OKLAHOMA CITY 2, TEXAS 0
Goaltender Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers made 22 saves for the third shutout in his last four appearances, and Oklahoma City secured the Western Conference’s final playoff spot with a 2-0 road win over Texas on Saturday at the Cedar Park Center.
The first-year Barons, who can still finish as high as third place in the West Division, took control of their own destiny by putting together a four-game winning streak on the heels of a five-game winless run (0-3-0-2).
The four-game winning streak marks Oklahoma City’s longest since putting together a four-game run from Jan. 9-15, and the Barons have outscored opponents 18-2 over the course of the current run.
Milan Kytnar provided all the offense Drouin-Deslauriers would need at 6:47 of the second period, and then Colin McDonald added insurance at the 19:42 mark with his 41st goal of the campaign. Brad Moran and Mark Arcobello picked up assists on the play.
Drouin-Deslauriers, who has received the lion’s share of Oklahoma City’s playing time of late, improved to 17-13-4 in 35 appearances for the season.
The Stars, who clinched a playoff spot on Friday night, are now just 1-4-0-0 in their last five contests.
HAMILTON 3, MANITOBA 1
The Hamilton Bulldogs earned a 3-1 road win over Manitoba on Saturday night in their final game of the 2010-2011 regular season. With the win, the Bulldogs have become the North Division regular season champions for the second consecutive year and become division champions for the fourth time in their 15-season history.
Hamilton will begin the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs on Thursday at Copps Coliseum against either Oklahoma City, Peoria, or Texas, depending on the outcomes of the Oklahoma City and Texas games on Sunday.
The ‘Dogs took a 1-0 lead 28 seconds into the game. Nigel Dawes received the puck from Aaron Palushaj before sending the puck to the net. Dustin Boyd whacked at the puck, sending it past Manitoba starting goaltender Tyler Weiman.
Paul Zanette earned his first professional goal at 15:01. Zanette intercepted a Moose defender’s passing attempt while positioned in the high slot. Zanette fired a shot past Weiman and into the net.
The Bulldogs took a 3-0 lead at 13:22 of the second stanza. Dawes sent the puck to the right point, where Kyle Klubertanz was positioned. Klubertanz blasted a shot that sailed through traffic before being tipped by Frederic St. Denis and past Weiman.
The Moose got on the scoreboard at 17:11 of the final frame. Alexandre Bolduc picked up a Kevin Connauton rebound while positioned behind the net. Bolduc sent the puck to the front of the net, where it bounced off the glove of Hamilton starting goaltender Drew MacIntyre and across the goal line.
MacIntyre finished with 32 saves on 33 shots in the winning effort.
TORONTO 6, ROCHESTER 5
Six different Toronto skaters found the back of the net as the Marlies outlasted visiting Rochester by a 6-5 count on Saturday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum.
Captain Alex Foster, Justin Hodgman, and rookie Marcel Mueller posted a goal and an assist apiece for the Marlies, while Ryan Hamilton, Aaron Voros, and defenseman Mike Brennan also found the back of the net.
Toronto halted a five-game winless skid (0-4-0-1) and earned its first victory since collecting a 5-1 decision at Grand Rapids on Mar. 23.
Thirteen of Toronto’s 18 skaters recorded at least one point on the afternoon, and Marlies rookie goaltender Ben Scrivens emerged with the victory after making 31 saves between the pipes.
PROVIDENCE 3, SPRINGFIELD 2
A trio of players each scored their first goals of the season as Providence edged host Springfield by a 3-2 count on Saturday at the MassMutual Center.
Defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk notched his first goal of the campaign with just eight second left in the second period, and he was followed in the third frame by rookies Ryan Spooner and Kyle MacKinnon, who both scored for the first time as professionals.
Bruins goaltender Michael Hutchinson preserved the victory with 30 saves between the pipes.
Providence has now won four of its last five games (4-1-0-0), and at 37-36-3-3 with one game remaining, the B’s have assured themselves of no worse than a .500 record for 2010-11.
PORTLAND 3, ALBANY 2 (SO)
Paul Byron cashed in on a second-period penalty shot and then scored in the shootout as Portland clinched the Atlantic Division title on Saturday with a 3-2 road win over Albany at the Times Union Center.
The Pirates (47-24-6-2, 102 points) will open the Atlantic Division semifinals against Connecticut on home ice next Thursday night.
Albany’s Matt Anderson and Portland’s Travis Turnbull traded first-period goals, and it remained a 1-1 contest until Byron beat ex-Pirates goaltender Mike McKenna on a penalty shot at 6:11 of the second frame. Mike Hoeffel converted a power play for the Devils in the second period’s closing minute, and neither side scored in the third frame.
Portland goaltender John Muse earned the victory in his professional debut, stopping 33 of 35 shots through the first 65 minutes before turning aside four of five in the shootout.
Chad Wiseman netted the lone shootout goal for the Devils, who fell to 2-6-0-2 in their last 10 outings.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 4, HERSHEY 2
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton stormed out to a 4-0 lead after two periods and cruised from there to a 4-2 road win over arch-rival Hershey on Saturday in front of 10,701 fans at the Giant Center.
The Penguins (57-21-0-1, 115 points) established a franchise record for standings points in a season and finished 8-2-0-0 against the Bears this season, after posting a 2-9-0-1 mark in last year’s season series.
Penguins goaltender John Curry (23-13-0) earned the victory in net with 27 saves on 29 shots.
