Jan. 6, Yutaka Fukufuji stopped all 20 shots he faced to improve his record to a perfect 3-0-0 in 2006-07.

Trevor Lewis scored a pair of goals and Petr Kanko added a goal and an assist for the Monarchs, who extended their winning streak to seven games.