PEORIA 6, ROCKFORD 3
Graham Mink equaled a career high with four goals, matching his output from the previous 16 games combined, and Peoria got back on track with a 6-3 road win over Rockford on Monday afternoon at the MetroCentre.
Mink registered his 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th goals of the season, scoring three times on the power play and once more at even strength. He buried a pair during the Rivermen’s four-goal opening period and then scored once apiece in the second and third frames.
It marked the 10th-year pro Mink’s first performance with three goals or more since Oct. 8, 2008, when he registered three goals and two assists for Hershey on opening night of the 2008-09 season, and his first four-goal effort since Mar. 16, 2002, vs. Quebec as a member of the Portland Pirates.
T.J. Hensick racked up three points (1-2-3) for the Rivermen, who scored four times in the game’s first 19 minutes after totaling three goals during their recent three-game losing skid. Nicholas Drazenovic rounded out the offense, while forward Adam Cracknell and defensemen Mark Cundari and Ian Cole each posted a pair of assists on the afternoon.
Rivermen rookie goaltender Jake Allen (17-11-2) stopped 28 of 31 shots in net and halted a personal eight-game winless skid. Allen collected his first victory since a 24-save performance in a 5-1 win at Abbotsford on Jan. 19.
With the victory, Peoria (32-21-2-3, 69 points) climbed into fourth place in the tight West Division race.
CONNECTICUT 2, PORTLAND 1 (OT)
Defenseman Wade Redden scored shorthanded at 1:23 of overtime to lift Connecticut to a 2-1 road win over Portland on Monday afternoon at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
With Jeremy Williams in the penalty box for tripping, Tim Kennedy grabbed the puck in the Whale zone, after Portland point man Marc-Andre Gragnani had a pass go off of his stick. Redden joined Kennedy on a two-on-one, and after Kennedy stickhandled down the left-wing side he passed in front to a wide-open Redden, who slapped the puck past Pirates goaltender Jhonas Enroth for the winner.
A former AHL All-Rookie forward with the Pirates, Kennedy assisted on both Connecticut goals and now shows seven points (3-4-7) in seven games against his old club this season.
Evgeny Grachev gave the Whale a 1-0 lead in the second period, a margin which held until Pirates forward Mark Mancari netted his league-leading 32nd goal of the season with just 4:28 left in regulation.
Connecticut goaltender Chad Johnson earned the victory with 15 saves on 16 shots in net.
Portland is winless in three straight games (0-1-1-1) but moved within two points of Manchester for the Atlantic Division lead.
TORONTO 6, SAN ANTONIO 4
Rookie Joe Colborne tallied a pair of goals and Mike Zigomanis put up a game-high three points (1-2-3) as Toronto outlasted visiting San Antonio by a 6-4 count at Ricoh Coliseum on Monday afternoon.
Colborne, a former first-round draft pick who was acquired last week by the parent Maple Leafs, now has three goals in just two games since joining the Marlies.
Goaltender Andrew Engelage earned the victory with 33 saves in net for Toronto, which moved within one point of a trio of teams – Manitoba, Lake Erie, and Hamilton – who currently occupy first place in the North Division.
Brett MacLean (1-1-2), Viktor Tikhonov (1-1-2), Alexandre Picard, and defenseman Jeff May tallied goals for the Rampage, who are now 4-4-0-0 on their nine-game road trip. The journey concludes with a tilt in Oklahoma City on Friday night.
Amerks goaltender Tyler Plante turned aside all four Hamilton attempts, stopping Ben Maxwell, Alexander Avtsin, Hunter Bishop, and Gabriel Dupont in succession. Plante (10-10-1) made 26 saves through the first 65 minutes.
Michal Repik scored twice in regulation for Rochester, and defenseman Joe Callahan’s power play goal at 13:33 of the third period tied the score at 3-3 and forced overtime. Chris Taylor contributed a pair of assists.
The Amerks improved to 5-1-0-0 in their last six games and pulled to within one victory of the .500 mark overall at 26-27-3-2.
Dumont (1-1-2), ex-Amerk Jimmy Bonneau, and defenseman Frederic St. Denis registered goals for the Bulldogs, who still earned a point and pulled into a first-place tie with Manitoba and Lake Erie in the North Division.