OKLAHOMA CITY 5, CHICAGO 2
2011 AHL All-Star Alexandre Giroux capped off an impressive month of January with a three-goal, two-assist performance on Saturday to lead Oklahoma City to a 5-2 win over visiting Chicago on Saturday in front of 6,174 fans at the Cox Convention Center.
Giroux racked up 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 points in 15 games during January and now checks in second in the AHL in both goals (25) and points (58) through 50 contests overall.
Fellow AHL All-Star and Giroux’s linemate Colin McDonald added a goal and two assists for a career-high three points. The third member of that line, former AHL All-Star Brad Moran, also posted a goal and two helpers on the night.
McDonald’s effort prevented him from going scoreless in three straight games for the first time since Nov. 6-9.
Oklahoma City goaltender Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers stopped 31 of 33 shots in net, helping the Barons improve to 8-2-0-1 in their last 11 games.
HERSHEY 1, CHARLOTTE 0
Defenseman Sheldon Souray finally snapped a scoreless deadlock with 9:14 to play in regulation, and Hershey held on for a 1-0 win over visiting Charlotte on Saturday afternoon before 10,003 fans at the Giant Center.
The one goal proved to be enough for 2011 AHL All-Star goaltender Braden Holtby, who earned his fifth shutout in 20 appearances this season with 24 saves between the pipes. Holtby improved to 12-5-2 overall.
Hershey enters the All-Star break riding a season-high six-game winning streak and sporting a mark of 13-2-1-1 in its last 17 outings. The Bears are second in the East Division with an overall record of 29-14-1-2 (61 points).
The Checkers, who entered with the AHL’s seventh-ranked power play, went scoreless on 11 opportunities for the afternoon. Charlotte has now alternated wins and regulation losses in each of its last 12 contests.
MANITOBA 3, TORONTO 1
Manitoba scored three times in the first period and rolled from there to a 3-1 road win over Toronto in a Saturday afternoon matinee before 5,746 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.
Cruthers assisted on Schroeder’s marker to also finish with multiple assists on the night, and rookie goaltender Eddie Lack stopped 28 of 29 shots and improved to 15-10-3 in 28 appearances overall.
Manitoba snapped a brief two-game winless skid during which it had totaled only two goals.
Korbinian Holzer netted a third-period goal for the Marlies, who fell to 3-4-0-0 in their last seven contests.
ROCHESTER 6, ALBANY 1
Rochester scored twice in each period and cruised to a 6-1 road win over Albany on Saturday at the Times Union Center.
The Americans, who had been blanked in each of their last two clashes with the Devils, improved to 2-2-0-0 in the season series and collected their third straight win overall, matching a season high. Rochester also won three in a row from Oct. 26-30.
Rookie goaltender Jacob Markstrom was 41 seconds away from posting his second shutout of the season before Devils forward Vladimir Zharkov beat him at 19:19 of the third period. Markstrom wound up with 24 saves and has been between the pipes for all three games of the Amerks’ current winning streak.
Albany enters the All-Star break on a 1-5-0-0 slide following a four-game winning streak from Jan. 8-15.
WORCESTER 3, PROVIDENCE 2
Playing just his second AHL game of the season, forward Jamie McGinn tallied a pair of goals to lead Worcester to a 3-2 win over visiting Providence before 7,273 fans at the DCU Center.
McGinn split each of the past two seasons between Worcester and parent-club San Jose, but had spent all 49 games this year with the NHL Sharks. He notched his first AHL goal of the year at 14:41 of the first period and added a shorthanded marker midway through the second.
In between, the Sharks got a marker from rookie Cam McIntyre and carried a 3-0 lead into the late stages of the second period.
The Bruins clawed back into the game on power play strikes by defensemen Jeff Penner and Matt Bartkowski, but they were unable to get the equalizer and saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.
Benn Ferriero chipped in two assists for the Sharks, and workhorse goaltender Alex Stalock stopped 29 of 31 shots to improve to 19-17-4 this year. The second-year pro has appeared in 40 of Worcester’s 48 games thus far.
Worcester enters the All-Star break having earned back-to-back victories for the first time since Dec. 11 and 12, and the Sharks are now a point up on Connecticut for the Atlantic Division’s third and final guaranteed postseason spot.
