Jason Guerriero and Matt Ellison each notched a power play goal and added an assist for the Admirals, who won their fourth straight game and moved into sole possession of fourth place in the West Division.
Milwaukee (35-25-3-2, 75 points) sits two points up on Houston but has played four more games. Peoria is three points back of the Admirals with one game in hand.
After a scoreless first period, Guerriero scored on the man advantage at 7:01 of the second. Ellison made it 2-0 at 14:31 with his 21st goal of the season, tying him for the team lead.
Mike Santorelli extended the advantage to 3-0 at 2:02 of the third stanza. That was more than enough for Rinne, a two-time AHL All-Star, who improved to 31-23-2 on the season.
The Bulldogs dropped their fourth straight game and have scored just three goals in the four contests. Hamilton remains three points back of Syracuse for the North Division’s third and final guaranteed playoff spot.
IOWA 7, LAKE ERIE 3
B.J. Crombeen notched his first career AHL hat trick and added an assist to lead Iowa to a 7-3 win over Lake Erie at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Crombeen scored once in the second period and twice more in the third for the Stars. He now has six points (4-2-6) over his last three games.
Iowa received a goal and an assist each from James Neal and Chris Conner. Francis Wathier recorded his first goal of the season, and Perttu Lindgren also scored. All seven Stars tallies came in the second and third periods.
Goaltender Tobias Stephan made 22 saves in the win, which brought Iowa back to the .500 mark at 30-30-4-2 for the season.
PHILADELPHIA 3, NORFOLK 0
Philadelphia scored a goal in each period and Scott Munroe pitched a 22-save shutout as the Phantoms dropped Norfolk by a 3-0 final at the Wachovia Spectrum on Tuesday.
The victory snapped the East Division-leading Phantoms’ three-game losing skid and moved them to 6-3-0-0 against the Admirals this season.
Munroe now has four shutouts on the season and two against the Admirals. He made 25 saves in a 3-0 victory at Norfolk on Dec. 15, the last time prior to Tuesday that Norfolk had failed to score.