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Sat. roundup: Griffins break out in big way

Saturday’s AHL Boxscores

Grand Rapids, a team which entered the night having totaled seven goals in its last eight games and ranked 25th in the AHL in offense, scored seven times in the second period and 10 times in all en route to a wild 10-8 road win over Chicago on Saturday before 7,535 fans at Allstate Arena.

The 18 combined goals marked the most in an AHL contest since March 29, 1996, when the Baltimore Bandits defeated the Binghamton Rangers by an identical 10-8 final. Grand Rapids’ 10 goals tied a franchise record, initially attained in a 10-5 win over Cincinnati on Oct. 24, 2001.

The Griffins, who snapped a five-game winless skid (0-4-0-1), had scored 50 goals through 20 games this season before erupting for one-fifth of that total in this one.

Tomas Tatar, who turns 20 years old on Wednesday, led the Griffins offense with two goals, five assists, and a plus-seven rating on the night. Four of his seven points came during Grand Rapids’ seven-goal middle period, and he registered two more assists in the third period.

Tatar entered the night showing nine points (2-7-9) in 20 games this year and turned in the AHL’s first seven-point effort since Chicago’s Jason Krog on Nov. 4, 2006.

Jan Mursak (2-2-4) and captain Jamie Tardif (2-1-3) also scored two goals apiece for the Griffins. Jordan Owens contributed a goal and two helpers for a three-point night, while Cory Emmerton (1-1-2), Chris Minard, and rookie defenseman Brendan Smith rounded out the visitors’ offense.

Rookie forward Willie Coetzee came in with one assist in nine games this season but picked up three assists on the night. Defenseman Doug Janik chipped in two assists in the victory.

Griffins rookie goaltender Jordan Pearce (2-1-1), who made 34 saves on 42 shots, became the first AHL goaltender to earn a win despite allowing eight or more goals since Providence’s Scott Bailey in a 9-8 win over the Adirondack Red Wings on Dec. 11, 1996.

Darren Haydar recorded a team-best two goals and one assist for the Wolves, who led this game 2-0 and 3-1 before collapsing in the second period. After trailing 8-5 heading into the third period, Chicago cut its deficit to 8-7 but was unable to keep the Griffins from scoring.

Jared Ross, Michael Davies, and Fredrik Pettersson each posted a goal and an assist for Chicago, and Andre Deveaux, Nigel Dawes, and Ryan Garbutt also potted goals in the loss.

The Wolves’ season-best four-game winning streak came to an end.

In the beginning of a new era for hockey in Hartford, the Connecticut Whale came out victorious in their first-ever game, taking a 3-2 shootout decision over Bridgeport on Saturday in front of a season-high crowd of 13,089 fans at the downtown XL Center.

The Whale, who took over the franchise name on Saturday after the team was known for 13-plus years as the Hartford Wolf Pack, outshot Bridgeport 29-11 over the first two periods but had only a 1-0 lead to show for it on a goal by Brodie Dupont 15 minutes into the second frame.

Bridgeport rookie Rhett Rakhshani tied it at 6:22 of the third period, only to see the Whale retake the lead when recently acquired forward Oren Eizenman scored his first goal of the season at 14:05.

But Sound Tigers defenseman Anton Klementyev lit the lamp at the 17:48 mark, ultimately forcing overtime.

After a scoreless extra session, Connecticut converted two of its shootout attempts while holding Bridgeport scoreless on four tries. Chad Kolarik and Jeremy Williams netted shootout goals for the Whale, and goaltender Chad Johnson went 4-for-4 after making 19 saves through the first 65 minutes.

It marked a sorely needed victory for the Whale, who had dropped a 4-3 shootout decision in Bridgeport the night before after leading that game 3-0 late in the third period. Connecticut is now 7-11-2-3 (19 points) for the season and one point back of Bridgeport for sixth place in the Atlantic Division.

The Sound Tigers went to overtime for the fifth time in their last eight games and show a 3-0-1-1 mark in those five contests.