MANCHESTER 3, BRIDGEPORT 2
Manchester coughed up a pair of one-goal leads before Oscar Moller bagged his 11th goal of the year with 4:20 left in regulation, sending the Monarchs to a 3-2 win over visiting Bridgeport before 7,529 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
2011 AHL All-Star defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov and forward Richard Clune also scored for Manchester in the first and second periods, respectively. Moller picked up an assist on Voynov’s goal to finish with multiple points.
Bridgeport battled back from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 on goals by defenseman Mark Katic and forward Rob Hisey. AHL All-Stars Rhett Rakhshani and Mark Wotton each earned one helper for the Sound Tigers.
Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff (12-11-3) made 31 saves on 33 shots to earn the victory, sending the Monarchs into the All-Star break riding a three-game winning streak.
PORTLAND 3, CONNECTICUT 2
Derek Whitmore tallied a power play goal with just 7.5 seconds left in regulation as Portland got past stunned Connecticut with a 3-2 road victory on Saturday in front of 10,872 fans at the XL Center.
The surging Pirates won for the fifth time in their last six games (5-1-0-0) and improved to 11-3-0-0 in their past 14 contests. Portland checks into the All-Star break atop the Atlantic Division at 29-14-1-1 overall.
Nick Crawford and Matt Ellis staked the Pirates to leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but the Whale countered both times on tallies by 2011 AHL All-Star Jeremy Williams – his team-leading 22nd overall – and Brodie Dupont, who scored on the power play at 12:04 of the third period.
With the game destined for overtime, Whitmore registered his 19th goal of the year but just his second game-winner. He was assisted on the play by Crawford and rookie Corey Tropp, who had a pair of helpers.
Portland goaltender David Leggio improved to 13-4-0 in 18 appearances by stopping 36 of the 38 shots sent his way.
Connecticut, which lost its third straight game and fell to 2-6-0-0 in its last eight, is now one point back of Worcester for the Atlantic Division’s final guaranteed postseason bid.
BINGHAMTON 2, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 1
Binghamton rookie goaltender Robin Lehner stood tall against the AHL’s best team, making a season-high 43 saves to backstop Binghamton past visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday at the Broome County Arena.
The Senators prevailed despite facing a 44-21 disadvantage in shots on goal. Lehner (6-6-2) made 16 saves in the opening period and then stopped all 27 shots he faced over the final 40 minutes.
Erik Condra pulled Binghamton even just 16 seconds into the second period, and it remained a 1-1 tilt until 2011 AHL All-Star forward Bobby Butler notched his rookie-leading 21st goal of the season at 11:59 of the third frame.
It marked Butler’s sixth game-winning tally of the season, moving him into a tie for the overall league lead in that category with Providence’s Maxime Sauve.
Binghamton halted a brief two-game losing skid and held Wilkes-Barre to one goal or fewer for the first time since the Penguins dropped a 1-0 decision to Hershey in Pittsburgh on Dec. 30.
SPRINGFIELD 4, NORFOLK 2
Nick Tarnasky netted his fifth goal of the season 12:09 into the third period, and it proved to be the game-winner as Springfield doubled up host Norfolk by a 4-2 count on Saturday in front of 7,780 fans at the Scope.
Tarnasky added an assist for a multiple-point effort, while Maksim Mayorov, Jonathan Sigalet, and Ben Guite also found the back of the net. Guite scored into an empty net in the closing minute. Tarnasky’s goal had given the Falcons a 3-1 lead, but Mark Barberio pulled Norfolk within 3-2 just under two minutes later.
Falcons goaltender Gustaf Wesslau made a season-high 41 saves on 43 shots to pick up the win in net, helping Springfield sweep its two-game visit to southern Virginia.
The Falcons improved to 3-1-0-0 in their last four games and moved back to the .500 mark overall at 22-22-1-3.
Mike Angelidis also scored for the Admirals, who stumble into the All-Star break on a five-game winless skid (0-4-0-1).
