NORFOLK 3, BRIDGEPORT 2
Norfolk captain Chris Durno tallied his second goal of the game with just 1:09 left in regulation to break a 2-2 tie and send the Admirals to a thrilling 3-2 win over visiting Bridgeport on Saturday before a season-high crowd of 8,103 fans at the Scope.
The Admirals earned a sweep of their two-game set with the reeling Sound Tigers and tied Charlotte for second place in the East Division at 21-11-7-2 (51 points) overall. Norfolk also still holds two games in hand on the Checkers.
Norfolk had to battle back from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 in this one. Robin Figren put the Sound Tigers on top early in the first period, but Mike Angelidis answered for Norfolk just 1:21 into the second frame.
After Brett Motherwell restored Bridgeport’s one-goal cushion at the 12:53 mark, Durno answered less than three minutes later with his first goal of the night.
The Admirals held a whopping 51-19 edge in shots on goal for the night, and Martin took the tough-luck loss for Bridgeport despite making 48 saves.
Norfolk netminder Dustin Tokarski made 17 saves to pick up his seventh victory of the season (7-11-1-0).
Bridgeport, which went on an 8-2-0-1 run from Dec. 4-31, is now 0-4-0-2 in six games since.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 4, ADIRONDACK 2
Nick Johnson and captain Ryan Craig each posted a goal and an assist as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton doubled up Adirondack by a 4-2 count on Saturday in a match-up pitting the AHL’s best team against its last-place squad.
The Penguins collected their seventh straight win and completed the first half of their schedule at a remarkable 32-8-0-0, good for 64 points and a 13-point cushion atop the East Division.
By comparison, last year’s Hershey Bears, who set a league-record with 60 victories, were 29-9-0-2 at the 40-game mark.
Wilkes-Barre goaltender John Curry turned aside 28 of 30 shots to improve to 14-5-0 in 19 appearances on the year.
ALBANY 6, SPRINGFIELD 3
The suddenly red-hot Albany Devils scored twice in each period and earned a 6-3 win over visiting Springfield at the Times Union Center on Saturday.
Albany extended its winning streak to a season-high four games and pulled within three games of the .500 mark at 17-20-0-3.
Adam Henrique scored twice and was the only member of the Devils to record more than one goal. Defenseman Alexander Urbom registered a goal and an assist, and Albany also got markers from Brad Mills, Michael Swift, and 2011 AHL All-Star Matt Anderson.
PORTLAND 8, WORCESTER 5
Eight different Portland skaters tallied goals as the Pirates’ offense had its best night of the season on Saturday in an 8-5 win over Worcester at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The Pirates scored twice in the first period, once in the second, and three more times in the third frame en route to their greatest offensive output since an 8-1 victory at Albany on Apr. 1, 2006.
Paul Byron, Derek Whitmore, Igor Gongalsky (first AHL goal), Corey Tropp, and Mark Mancari each had a goal and an assist for Portland, while Maxime Legault, T.J. Brennan, and 2011 AHL All-Star Drew Schiestel rounded out the offense.
Pirates goaltender David Leggio (11-4-0) emerged with the victory after making 21 saves on 24 shots.
T.J. Trevelyan (1-1-2), Steve Zalewski (1-1-2), and Dan DaSilva each recorded a goal for the Sharks, who took a trio of one-goal leads in this contest before surrendering six unanswered goals to end it.
PROVIDENCE 3, CONNECTICUT 2
Providence built a 3-0 lead by the midway point of the third period and then held on for a 3-2 road win over Connecticut on Saturday in front of 9,118 fans at the XL Center.
Maxime Sauve tallied a pair of goals for the Bruins, and former first-round draft pick Zach Hamill also scored in the victory. Sauve’s second goal of the night, which came 6:13 into the third frame, turned out to be the game-winner.
The Whale attempted a late comeback on power play strikes by Oren Eizenman (17:30) and Brodie Dupont (19:53), but ultimately the deficit proved to be too great and Connecticut lost for the third time in its last four games (1-3-0-0).
Providence halted a three-game winless skid (0-2-1-0).
LAKE ERIE 3, HERSHEY 2 (SO)
Lake Erie battled back from a 2-0 deficit in regulation and then stunned host Hershey with a 3-2 shootout victory on Saturday in front of a standing-room only crowd of 10,882 at the Giant Center on Saturday.
Keith Aucoin put Hershey on top 1-0 with a power play goal early in the first period, and Ashton Rome stretched the advantage to 2-0 early in the second. Rookie Mark Olver, however, brought the Monsters within 2-1 heading into intermission with a goal at the 18:03 mark.
Lake Erie then came out and blitzed Hershey goaltender Braden Holtby with 16 shots in the third period and was finally rewarded when Ben Walter put home his 12th goal of the season with just 41 seconds left in regulation. Olver picked up one of the assists on the play.
Olver converted the Monsters’ first shootout attempt, and Patrick Rissmiller notched the clinching goal in the third round. Lake Erie netminder John Grahame stopped four of Hershey’s five tries – the lone exception being a conversion by Aucoin – after making 32 saves through the first 65 minutes.
The Bears did still extend their points streak to five games (3-0-1-1).
MANCHESTER 4, BINGHAMTON 3
Manchester recovered from deficits of 2-1 and 3-2 and ultimately collected a 4-3 road win over Binghamton on Saturday at the Broome County Arena.