The crowd of 13,089 fans made this the second-most attended AHL game in Hartford history, trailing only the 14,115 fans who turned out for a Wolf Pack game vs. Springfield on Jan. 24, 1998.

Lake Erie’s struggling power play broke out with a 3-for-5 showing on the power play, and the Monsters came away with a 5-3 win over Oklahoma City on Saturday afternoon and a split of the teams’ two-game weekend set at Quicken Loans Arena.

Ryan Stoa tallied a pair of power play goals for his fifth and sixth markers on the season. Stoa has recorded all six of those goals in his last six games after going his first 16 contests this year without scoring.

Monsters defenseman Kevin Montgomery also scored on the power play for his first goal of the season, while rookie Mark Olver and veteran Ben Walter rounded out Lake Erie’s offense.

Prior to their 3-for-5 performance on Saturday, the Monsters ranked 28th in the AHL on the power play at 11.1 percent (11-for-99).

Patrick Rissmiller, Julian Talbot, and defenseman Travis Gawryletz all chipped in a pair of assists on the afternoon, and Lake Erie goaltender Trevor Cann earned the win with 28 saves in net.

Brad Moran and defenseman Jeff Petry posted a goal and an assist for the Barons, and Colin McDonald scored his third goal in the last two games.

Oklahoma City’s three-game winning streak and five-game points streak (4-0-0-1) both came to an end.

Defenseman Josh Engel netted a power play goal with just 50 seconds left in regulation, breaking a 1-1 tie and sending Toronto to a 2-1 win over visiting Syracuse on Saturday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum.

With their third straight win and 10th in their last 15 games (10-2-0-3), the Marlies improved to 12-8-0-3 for the season and moved within three points of idle Hamilton for first place in the North Division.

Fellow defenseman Simon Gysbers staked Toronto to a 1-0 lead 11:48 into the contest, and that lead held until Crunch defenseman Nathan Paetsch notched the equalizer at 9:50 of the third period.

Engel’s game-winner was assisted by former AHL All-Stars Christian Hanson and Matt Lashoff, and marked his fifth goal of the year after totaling four tallies (4-13-17) in 70 games for the Marlies last season.

Marlies rookie goaltender Ben Scrivens improved to 2-0-0 after making 32 saves on 33 shots.

The Crunch have now lost four straight in regulation and are winless in their last seven overall (0-6-0-1) since a 3-0 win at Albany on Nov. 12.

Zach Boychuk and Jon Matsumoto netted third-period goals as Charlotte doubled up host Worcester by a 4-2 count on Saturday at the DCU Center.

With the game tied at 2-2, Boychuk netted a power play goal at 1:49 of the third frame to put the Checkers on top to stay. Matsumoto added an empty-netter in the closing seconds, and Jerome Samson helped out on both tallies as part of his three assists on the night.

Chris Terry initially gave Charlotte a 1-0 lead 5:02 into the contest, but the Sharks struck back on goals from defensemen Joe Loprieno and Matt Irwin to take a 2-1 advantage into the first intermission. Charlotte’s Drayson Bowman tied it midway through the second frame.

The Checkers improved to 10-2-0-2 in their last 14 games and will now travel to Hershey for a Sunday afternoon battle with the Bears.

Worcester’s season-high three-game winning streak came to an end.

Manchester jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the first period and never looked back en route to a 6-1 win over the suddenly struggling Portland Pirates on Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

Oscar Moller paced the Monarchs’ offense with his third and fourth goals of the season, while Corey Elkins, Brayden Schenn, Justin Azevedo, and Ray Kaunisto (1-1-2) also found the back of the net.

Schenn, drafted fifth overall by the Los Angeles Kings in 2009, now shows three goals and four points in his last two games for the Monarchs.

Andrei Loktionov (0-3-3) and Marc-Andre Cliche each posted multiple assists in the winning effort, and Manchester rookie goaltender Martin Jones (5-1-0) turned aside 34 of 35 shots in net.