LAKE ERIE 4, HAMILTON 1
A three-goal third period broke a 1-1 deadlock and sent streaking Lake Erie to a 4-1 victory over visiting Hamilton on Saturday in front of 11, 132 fans at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Monsters extended their winning streak to three games and improved to 8-2-0-0 in their last 10 contests. At 24-21-3-4 overall, Lake Erie enters the All-Star break two points up on Toronto for the North Division’s third and final guaranteed postseason spot.
2011 AHL All-Star Mark Olver registered the decisive goal – his 20th marker of the season – 1:07 into the final frame, and Ben Walter (power play) and Patrick Rissmiller (empty net) tacked on insurance goals.
Olver has now scored the game-winner in four of Lake Erie’s last six victories, including each of the past two outings.
Monsters goaltender John Grahame made 18 saves on 19 shots to pick up the win in net.
Aaron Palushaj notched the Bulldogs’ lone goal late in the second period.
ADIRONDACK 6, SYRACUSE 4
Adirondack continued its season-long dominance of Syracuse on Saturday with a 6-4 road win over the Crunch at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
The Phantoms, who are now 15-29-2-3 (35 points) on the season, have collected five of their wins and 10 of their points at the expense of Syracuse, posting a perfect 5-0-0-0 mark in the season series thus far.
Adirondack forward Michael Ryan tallied a hat trick and added an assist for a four-point night to pace the Phantoms’ offense. Mike Testwuide recorded two goals and a helper; Denis Hamel had a goal and an assist; and defenseman Danny Syvret chipped in a pair of assists.
The six goals marked Adirondack’s largest single-game offensive output of the 2010-11 season and its most since posting a 7-4 victory over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Dec. 13, 2009.
Phantoms goaltender Johan Backlund emerged with the victory after making 34 saves on 38 shots.
Nick Bonino (1-1-2), Nicolas Deschamps, MacGregor Sharp, and Dan Sexton potted goals for the struggling Crunch, who dipped to 2-8-1-1 in their last 12 contests. Syracuse is now just three point up on last-place Adirondack in the East Division standings.
ABBOTSFORD 5, TEXAS 4 (SO)
Abbotsford converted two of its three shootout tries and secured a 5-4 road win over Texas on Saturday before a sellout crowd of 6,863 fans at the Cedar Park Center.
Jon Rheault and Matt Keith each converted for the Heat, who collected their league-leading eighth shootout victory of the season (8-5). Abbotsford goaltender Leland Irving denied all four of Texas’ shootout bids after making 35 saves on 39 shots through the first 65 minutes.
The Heat built a 4-2 lead by early in the third period, but Dan Spang and 2011 AHL All-Star Francis Wathier netted goals for Texas to tie it up. Wathier’s game-tying marker came on the power play with just 60 seconds left.
Abbotsford is now 2-2-0-1 on its 10-game road trip, which continues after the All-Star break with a visit to Chicago on Friday.
MILWAUKEE 3, ROCKFORD 2
Rookie defenseman Roman Josi scored at 2:23 of overtime to push Milwaukee to a 3-2 road win over Rockford on Saturday at the MetroCentre.
Josi now has a goal in three four of his last five games after going his previous 27 contests without finding the back of the net.
Rookie Blake Geoffrion, coming off a five-point effort on Friday, gave the Admirals a 1-0 lead 5:34 into the contest and Mike Bartlett made it 2-0 just 10 seconds later. That chased IceHogs starting goaltender Hannu Toivonen from the game.
Admirals all-star goaltender Mark Dekanich earned the victory with 27 saves, improving to 18-7-4 on the campaign.
GRAND RAPIDS 3, PEORIA 2
A night after tallying a hat trick vs. Rockford, Chris Minard scored the game-winning goal on the power play at 4:50 of the third period to help Grand Rapids edge host Peoria by a 3-2 count on Saturday at Carver Arena.
Minard’s marker made it a 3-1 game, and Peoria’s Chris Porter accounted for the final score with a goal at 19:02.
Jamie Tardif recorded a goal and an assist for the Griffins, and Jan Mursak rounded out Grand Rapids’ offense. Grand Rapids rookie netminder Jordan Pearce improved to 4-0-1 in his last five outings with 23 saves on 25 shots.
The Griffins improved to 4-2-0-1 in their last seven games heading into the All-Star break.
Dave Spina also recorded a goal for the Rivermen, who are now 3-7-0-0 in their last 10 contests.