WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 3, LOWELL 1
Kurtis McLean netted a pair of goals in the second period to lead Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to a 3-1 victory over Lowell on Wednesday before 7,219 fans at the Wachovia Arena.
The Penguins matched a season high with their ninth consecutive win and pulled within one point of Philadelphia for first place in the East Division race.
After a scoreless first period, McLean scored just 1:14 into the second to put the Penguins on top. But Lowell’s Petr Vrana, a 2008 AHL All-Star, tied the score with a power play goal at 3:08.
McLean put Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on top to stay with a man-advantage goal of his own at 5:07, and Nathan Smith added an insurance marker in the third stanza.
Penguins goaltender John Curry earned the victory with 20 saves on 21 shots.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton also won nine straight games from Dec. 15 – Jan. 2
SPRINGFIELD 4, MANCHESTER 3
Viacheslav Trukhno and Rob Schremp each had a goal and an assist as Springfield posted a critical 4-3 victory over visiting Manchester at the MassMutual Center.
Trukhno extended his scoring streak to nine games (7-6-13), while Schremp has a point in seven straight (4-6-10).
The win pushed the Falcons three points up on Manchester for the Atlantic Division’s fourth and final playoff spot. Both teams have 12 games to play, and their final head-to-head match-up will take place on Sunday in Manchester.
HARTFORD 5, PHILADELPHIA 4 (OT)
Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau capped off a wild finish with a power play goal 37 seconds into overtime to give Hartford a 5-4 win over Philadelphia at the XL Center.
Philadelphia entered the third period holding a 3-1 lead, but Parenteau and Dane Byers scored to pull the Wolf Pack even by the 16:22 mark.
Phantoms defenseman Lars Jonsson scored on the power play at 18:35 to make it a 4-3 Philadelphia lead. Hartford came right back, though, as 2008 AHL All-Star Greg Moore lit the lamp with just 15 seconds left in regulation, sending the game to overtime.
That set the stage for Parenteau’s game-winner, allowing the Wolf Pack to take the first of a home-and-home between the teams. They will face-off for a rematch on Friday in Philadelphia.
Wolf Pack goaltender Miika Wiikman made 35 saves in the winning effort.
ALBANY 6, HERSHEY 2
Albany scored five unanswered goals in the third period, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 6-2 win over division-rival Hershey at the Times Union Center.
Jamie Johnson (2-1-3) and Pat Dwyer (1-2-3) both had three-point nights for the River Rats. Marc Cavosie, Kiel McLeod, and Brett Carson posted a goal and a helper apiece, and Nicolas Blanchard chipped in a pair of assists in the win.
River Rats goaltender Michael Leighton earned the win with 23 saves on 25 shots.
Scott Barney notched both goals for the Bears, scoring twice on the power play in less than two minutes late in the first period.
SYRACUSE 3, HAMILTON 1
Trevor Frischmon netted a pair of goals, including the game-winner, as Syracuse took a 3-1 win over visiting Hamilton at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Reigning Rbk/AHL Player of the Week Clay Wilson opened the game’s scoring with a power play goal, and Frischmon scored one each in the second and third periods.
Crunch goaltender Karl Goehring made 28 saves in the win, which was Syracuse’s fourth in a row. The Crunch are 13-1-0-5 in their last 19 outings.
Mathieu Biron scored for the Bulldogs, who have lost seven straight games.
TORONTO 2, GRAND RAPIDS 1
Toronto scored twice in the second period and eked out a 2-1 road win over division-rival Grand Rapids at the Van Andel Arena.
Evan McGrath pulled the Griffins within a goal at 16:15 of the third, but Grand Rapids was unable to get the equalizer.
Toronto goaltender Scott Clemmensen stopped 31 of 32 shots in the victory. Clemmensen has been between the pipes for all three games of the Marlies’ current run.
WORCESTER 4, BRIDGEPORT 2
After falling behind 2-0, Worcester rallied for four straight goals and doubled up Bridgeport by a 4-2 count at the DCU Center.
2008 AHL All-Star Mike Iggulden notched the eventual game-winner for the Sharks 13:01 into the second, and Dan Spang added a power play goal in that period’s closing minute. Sharks goaltender Dimitri Patzold picked up the win with 29 saves.
The two teams will square off for a rematch on Friday, also in Worcester.
PROVIDENCE 7, NORFOLK 0
Chris Collins lit the lamp twice, part of a seven-goal attack as Providence blanked Norfolk by a 7-0 count at the Scope.
Bruins captain Nate Thompson posted a goal and an assist, while Byron Bitz, Jeff Hoggan, Jeff LoVecchio, and Matt Hendricks also lit the lamp. Hoggan’s goal came via a penalty shot in the opening period.
Providence rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask stopped all 27 shots he faced en route to his first North American shutout.
The league-leading Bruins improved to 5-0-0-2 in their last seven outings.
QUAD CITY 3, HOUSTON 2
Quad City took a 2-0 lead by the game’s mid-point and held on for a 3-2 win over Houston at the Toyota Center. The Flames swept their two-game set with the Aeros this week.
Stevenson’s goal at 16:05 of the second period made it a 3-0 game, but Houston’s Danny Irmen responded with a tally of his own just 49 seconds later. Ryan Hamilton pulled the Aeros within a goal 6:20 in the third, and neither team scored after that.
Flames goaltender Curtis McElhinney earned the win with 23 saves on 25 shots. Quad City, which has won three straight games overall, pulled within two points of Houston for a potential playoff spot in the Western Conference.
MANITOBA 3, SAN ANTONIO 2
Brad Moran’s goal at 3:21 of the third period proved to be the game-winner as Manitoba eked out a 3-2 win over San Antonio before 7,866 fans at the MTS Centre.
The Moose posted their season-high seventh straight win overall and remained seven points back of Toronto for first place in the North Division.