Defenseman Nick Crawford scored the Pirates’ lone goal early in the second period. Portland has now lost a season-high three straight games and fell three points back of the first-place Monarchs in the Atlantic Division.

Manchester upped its winning streak to three games and improved to 7-1-0-0 in its last eight contests.

Braden Holtby made 28 saves for his first shutout of the season, and Hershey captured a 4-0 home-ice win over struggling Adirondack before 10,215 fans at the Giant Center on Saturday.

Holtby, who has also made his first five career NHL appearances with Washington this year, improved to 5-0-1 in the AHL this season and earned his third career whitewash for the Bears.

Boyd Kane provided all the offense Hershey would need at 13:20 of the opening period and then ended the night’s scoring with another marker 32 seconds into the third frame. The Bears also got goals from Andrew Gordon and former second-round draft pick Dmitri Kugryshev, who scored for the first time as a professional.

Steve Pinizzotto contributed two assists for the Bears, who improved to 3-0-0-0 against Adirondack this season, with all three meetings occurring on home ice.

The last-place Phantoms have now lost seven straight games (0-6-0-1) and fell to 1-15-2-0 in their last 18 contests.

Albany jumped out to a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes and then held on for a 4-3 win over visiting Bridgeport on Saturday night at the Times Union Center.

The victory snapped a six-game home-ice winning streak for the Devils, who collected their first win at home since a 2-1 triumph over Charlotte on Oct. 20. Albany is just 3-7-0-0 at Times Union Center for the season.

Vladimir Zharkov, David McIntyre, and Patrick Davis all scored to stake the Devils to their 3-0 first-intermission lead.

Jim O’Brien put the B-Sens on the board with his 10th goal of the season – a power play marker at 4:16 of the second frame, and rookie Colin Greening made it 3-2 at 4:38 of the third period.

Albany’s Matt Anderson stretched his club’s lead to 4-2 with a power play goal of his own at 11:42, and that marker stood up to be the game-winner when Senators forward Zack Smith scored on the man advantage three minutes later.

Devils goaltender Dave Caruso stopped 31 of 34 shots to earn his first AHL victory of the season (1-1-0).

First-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton jumped out to a 3-0 lead, coughed it up, but then prevailed over visiting Rochester by a 4-3 count on Saturday before 7,845 fans at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Geoff Walker bailed the Penguins out when he scored his first goal of the season 4:17 into the third period, breaking a 3-3 deadlock.

Penguins forwards Dustin Jeffrey, Jesse Boulerice, and Eric Tangradi all scored before the game was 11 minutes old as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton grabbed its 3-0 advantage.

But Rochester battled back to make it 3-3 after two periods. Defenseman Clay Wilson and Mike Kostka each tallied power play goals sandwiched around a Kenndal McArdle even-strength marker, and Chris Taylor earned a pair of assists.

Jeffrey and Tim Wallace assisted on Walker’s game-winner for Wilkes-Barre, which made a winner of Penguins goaltender John Curry (19 saves on 22 shots).

The Penguins improved to an East Division-best 16-4-0-0 (32 points) on the season. Rochester, meanwhile, has now dropped six of its last seven contests (1-6-0-0).

Mike Angelidis scored twice and added an assist, and Pierre-Cedric Labrie also recorded three points (1-2-3) as Norfolk cruised to a 5-2 road win over Springfield at the MassMutual Center.

The Admirals improved to 5-1-0-0 in their last six games and to 2-0-0-0 on their six-game road swing, which continues with a Sunday afternoon tilt in Bridgeport. At 12-5-3-1 (28 points) overall, Norfolk remains four points back of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for first place in the East Division.

Stefano Giliati (1-1-2) and Johan Harju also netted goals for the Admirals, and netminder Cedrick Desjardins (8-4-1) earned the win despite only having to make 13 saves on 15 shots. Norfolk held a 30-15 advantage in shots on goal.

