HERSHEY 9, BRIDGEPORT 2
Hershey tallied five goals in the first period and four more in the second en route to a 9-2 win over Bridgeport before a sellout crowd of 10,703 fans at Giant Center on Saturday.
Mathieu Perreault scored four times for the Bears, who earned their 21st straight home win and moved to 16-3-0-0 in their last 19 games overall.
Perreault, who entered the night having totaled 10 goals on the season, lit the lamp twice apiece in the first and second periods. The second-year pro registered his second hat trick of the campaign, following a four-point effort (3-1-4) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Feb. 7.
Keith Aucoin (1-3-4), Alexandre Giroux, and Chris Bourque (1-3-4) also racked up four points for the Bears on Saturday; Andrew Gordon put up two goals and an assist in the victory; and Steve Pinizzotto chipped in four assists.
Hershey tallied at least eight goals in a game for the eighth time this season and extended its AHL record for consecutive victories on home ice.
Bears rookie goaltender Braden Holtby (18-5-1) stopped 22 of 24 shots between the pipes.
LOWELL 3, ADIRONDACK 2 (SO)
Patrick Maroon converted in the fifth round of a shootout to lift Adirondack to a 3-2 win over visiting Lowell at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Saturday.
But rookie defenseman Matt Taormina’s power play at 19:43 brought the Devils within 2-1, and Gionta netted the equalizer with 1:48 to play in the second period. Neither team scored in the third period.
Phantoms goaltender Johan Backlund earned the victory with 26 saves through the first 65 minutes and four saves on five shots in the shootout.
HAMILTON 4, ROCHESTER 1
Hamilton tallied three goals in a span of 7:56 in the third period and never looked back en route to a 4-1 win over visiting Rochester before 6,109 fans at Copps Coliseum on Saturday.
Rookie defenseman P.K. Subban began the Bulldogs’ offensive attack with a power play goal eight minutes into the game, and Ben Maxwell made it 2-0 just 1:18 later. Ryan Russell then converted a penalty shot at the 15:56 mark, giving Hamilton a 3-0 advantage.
Max Gratchev put the Americans on the board early in the second period, but they could get no closer. Maxwell added an insurance goal for the Bulldogs at 12:45 of the third frame.
Hamilton goaltender Cedrick Desjardins made 18 saves in the winning effort, as his club enjoyed a 33-19 advantage in shots on goal.
With the loss, Rochester dropped one point back of Abbotsford for second place in the North Division race.
PORTLAND 2, HARTFORD 1 (OT)
Rookie standout Tyler Ennis scored on the power play 3:02 into overtime to lift Portland to a 2-1 road win over struggling Hartford at the XL Center on Saturday.
Gragnani tallied a power play goal 11:39 into the second period to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead, with Mancari earning the lone helper. But Hartford’s Dale Weise tied it up just 1:04 later.
Portland goaltender Jhonas Enroth earned the victory with 19 saves on 20 shots, helping the Pirates close within a point of Worcester for first place in the Atlantic Division. The Pirates are now 4-0-1-0 against the Wolf Pack this season.
Hartford managed just one goal for a third consecutive game (0-1-2-0) and fell to 1-6-2-0 in its last nine contests.
ALBANY 5, MANCHESTER 2
Rookies Drayson Bowman and Zach Boychuk broke a 2-2 tie with power play goals 13 seconds apart in the third period, and Albany went on to a 5-2 road win over Manchester at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Bowman notched his 14th goal of the season at 8:40, and Boychuk followed with his 14th of the year at 8:53. Nicholas Blanchard then sealed the River Rats’ victory with an empty-netter in the closing seconds.
Manchester dropped to 2-5-0-0 in its last seven outings.
NORFOLK 3, BINGHAMTON 2 (SO)
Norfolk battled back from a pair of one-goal deficits in regulation and eventually took a 3-2 road shootout win over Binghamton at the Broome County Arena on Saturday.
The Admirals converted on three of their four shootout attempts, receiving tallies from Paul Szczechura, Juraj Simek, and Blair Jones. Rookie goaltender Dustin Tokarski stopped three of Binghamton’s four tries after making 35 saves through regulation and overtime.
Binghamton grabbed leads of 1-0 and 2-1 on goals by Zack Smith – who scored shorthanded – and Jim O’Brien.
But Norfolk responded on both occasions, as Brandon Bochenski netted his team-leading 21st goal of the season and Jones also found the back of the net. Simek assisted on both tallies.
The Admirals improved to 8-2-0-0 in their last 10 games and avoided dropping back-to-back contests for the first time since Jan. 15-16.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 5, PROVIDENCE 1
Chris Conner tallied three goals and an assist to propel Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to a 5-1 win over visiting Providence before 7,246 fans at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Conner notched his second hat trick in a five-game span, having also accomplished the feat in a 9-2 win over Albany on Feb. 17. He now shows 17 goals and 43 points in just 38 games for the Penguins this season.
