NORFOLK 5, CHARLOTTE 2
Blair Jones scored two goals and added an assist to become the leading scorer in Norfolk’s AHL history as the Admirals snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-2 road win over Charlotte on Monday night at the Time Warner Cable Arena.
At 38-24-8-6 (90 points), the Admirals can now clinch a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs with a single standings point in any of their final four games. Norfolk also moved two points up on fourth-place Binghamton in the East Division and closed to within three points of the second-place Checkers with a game in hand.
In his fourth season as an Admiral, Jones now has 66 goals and 111 assists for 177 points in 270 career games. Jones surpassed longtime Admirals captain Ajay Baines for the record. Baines recorded 68 goals and 107 assists for 175 points in 409 games with Norfolk from 2000-01 through 2005-06.
Admirals goaltender Jaroslav Janus stopped 24 of 26 shots for his first AHL win of the campaign (1-3-1), and Norfolk finished 3-for-7 on the power play.
Charlotte’s loss assured Hershey of a second-place finish in the East Division, as the Checkers can now finish no higher than third.
ADIRONDACK 6, ROCHESTER 0
Ex-Amerk Denis Hamel, who had totaled just one goal in his last 11 games, struck three times for his second hat trick of the season as Adirondack steamrolled visiting Rochester by a 6-0 count on Monday at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Hamel registered his 23rd, 24th, and 25th goals of the season, scoring once in each period to record his first three-goal effort since Feb. 5 at Hamilton.
The veteran forward, who broke into the pro ranks with Rochester from 1997-00 and also spent part of the 2002-03 season with the Amerks, ranks second on the AHL’s active list with 315 career goals, trailing only Oklahoma City’s Alexandre Giroux.
Michael Ryan – another former Amerk – netted a pair of goals for the Phantoms; Mike Testwuide rounded out the scoring; and 2011 AHL All-Rookie defenseman Erik Gustafsson turned in an impressive effort with five helpers on the night.
Rochester, which will miss the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, is now 2-10-2-1 in its last 15 contests.
ABBOTSFORD 1, HAMILTON 0
Goaltender Leland Irving made 23 saves for his second consecutive shutout to help Abbotsford edge past visiting Hamilton by a 1-0 count on Monday night at the Entertainment & Sports Centre.
It marked the Heat’s second 1-0 victory in a three-day span, having defeated Grand Rapids by that score on Saturday, and it allowed Abbotsford (37-29-4-6, 84 points) to move within three points of Oklahoma City for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot.
Irving (29-22-2) made 11 of his 23 saves in the opening period before stopping five shots in the second frame and seven more in the third for his seventh shutout of the season, pulling him into a tie for the league lead in that category.
Rookie Tyler Ruegsegger notched his first career AHL goal on the power play at 4:29 of the third period, and it proved to be the game’s only scoring. Ales Kotalik and Justin Dowling earned assists on the play.
The Bulldogs, whose five-game winning streak came to an end, still need just one more point in their final three games to clinch a postseason berth. Hamilton has another crack at the Heat on Tuesday night in Abbotsford.