Rookie Tomas Kubalik and veteran Nick Tarnasky scored for the Falcons in the losing effort, as Springfield lost for the third time in its last four games (1-3-0-0).

The Falcons host the Eastern Conference’s top team, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, on Sunday afternoon.

Five different Texas skaters beat ex-Stars goaltender Matt Climie, and the Stars cooled off San Antonio with a 5-2 win over the visiting Rampage on Saturday before 5,961 fans at the Cedar Park Center.

Francis Wathier registered a goal and an assist for the Stars, who also got markers from Raymond Sawada, Sean Backman, Greg Rallo, and Fabian Brunnstrom. Brunnstrom scored into an empty net in the closing seconds.

Captain Brad Lukowich chipped in two assists in the win, and rookie goaltender Richard Bachman (7-3-0) shrugged off a hard-luck loss vs. Milwaukee on Friday to make 19 saves on 21 shots in net.

The Stars avoided losing back-to-back games for the first time since a four-game skid from Oct. 30 to Nov. 6.

Mikkel Boedker and ex-Star Mathieu Beaudoin netted goals for the West Division-leading Rampage, who saw their season-best seven-game winning streak come to an end.

Peoria rookie goaltender Jake Allen made 31 saves for his league-leading fourth shutout of the season, and Peoria rolled to a 5-0 road win over Rockford on Saturday at the MetroCentre.

Allen (7-1-0), a second-round draft pick by the St. Louis Blues in 2008, entered the night already leading the AHL in goals-against average and save percentage, and the 20-year-old now shows four shutouts in eight appearances on the year.

Veteran Graham Mink paced the Rivermen’s offense with a goal and two assists. Defenseman Mark Cundari registered a goal and a helper, and Nicholas Drazenovic, Derek Nesbitt, and Anthony Nigro also found the back of the net.

Defenseman Nathan Oystrick posted two assists for Peoria, which extended its points streak to five games (4-0-1-0) and moved into a tie with Oklahoma City for second place in the West Division, three points back of first-place San Antonio.

The last-place IceHogs, who were held to one or zero goals for the seventh time this season, fell to 8-11-0-2 on the year.

Rookie defenseman Jared Spurgeon scored Houston’s lone goal in regulation and then tallied the decisive shootout goal as the Aeros eked out a 2-1 shootout victory over visiting Milwaukee on Saturday at the Toyota Center.

Spurgeon, who entered the night with one goal in 20 games this season, snapped a scoreless deadlock at 5:12 of the third period, with assists going to Casey Wellman and Brandon Buck.

Defenseman Aaron Johnson tied it for the Admirals, though, when he scored unassisted at the 13:15 mark.

Following a scoreless overtime, Wellman scored on Houston’s first shootout try. Chris Mueller answered in the fourth round, and Spurgeon’s game-winner came in the sixth round.

Aeros goaltender Anton Khudobin (7-5-1) stopped 28 of 29 shots through the first 65 minutes before turning aside five of six tries in the shootout.

Manitoba quickly erased a 1-0 second-period deficit and earned a 3-1 road win over Abbotsford on Saturday before a sellout crowd of 7,044 fans at the Entertainment & Sports Centre.

After Friday’s 2-1 shootout loss, the Moose earned a split of their two-game visit to British Columbia and moved to 6-1-0-1 in their last seven games overall.

The Heat grabbed a 1-0 lead at 16:09 of the second period when Matt Keith netted his team-leading 10th goal of the season. But only nine seconds later, on the very next shift, Manitoba’s Kevin Clark scored to even the tilt at 1-1.

Moose rookie forward Cody Hodgson then scored the game-winner midway through the third period and added an empty-netter late in the frame, and the former first-round draft pick now leads the Moose with 10 goals and 15 points (tied) in 19 games this season.

First-year Manitoba goaltender Eddie Lack secured the victory with 28 saves on 29 shots, improving to 6-4-1 on the campaign.

Abbotsford lost for the fourth time in its last five games (1-3-0-1).