Goaltender John Curry earned the win with 26 saves in net for the Penguins, who improved to 7-1-0-0 in their last eight games and moved within one point of Bridgeport for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.
Providence had fallen behind 5-0 before Jeff LoVecchio got his team on the board late in the second period. The Bruins dropped to 1-3-0-0 in their last four outings.
ABBOTSFORD 4, WORCESTER 3
Abbotsford forward J.D. Watt broke a 3-3 tie at 9:22 of the third period, and it proved to be the game-winner as the red-hot Heat edged Worcester by a 4-3 count before 5,671 fans at the DCU Center.
The Heat extended their winning streak to five games and wrapped up a nine-game road trip at 8-1-0-0. Abbotsford moved into second place in the North Division, two points up on Rochester.
The two teams will meet again next weekend for a two-game set in British Columbia.
LAKE ERIE 5, GRAND RAPIDS 3
Darren Haydar tallied two goals and two assists to pace Lake Erie to a 5-3 come-from-behind win over visiting Grand Rapids before 8,086 fans at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday.
Lake Erie’s Ray Macias and Grand Rapids’ Francis Pare traded goals in the second period. Monsters captain Brian Willsie broke the 3-3 tie with a power play goal 51 seconds into the third frame, and Haydar sealed the win with a late empty-netter.
Hensick finished with three points (1-2-3) for the Monsters, and goaltender Billy Sauer earned the win with 26 saves in net.
Lake Erie remained five points back of Manitoba for the North Division’s fourth and final playoff spot.
SPRINGFIELD 2, SYRACUSE 1
Chad Wiseman broke a 1-1 tie with 19 seconds left in regulation, lifting Springfield to a 2-1 road win over Syracuse on Saturday at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
It marked Wiseman’s 15th goal of the season but his first game-winner. Falcons leading scorer Charles Linglet picked up his second assists of the night on the goal, and Chris Minard also earned a helper.
Minard initially put the Falcons on top with a first-period power play goal, but Syracuse rookie Tomas Kana tied it midway through the second frame.
Springfield goaltender Devan Dubnyk earned the victory with 35 saves on 36 shots, helping the Falcons collect back-to-back wins for the first time since Jan. 16-17.
The Crunch’s three-game winning streak came to an end.
MANITOBA 3, SAN ANTONIO 1
Dormant through the first two periods, Manitoba’s offense erupted for three goals in the third period as the Moose rallied for a 3-1 road win over San Antonio before 8,252 fans at the AT&T Center.
Moose defenseman Nolan Baumgartner notched a power play goal to tie it at 5:57 of the third period, and Matt Pettinger scored the go-ahead goal at the 11:51 mark. Guillaume Desbiens iced the win with a late empty-netter.
Manitoba finished 4-3-0-0 on its seven-game road swing – including 2-1-0-0 this week in Texas – and returns home five points up on Lake Erie for the North Division’s final playoff spot.
Former first-round draft pick Kyle Turris notched the Rampage’s lone goal midway through the opening period.
ROCKFORD 2, PEORIA 1 (SO)
Bracken Kearns’s power play goal tied the game at 1-1 with 11.4 seconds left in regulation, and the IceHogs went on to post a 2-1 shootout victory over visiting Peoria before 6,151 fans at the MetroCentre.
Crawford improved to 17-11-2 on the season, and Rockford moved within two points of Chicago for first place in the West Division.
MILWAUKEE 7, CHICAGO 6 (OT)
Defenseman Robert Dietrich tallied a power play goal at 4:27 of overtime, capping a back-and-forth game and lifting Milwaukee to a 7-6 win over visiting Chicago before a crowd of 15,101 fans at the Bradley Center on Saturday.
Dietrich and fellow defenseman Jonathan Blum each finished with two goals and an assist on the night, and rearguard Reid Cashman chipped in a goal and an assist in the victory.
The Admirals seemed headed for 6-5 regulation win before Chicago’s Tim Stapleton lit the lamp on the power play at 19:53 of the third period. Johnny Pohl earned an assist, one of his three on the night.
Chicago is winless in back-to-back games overall (0-1-1-0) for the first time since losing at Lake Erie and Rockford from Dec. 13-18.
TEXAS 5, HOUSTON 2
Five different Texas skaters potted goals as the Stars collected a 5-2 road win over Houston before 8,711 at the Toyota Center. Texas earned a sweep of the teams’ home-and-home set this weekend and moved back into third place in the West Division race.
Defenseman Dan Jancevski’s power play goal extended Texas’s lead to 4-1 early in the second period. After Houston’s Jaime Sifers closed the gap to 4-2 with a shorthanded marker at 15:43 of the third, Perttu Lindgren sealed the Stars’ win with a last-minute empty-net goal.
Texas goaltender Matt Climie (16-14-3) earned the victory with 31 saves on 33 shots between the pipes.
Jamie Fraser also had a goal for the Aeros, who dropped nine points back of Milwaukee for the West’s fourth and final playoff entry.