The Monarchs, who played in Charlotte the previous two nights, improved to 3-0-0-1 in their last four games and moved to 4-3-0-1 on their nine-game road swing, which finally ends next Friday in Providence.
SYRACUSE 2, ROCHESTER 1
Patrick Maroon snapped a 1-1 tie with a power play goal at 19:11 of the third period, lifting Syracuse to a 2-1 win over visiting Rochester on Saturday in front of 6,173 fans at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Syracuse, which has been in an extremely light portion of its schedule, collected its first victory since a 5-3 triumph at Albany on Jan. 2.
The Crunch’s Mark Mitera and the Americans’ Keaton Ellerby registered goals in the first and second periods, respectively, making it a 1-1 game heading into the final 20 minutes. Ellerby, a former first-round draft pick who has played 17 NHL games with Florida this year, netted his first goal of the season at either level.
The Americans have now dropped three straight in regulation, their longest drought since a four-game skid from Nov. 12-20.
ROCKFORD 1, CHICAGO 0
Rookie Kyle Beach netted an unassisted goal at 9:38 of the third period, and was all Rockford needed to come away with a 1-0 road win over struggling Chicago on Saturday in front of 12,053 fans at Allstate Arena.
Beach, drafted 11th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2008, recorded his ninth goal of the season and fourth in his last six games.
IceHogs goaltender Hannu Toivonen (9-7-3) earned his second shutout of the year with 32 saves in net, including 17 during a third period in which Chicago held a 17-6 advantage in shots.
The Wolves are now winless in five straight games (0-3-0-2).
OKLAHOMA CITY 2, SAN ANTONIO 0
Martin Gerber made 18 saves for his third shutout of the season as Oklahoma City stayed red-hot with a 2-0 road win over skidding San Antonio on Saturday at the AT&T Center.
Gerber made seven stops in the first period, eight in the second, and three in the third to improve to 14-10-2 in 26 AHL appearances for the year.
The game was scoreless into the third period before Barons captain Ben Ondrus broke the deadlock at 3:01, with assists going to Greg Stewart and Ryan O’Marra. Alexandre Giroux sealed the victory with a last-minute empty-netter, his 20th goal of the season.
Oklahoma City (22-15-2-4) earned its fourth straight victory and moved into a tie with Texas for fifth place in the West Division, just four points back of first-place Milwaukee.
The Rampage, meanwhile, have lost three straight and seven of nine (2-7-0-0) and are now just one point ahead of the Stars and Barons in the tight West race.
TEXAS 3, PEORIA 1
Texas grabbed a 2-0 advantage after 20 minutes and then held on for a 3-1 road win over Peoria on Saturday at Carver Arena.
Stars defenseman Philip Larsen notched his first professional goal 10:39 into the game to put Texas on top 1-0, and Greg Rallo made it 2-0 on the power play at 18:35 with his 12th tally of the season.
The Rivermen pulled within 2-1 when Graham Mink registered his 12th of the year early in the second period, but Peoria could never get the equalizer despite firing 34 shots on Stars rookie goaltender Tyler Beskorowany.
Brandon Segal added a late empty-net goal for the Stars – also his first marker of the season – and Beskorowany wound up with 33 saves on 34 shots to earn the win.
Peoria has now matched a season high by losing three straight games in regulation, totaling only four goals in that span. The Rivermen also lost three in a row from Oct. 24-30 and Dec. 21-28.
MILWAUKEE 3, MANITOBA 2 (OT)
2011 AHL All-Star Linus Klasen scored just 29 seconds into overtime to give Milwaukee a 3-2 come-from-behind win over Manitoba on Saturday in the back end of the teams’ two-game set in Winnipeg.
Attendance at the MTS Centre was 8,394.
Fellow 2011 AHL All-Star Sergei Shirokov gave the Moose a 1-0 lead just 56 seconds after the opening face-off, and rookie Connauton made it a 2-0 game less than 11 minutes later.
Admirals defenseman Matthew Ford began his club’s comeback at 16:50 of the second period, registering his first goal of the campaign. Fellow rearguard Aaron Johnson then notched the equalizer 2:21 into the third frame, and it remained a 2-2 deadlock into overtime.
It made a winner of Milwaukee goaltender Mark Dekanich, another 2011 AHL All-Star who made 30 saves between the pipes.
HOUSTON 2, GRAND RAPIDS 1
Cody Almond’s power play goal 6:41 into the third period proved to be the game-winner as Houston edged visiting Grand Rapids by a 2-1 count on Saturday before 9,178 fans at the Toyota Center.
Patrick O’Sullivan, who was the AHL’s rookie of the year with the Aeros in 2005-06, tallied a goal in his first game for Houston this season after being reassigned by the parent Minnesota Wild earlier in the week.
O’Sullivan’s goal 13:36 into the contest was the only scoring until Almond extended Houston’s advantage. Jon DiSalvatore assisted on both markers, and 2011 AHL All-Star defenseman Maxim Noreau picked up a helper on Almond’s marker.
Griffins defenseman Derek Meech struck for a shorthanded goal just 45 seconds after Almond scored, but Grand Rapids could not get another goal and dropped to 1-3-0-0 on its six-game road trip.
Houston goaltender Josh Tordjman picked up the victory with 28 saves in net.
The two teams will meet again on Sunday afternoon in Houston.