Andrew Gordon and Maxime Lacroix potted third-period goals for the Bears, who are locked into second place in the East Division and will battle Charlotte in the division semifinals beginning next week.
BRIDGEPORT 4, CONNECTICUT 3
Bridgeport staked itself to a 4-1 lead midway through the third period and held on for a 4-3 road win over Connecticut on Saturday at the XL Center in Hartford.
Tyler McNeely, Rob Hisey, Jeremy Colliton, and Joe Pereira each posted a goal and an assist for the Sound Tigers, and former AHL All-Rookie goaltender Nathan Lawson stopped 30 of 33 shots between the pipes.
Goaltender Cameron Talbot made 22 saves in net for the Whale, who will oppose division-champion Portland in the opening round of the playoffs next week.
CHARLOTTE 6, WORCESTER 2
Six different players netted goals as Charlotte wrapped up its regular-season schedule with a 6-2 win over visiting Worcester on Saturday before 11,121 fans at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Brett Sutter and 2011 AHL All-Rookie forward Zac Dalpe each posted a goal and an assist for the Checkers, while Matthew Pistilli, Chris Terry, Brad Herauf, and defenseman Michal Jordan also found the back of the net.
The Checkers conclude the regular season 6-2-0-1 in their last nine games and will open the Calder Cup Playoffs at Hershey next Thursday.
ADIRONDACK 2, BINGHAMTON 1
Rookie Matt Read continued to make a good impression since joining Adirondack from the college ranks, netting the game-winning goal with 6:06 left in regulation as the Phantoms earned a 2-1 road win over Binghamton on Saturday at the Broome County Arena.
Read has now racked up six goals and 11 points in just 10 games with the Phantoms after completing his college career at Bemidji State University.
Rob Bordson and 2011 AHL All-Rookie defenseman Erik Gustafsson assisted on the game-winner by Read, and goaltender Johan Backlund made the goal stand up, finishing with 27 saves on 28 shots between the pipes.
The Senators closed their regular season at 42-30-3-5 for 92 points and currently sit one point up on Norfolk for fourth place in the East Division. Norfolk has a chance to jump ahead when it closes its schedule on Sunday in Bridgeport.
LAKE ERIE 3, ABBOTSFORD 0
Lake Erie goaltender Jason Bacashihua turned in a 26-save shutout as the Monsters officially eliminated Abbotsford from postseason contention with a 3-0 win over the visiting Heat on Saturday before 12,866 fans at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Monsters (43-28-3-5, 94 points) clinched second place in the North Division and will take on third-place Manitoba in the division semifinals, beginning next week in Cleveland.
Bacashihua (23-16-3) made nine saves in the first period, six in the second frame, and 11 more in the third en route to his fourth shutout of the season.
Abbotsford was blanked just one night after putting a six-spot up in a 6-0 win at Grand Rapids, and the Heat suffered their first shutout since a 4-0 loss to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton non Mar. 11.
SYRACUSE 5, NORFOLK 4
Syracuse struck for four goals in the second period alone and eked out a 5-4 win over visiting Norfolk on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd of 6,258 fans in its home finale at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Crunch rookie goaltender Igor Bobkov earned the victory with 34 saves on 38 shots between the pipes.
Despite the loss, Norfolk remained just one point back of Binghamton for fourth place in the East Division. The Admirals conclude their regular-season slate at Bridgeport on Sunday, while the Senators will be idle.
CHICAGO 5, SAN ANTONIO 3
Chicago racked up four goals in a span of 4:08 in the second period and rolled to a 5-3 win over visiting San Antonio on Saturday before 10,519 fans at Allstate Arena.
Despite the victory the Wolves were eliminated from playoff contention when Oklahoma City defeated Peoria. Chicago will miss the playoffs for the second time in three years since capturing the 2008 Calder Cup title.
Second Team AHL All-Star Darren Haydar added a third-period strike, and Chicago held off a late San Antonio charge to take the victory.
Chicago rookie goaltender Edward Pasquale secured the win with 20 saves on 23 shots, improving to 11-10-1 in 23 AHL appearances this season.
MILWAUKEE 4, PEORIA 3
Ryan Thang scored with just 6.5 seconds left in regulation, sending Milwaukee to a dramatic 4-3 road win over Peoria on Saturday at Carver Arena.
With the win, the Admirals clinched the West Division title and also established an AHL record by recording a point in 16 consecutive road contests (10-0-4-2). Milwaukee has not lost a road game in regulation since a 3-0 setback at Manitoba way back on Jan. 13.
T.J. Hensick (1-1-2), Nicholas Drazenovic (1-1-2), and defenseman Daryl Boyce each recorded a goal for the Rivermen, who can finish anywhere from third to fifth in the West Division depending on the outcome of Sunday’s games.
ROCKFORD 4, GRAND RAPIDS 2
Former first-round draft pick Philippe Paradis’s first professional goal turned out to be the game-winner as Rockford doubled up visiting Grand Rapids by a 4-2 count on Saturday at the MetroCentre.
Paradis snapped a 2-2 deadlock at 17:40 of a high-scoring first period, and it remained a 3-2 contest until Jeff Taffe potted an empty-netter in the game’s closing minute.
Paradis, who was drafted 27th overall by Carolina in 2009, posted 53 points (23-30-53) in 59 games with Prince Edward Island (QMJHL) prior to joining the IceHogs.