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Omaha defeats Chicago, takes West Division crown

Behind 24 saves from netminder Curtis McElhinney, the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights doubled up the Chicago Wolves 4-2 at Allstate Arena on Sunday to win their first division title.

Warren Peters tallied twice for the Knights, who end the season with the top record in the Western Conference at 49-25-5-1 and 104 points.

McElhinney ends the regular season with a 35-17-1 record and winning six of his seven starts in April.

Chris Lee and Brandon Prust also provided goals for Omaha, who extended its road winning streak to four games.

With the top spot in the West, the Knights kick off the Calder Cup Playoffs against the Iowa Stars on Fri., Apr. 20.

Cory Larose scored both goals in the loss for Chicago, who will face the defending Western Conference champion Milwaukee Admirals in the other West Division semifinal series, beginning on Friday.


PORTLAND 5, HARTFORD 2
Ryan Carter tallied twice and defenseman Clay Wilson recorded a goal, assist and a plus-3 as the Pirates won their second straight game by the score of 5-2, this time over the visiting Hartford Wolf Pack.

Gerald Coleman picked up his fourth win of the year with Portland by stopping 28 of 30 shots.

Rookie Matt Christie scored for the second straight game and defenseman Greg Amadio also scored for the Pirates, who wrapped up their season with a 37-31-3-9 record.

Alex Bourret and Nigel Dawes each had a goal and an assist for the Wolf Pack, who will open the Calder Cup Playoffs at home against the Providence Bruins on Wednesday.


WORCESTER 3, LOWELL 2 (OT)
Graham Mink scored the game winning goal in overtime as the Worcester Sharks ended their regular season by edging the Lowell Devils by a score of 3-2 at the DCU Center.

The Sharks got out to a 2-0 lead in the second period with two goals on the man advantage from Mike Iggulden and Lukas Kaspar.

The Devils fought back with goals from David Clarkson and Rod Pelley, who also added an assist on each others goals, to knot the game at 2-2 and forcing overtime.

Dmitri Patzold made 25 saves on 27 shots to earn his 10th win of the season for the Sharks.

The Sharks open up the Calder Cup Playoffs with a first-round matchup against the Manchester Monarchs on Wednesday, Apr. 18.


PROVIDENCE 1, MANCHESTER 0 (OT)
The P-Bruins avoided a first-round matchup with Manchester, by defeating Manchester 1-0 in overtime at the Dunkin Donuts Center and ending the Monarchs’ eight game winning streak.

With neither goaltender allowing a goal in regulation, P-Bruins’ defenseman Jason Platt found the scoresheet midway through the overtime period to give Providence the win and secure a third place finish in the Atlantic Division.

Jordan Sigalet capped off the regular season for Providence by stopping all 23 shots in the contest to improve his mark to 15-5-2.

The P-Bruins will face off against the Hartford Wolf Pack in the first round of the playoffs.

Yutaka Fukufuji stopped 29 of 30 shots in the loss for Manchester.


TORONTO 5, GRAND RAPIDS 1
The Grand Rapids Griffins ended the regular season with a 5-1 loss to the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum.

Despite the loss, the Griffins clinched the final Calder Cup Playoff berth with Peoria losing to the Milwaukee Admirals.

John Mitchell scored a goal and added two assists as defenseman Jamie Sifers had a goal and an assist to lead Toronto to its second straight win.

Justin Pogge stopped 32 of 33 shots for Toronto, improving his mark to 19-25-2.

Robbie Earl, Brett Engelhardt and Michel Leveille also produced goals for Toronto, who ended their season with a 3-1-0-1 record in the last five contests.



MILWAUKEE 4, PEORIA 0

Pekka Rinne stopped all 23 shots to shut out the Rivermen’s playoff hopes with a 4-0 win at the Bradley Center.

The loss eliminates Peoria from the Calder Cup Playoffs, by finishing one point behind Grand Rapids for the final spot in the Western Conference.

Four different players scored for Milwaukee, led by Rich Peverley who tallied a goal and an assist in the win.

Kim Staal, Chris Durno and Ramzi Abid all scored for Milwaukee, who looks to defend its Western Conference title by facing the Chicago Wolves in the first round of the playoffs.


HERSHEY 3, PHILADELPHIA 2
The Bears ended their regular season with a perfect 6-0-0 record in Philadelphia, by edging the Phantoms 3-2 at the Wachovia Spectrum.

Hershey jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Philly with goals from Andrew Joudrey and defenseman Mike (D.) GreenD.

The Phantoms battled back to even things up as Darroll Powe scored shorthanded and teammate Stefan Ruzicka scored the equalizer on the power play.

Alexandre Giroux scored his 42nd goal of the year with six seconds remaining to give Hershey its 51st victory of the year.


SYRACUSE 4, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 1
Philippe Dupuis netted two goals to help the Syracuse Crunch end their season with a 4-1 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza.

Tomas Popperle shut down the Penguins by making 45 saves on 46 shots and improving his record to 25-19-4.

Geoff Platt and defenseman Andy Canzanello also provided goals for the Crunch, who after falling behind 1-0, scored four unanswered on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Marc-Antoine Pouliot tallied the only goal of the night for the Pens, who will play host to the Norfolk Admirals in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs on Fri., Apr. 20.


SAN ANTONIO 4, HOUSTON 2
The Rampage turned the tables on the Houston Aeros in their own building with a 4-2 win of their own to end the regular season.

San Antonio avenged a 4-2 loss at the hands of Houston last night to take the back end of the home-and-home series.

Donald MacLean and Joel Perrault provided the scoring for San Antonio, both tallying two goals each to end the season with a 32-4-2-4 record.

David LeNeveu stopped 20 of 22 shots to earn his 13th win on the season.

Peter Olvecky and Aaron Voros both scored in the loss for Houston.


ROCHESTER 2, HAMILTON 1
In a preview of things to come, the Rochester Americans edged the visiting Hamilton Bulldogs by a score of 2-1 at Blue Cross Arena to gain home-ice advantage in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Clarke MacArthur tallied a goal and an assist for the Amerks, who will face off against Hamilton in the first round of the postseason on Thu., Apr. 19.

Mark Mancari rounded out the scoring for Rochester, while netminder Craig Anderson made 25 saves on 26 shots from the Bulldogs.

Maxime Lapierre tallied the lone goal for Hamilton in the loss.


BRIDGEPORT 5, NORFOLK 3
Steve Regier scored a goal and added two assists as the Sound Tigers tallied three unanswered goals in the third period to end the regular season with a 5-3 win over the Norfolk Admirals at the Arena at Harbor Yard on Sunday.

The loss by Norfolk lands them in third place in the East Division with a first round matchup at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton slated to begin on Apr. 20.

Michael Mole stopped 31 of 34 shots in the win, while Kyle Rank registered a goal and an assist for the Sound Tigers.

Sergei Ogorodnikov, Masi Marjamaki and defensemen Tomas Malec all scored for Bridgeport, who snapped a four game losing streak.

Martin St. Pierre had a goal and two assists in the loss, increasing his scoring totals to 99 points (27g, 72a) in 65 games to lead the Admirals.