MANCHESTER 7, LOWELL 2
Manchester erupted for four goals in the first period and never looked back on its way to a 7-2 win over visiting Lowell on Saturday before 6,850 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Matt Moulson registered a hat trick for the Monarchs, and four other players posted multiple-point efforts in the victory. Moulson scored once in the first period and twice in the second to give him 14 goals for the campaign.
Justin Azevedo racked up a goal and three assists for a season-high four points, and the rookie forward now shows three goals and seven points in his last three games for the Monarchs.
Gabe Gauthier chipped in with a goal and two helpers, David Meckler had a goal and an assist, and Brian Boyle also netted a goal. Boyle and Moulson each scored on the power play for Manchester, which finished 2-for-3 with the advantage.
With the win, the Monarchs moved within one point of Lowell and Worcester, who are currently tied for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.
ROCHESTER 3, TORONTO 1
Rochester scored once in each period en route to a 3-1 road win over Toronto on Saturday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum. Karl Stewart, David Brine, and Shawn Matthias all netted goals for the Amerks, and Janis Sprukts chipped in a pair of assists.
Stewart kicked off the game’s scoring at 19:13 of the first period, with Sprukts and Dan Collins picking up the helpers.
Sprukts then assisted on David Brine’s power play goal 6:38 into the middle frame, giving the Amerks a 2-0 advantage.
After the Marlies pulled within 2-1 on a Jeremy Williams goal at 10:49 of the second, Rochester’s Matthias tacked on an insurance marker 12:19 into the third.
Amerks goaltender Tyler Plante picked up the win with 37 saves on 38 shots.
Toronto finished 7-4-0-0 on its season-high 11-game homestand. The Marlies and Americans will meet again on Sunday in Rochester.
Defenseman Mike Vernace added a goal and an assist for the Monsters, who concluded their nine-game road swing at 4-5-0-0, including wins over the Griffins to both open the trip and wrap it up.
Lake Erie goaltender Jason Bacashihua earned the victory with 31 saves on 33 shots.
HAMILTON 4, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 1
Hamilton scored three times in third period to cool off Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with a 4-1 win over the visiting Penguins at Copps Coliseum.
Hamilton goaltender Marc Denis earned the victory with 26 saves on 27 shots, helping the Bulldogs capture their third straight win and improve to 7-1-0-0 in their last eight outings.
After a scoreless opening period, Aaron Boogaard initially gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead with a goal 3:12 into the middle frame. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s winning streak came to an end at nine games.
HARTFORD 2, PORTLAND 1 (OT)
Defenseman Michael Sauer scored 2:20 into overtime to lift Hartford to a 2-1 win over visiting Portland in front of 6,043 fans at the XL Center on Saturday.
Wolf Pack rookie goaltender Matt Zaba emerged with the victory, finishing with 17 saves on 18 shots.
The overtime win for Hartford left the Wolf Pack and Pirates deadlocked for second place in the Atlantic Division. Each club has 63 points for the season, four back of Providence for the top spot.
HERSHEY 5, PHILADELPHIA 4 (OT)
Keith Aucoin scored as time expired in overtime to give Hershey a 5-4 come-from-behind win over visiting Philadelphia on Saturday before 10,652 fans at the Giant Center.
With the overtime loss, meanwhile, Philadelphia moved within three points of Binghamton for the division’s fourth and final playoff spot.
SPRINGFIELD 3, BRIDGEPORT 2 (SO)
Shane Willis scored in the 10th round of a marathon shootout to finally give Springfield a 3-2 win over visiting Bridgeport on Saturday at the MassMutual Center.
Falcons goaltender Dany Sabourin stopped 21 of 23 shots through regulation and overtime before denying eight of Bridgeport’s 10 shootout tries.
Despite the shootout loss, Bridgeport extended its points streak to six games (4-0-0-2) and moved within four points of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for second place in the East Division.
PROVIDENCE 4, WORCESTER 2
Providence continued its domination of Worcester on Saturday by posting a 4-2 road win over the Sharks before 7,008 fans at the DCU Center.
The Sharks battled back to a draw, as rookie Jamie McGinn – reassigned from parent-club San Jose earlier in the day – scored on the power play 11:32 into the second and tallied the equalizer at 2:25 of the third.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask earned the win with 25 saves for the Bruins, who moved to 7-0-1-0 against the Sharks this season and 22-6-1-1 all-time.
MILWAUKEE 2, MANITOBA 1
Milwaukee edged Manitoba by a 2-1 count on Saturday at the Bradley Center in a match-up of the Western Conference’s two division leaders.
Ex-Moose goaltender Drew MacIntyre earned the victory for Milwaukee with 23 saves on 24 shots, helping the Admirals move to 8-2-1-1 in their last 12 contests.
The Moose have now lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time since Dec. 28-30.
HOUSTON 2, IOWA 1 (SO)
Jesse Schultz scored in the fifth round of a shootout to lift Houston to its season-high sixth straight win, a 2-1 final over visiting Iowa before 11,714 fans at the Toyota Center.
Both regulation goals were scored in the second period. Houston took a 1-0 lead at 6:46 on defenseman Kurtis Foster’s first tally of the season, and Chops forward Drew Miller tied it at 10:46 with his 21st of the campaign.
Adrian Veideman potted the lone shootout goal for the Chops, who are now winless in seven straight games (0-4-1-2).
With the win, Houston (28-21-1-8, 65 points) jumped over Rockford for second place in the West Division, one points up on the IceHogs and two ahead of Chicago.
NORFOLK 4, BINGHAMTON 2
Norfolk rebounded from a 2-0 first-period deficit to post a 4-2 win over Binghamton on Saturday and earn a sweep of the teams’ two-game weekend set at the Scope.
Jones, Keller, and Bochenski each finished with a goal and an assist, Zenon Konopka chipped in two helpers, and goaltender Riku Helenius earned the win with 24 saves in net. The Admirals improved to 4-1-1-0 in their last six outings.
CHICAGO 3, PEORIA 1
Defenseman Clay Wilson’s power play goal at 3:24 of the second period held up as the game-winner as Chicago took a 3-1 road victory over Peoria on Saturday at Carver Arena.
Wolves goaltender Ondrej Pavelec earned the win with 33 saves on 34 shots in net, helping his team to its 30th win of the season (30-27-2-1, 63 points).
Julian Talbot netted the lone goal of the night for the Rivermen, who dropped to 3-7-0-0 in their last 10 contests.