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Pirates edge Devils in shootout, close in on first place


Sunday’s Boxscores

PORTLAND 7, LOWELL 6 (SO)
Rookie Tim Kennedy (pictured) tallied his first professional hat trick, and Portland emerged from an offensive show with a 7-6 shootout win over host Lowell on Sunday at Tsongas Arena.

Kennedy now has five goals and 10 points in his last four games for the Pirates, who moved within one point of first place in the Atlantic Division.

Portland has a standings point in six straight games (3-0-0-3), its longest streak since reeling off a season-high 12-game run (10-0-1-1) from Oct. 24 to Nov. 21.

Kennedy scored once in each of the three periods. AHL All-Star Mark Mancari posted a goal and an assist for the Pirates, who also received regulation scores from Colton Fretter and Marek Zagrapan.

Mancari’s goal went into an empty net with a minute to play in regulation and gave Portland a seemingly safe 6-4 advantage.

But the Devils struck for two goals in the closing seconds to tie it, as Matt Halischuk made it a 6-5 game at 19:36, and after Lowell received a late power play, defenseman Anssi Salmela tallied the equalizer at the 19:54 mark.

After a scoreless overtime, Fretter and Mancari netted shootout goals for the Pirates. Goaltender John DeCaro stopped all four of the Devils’ tries after making 44 saves through regulation and overtime.

Salmela (1-2-3), Nicklas Bergfors (1-2-3), Pascal Rheaume, and Rod Pelley (1-2-3) all registered three points in regulation for the Devils, and Barry Tallackson added a goal.

Despite the shootout loss, Lowell is 3-0-0-2 in its last five games and moved into a tie with Worcester for the Atlantic Division’s fourth and final playoff spot. Both clubs show 56 points, and the Devils have a game in hand on the Sharks.


MANITOBA 4, PROVIDENCE 0
AHL All-Star goaltender Cory Schneider made 23 saves for his fourth shutout of the season as Manitoba wrapped up the Atlantic Division portion of its road swing with a 4-0 road win over Providence at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

The league-leading Moose finished 4-0-0-2 on their six-game swing through New England and are 6-0-0-2 in their last eight tilts overall. Manitoba is 12-0-0-2 in its last 14 road contests.

Ex-Bruin Jason Krog racked up a game-high three points (1-2-3) for the Moose. Guillaume Desbiens registered a goal and an assist, and defensemen Shaun Heshka and Maxime Fortunus also scored.

Schneider upped his record to 20-3-1 for the season and improved his league-leading totals in goals-against average (1.62) and save percentage (.938).

It marked the Bruins’ first shutout-against since Dec. 10, a 2-0 loss at Hartford.


ROCHESTER 4, PEORIA 2
Rochester recovered from an early 1-0 deficit to post a 4-2 road win over Peoria on Sunday at Carver Arena.

Jacob Micflikier tallied the eventual game-winner for the Amerks at 18:48 of the second period. Rookie Michal Repik registered a game-high three points (1-2-3) in the win, while Rory Fitzpatrick and Janis Sprukts also lit the lamp.

Stefan Meyer chipped in two assists, and goaltender Tyler Plante earned the win with 34 saves. Rochester concluded its five-game road trip at 3-2-0-0.

Peoria’s Trent Whitfield netted a goal just 40 seconds after the opening face-off, and Chris Conner added a late third-period marker for the Rivermen.


TORONTO 3, SPRINGFIELD 1
Toronto scored once in each period en route to a 3-1 win over visiting Springfield on Sunday at Ricoh Coliseum.

Jeremy Williams and Darryl Boyce each posted a goal and an assist for the Marlies, who also received a tally from Jiri Tlusty.

Toronto goaltender Adam Munro only had to make 15 saves on 16 shots to backstop the Marlies to their fourth straight win, matching a season high set from Nov. 19-26.

Jean-Francois Jacques netted the lone goal for the Falcons, whose winless skid extended to 11 games (0-9-1-1).


WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 5, WORCESTER 2
Janne Pesonen registered a goal and two assists as red-hot Wilkes-Barre/Scranton took a 5-2 win over struggling Worcester on Sunday before 6,823 fans at the Wachovia Arena.

Mark Letestu posted a goal and an assist for the Penguins, who also received scores from Tim Wallace and defenseman Alex Goligoski in the victory.

The Pens extended their season-high winning streak to eight games and improved to 35-16-1-2 (73 points) overall. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton pulled within one point of idle Hershey for first place in the East Division.

Penguins goaltender John Curry earned the win with 38 saves, extending his personal winning streak to 10 games.

Ryan Vesce and defenseman Patrick Traverse each had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who have now lost a season-high four straight contests and are 1-5-0-0 on their seven-game road swing.

Vesce’s effort extended his scoring streak to 17 games (9-18-27), the longest current run in the AHL and second-longest this season.


NORFOLK 2, BRIDGEPORT 1 (SO)
Norfolk scored on three of its four shootout tries to take a 2-1 road win over Bridgeport on Sunday at the Arena at Harbor Yard.

Paul Szczechura, captain Zenon Konopka, and Brandon Segal all netted shootout goals for the Admirals. Goaltender Riku Helenius went 3-for-3 on Bridgeport’s tries after making 41 saves on 42 shots through the first 65 minutes.

The Sound Tigers initially took a 1-0 lead on a power play score by Trevor Smith in the opening period, but Segal tied it for Norfolk with a power play marker of his own midway through the second.

The Admirals and Sound Tigers will square off for a rematch in Bridgeport on Tuesday night.


QUAD CITY 2, MILWAUKEE 1 (OT)
Kris Chucko netted a power play goal 2:28 into overtime to lift Quad City to its season-high fourth straight win, a 2-1 road decision over Milwaukee at the Bradley Center.

Anders Eriksson and Jamie Lundmark assisted on the tally, which was Chucko’s 20th of the season and his team-high fifth game-winner.

Defenseman Brad Cole initially gave the Flames a 1-0 lead with an unassisted goal 16:32 into the contest. That lead held until Milwaukee’s Mike Santorelli responded with an unassisted score of his own at 6:59 of the third frame.

Flames rookie goaltender Leland Irving stopped 21 of 22 shots in net to earn his 12th victory of the season (12-11-1).

Despite extending their points streak to four games (2-0-1-1), the Admirals are now winless in consecutive games (0-0-1-1) for the first time since Jan. 8-9.


HOUSTON 4, CHICAGO 2
Houston moved into sole possession of third place in the West Division with a 4-2 win over visiting Chicago on Sunday at the Toyota Center.

The Aeros and Wolves entered the day tied with 59 points apiece, but Houston dispatched a Chicago team that was playing its third road game in as many days.

Defenseman Mitch Love and Jesse Schultz gave the Aeros a 2-0 lead in the opening period, Corey Locke scored his team-leading 20th goal of the season in the second frame, and Maxim Noreau added a tally late in the third. Both Locke and Noreau scored on the power play.

Kurtis Foster chipped in a pair of assists for Houston, and AHL All-Star goaltender Barry Brust earned the victory with 30 saves on 32 shots. The Aeros matched a season high with their fourth straight win and have a point in five straight tilts (4-0-0-1).

Spencer Machacek and Matt Anderson netted goals for the Wolves, who dropped to 1-4-1-0 against Houston this season.