PORTLAND 4, SPRINGFIELD 2
Two-time AHL All-Star Mark Mancari scored twice and added an assist as Portland continued its torrid start to the 2010-11 season on Saturday with a 4-2 win over visiting Springfield at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The Pirates improved to an AHL-best 4-0-0-0 on the young season, a year after beginning 5-10-0-0 in their first 15 games before rebounding to a second-place finish in the Atlantic Division.
Portland wraps up its three-game weekend with a Sunday afternoon visit to Bridgeport.
Mancari notched his team-leading fourth and fifth goals of the season and picked up an assist on rookie Luke Adam’s first-period tally. Adam, the reigning Reebok/AHL player of the week, finished with a goal and three helpers to record his second four-point game in the early going.
OKLAHOMA CITY 4, LAKE ERIE 3
Brad Moran netted a hat trick for his first three goals of the season as Oklahoma City rallied from a 3-0 deficit to post a 4-3 win over visiting Lake Erie at the Cox Convention Center on Saturday.
It marked the first win in team history for the Barons, who had been 0-2-1-0 entering the night.
Moran, a five-time 20-goal scorer in the AHL who spent the past two seasons playing in Sweden, scored twice in a 4:12 span in the second period and completed the hat trick at 15:36 of the third frame.
Moran’s third tally tied the score at 3-3, setting the stage for first-year North American pro Linus Omark to score the game-winner with only 1:23 left in regulation. Liam Reddox picked up the lone assist on Omark’s tally.
The Monsters initially grabbed a 2-0 first-period led when Greg Mauldin (14:39) and David Van der Gulik (15:45) notched shorthanded goals just 1:06 apart. Defenseman David Liffiton made it a 3-0 game 2:44 into the second stanza.
Lake Erie dropped to 2-1-0-0 on the season.
TORONTO 5, HAMILTON 3
Toronto rebounded from a 3-1 deficit to post a 5-3 road win over Hamilton on Saturday, spoiling the Bulldogs’ home opener before 6,142 fans at Copps Coliseum.
It marked the first win of the season for the Marlies, who opened last weekend with home-ice losses to Rochester and Abbotsford.
With his club down 3-1 late in the second period, highly-touted rookie forward Nazem Kadri notched his first professional goal at 19:39 to make it a 3-2 game heading into the third.
The final frame was all Marlies, as Brayden Irwin (1:59), Darryl Boyce (16:34), and Luca Caputi (19:45) each scored his first goal of the season, with Caputi’s marker going into a vacated Hamilton net to seal the victory.
MANCHESTER 5, PROVIDENCE 2
Manchester coughed up a 2-0 lead in the third period but then recovered to post a 5-2 win over Providence on Saturday in its home opener before 9,035 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Rookie forward Brandon Kozun, who combined for 215 points over his last two years of junior hockey for Calgary (WHL), tallied his first two professional goals to pace the Monarchs’ offense.
Corey Elkins, David Meckler (1-1-2), and Dwight King also scored in the victory. Meckler’s power play tally at 13:08 of the third period broke a 2-2 deadlock, and King’s marker at 19:25 went into an empty net and iced the win.
After getting blanked on 19 shots through the first 40 minutes, the Bruins sprang to life in the third on goals by Jamie Arniel (8:27) and Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman (11:11), but they ultimately fell to 1-2-0-1 on the season.
ALBANY 4, ADIRONDACK 3 (OT)
Albany found itself in a 3-0 hole after 20 minutes of play but struck for four straight goals to take a 4-3 overtime decision from host Adirondack on Saturday at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Things looked bleak for Albany early, as the Phantoms struck for three goals in a 2:21 span during the first five minutes of the game. Eric Wellwood notched a power play marker at 2:08, rookie Andrew Rowe followed with his first pro goal at 3:17, and defenseman Joonas Lehtivuori capped the rally at the 4:29 mark.
Nathan Perkovich brought Albany even only 17 seconds into the third period, and it remained a 3-3 game until Mills’ heroics in overtime.
HARTFORD 2, BRIDGEPORT 1
Rookie Mats Zuccarello’s goal at 15:02 of the third period snapped a 1-1 tie and lifted Hartford to a 2-1 road win over Bridgeport on Saturday before 6,217 fans at the Arena at Harbor Yard.
Evgeny Grachev picked up the lone assist on Zuccarello’s second goal of the year, which lifted the Wolf Pack to 2-1-0-1 in the early going.
After a scoreless first period, Wolf Pack forward Jeremy Williams gave his club a 1-0 lead with a power play strike 1:28 into the second frame. Veteran defenseman Wade Redden and former AHL rookie of the year Tim Kennedy earned the helpers.
The Sound Tigers pulled even at 7:17 of the third period when rookie forward Rhett Rakhshani netted his first professional goal, but Zuccarello put Hartford on top to stay less than eight minutes later.
ROCHESTER 3, HERSHEY 2
On a night when Hershey unveiled its 2010 Calder Cup championship banner, Rochester spoiled the festive atmosphere with a 3-2 win over the host Bears on Saturday before 10,515 fans at the Giant Center.
The momentum of the pregame ceremony carried into the early stages of the first period when Brian Willsie put the Bears on top 1-0 with a power play goal at 5:40, with assists going to reigning AHL MVP Keith Aucoin and 2006 Calder Cup champion Lawrence Nycholat.
But Amerks forward Michal Repik answered at 11:04 of the first period with a power play goal of his own to make it 1-1. Less than four minutes later, Michael Nylander, who was loaned to Rochester by Hershey’s NHL parent club in Washington, netted his second goal of the season to put the Americans on top for good. Repik earned an assist on the play.
Rochester netminder Jacob Markstrom stopped 33 of 35 shots in the winning effort, improving to 2-2-0 on the season.
NORFOLK 7, WORCESTER 2
Norfolk jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the game was five minutes old and rolled to a dominating 7-2 win over visiting Worcester on Saturday at the Scope.
The Admirals earned a sweep of the Sharks’ weekend visit to southern Virginia and improved to 3-0-0-0 on the season, tied with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for tops in the East Division.
Paul Szczechura (0:27), Johan Harju (3:47), and Chris Durno (4:11) set the tone by scoring on three of Norfolk’s first five shots, chasing Worcester starting goaltender Alex Stalock from the game in the process.
Carter Hutton took over and was greeted with a barrage of shots, as the Admirals finished with a remarkable 56-36 advantage in shots on goal for the game, including 44-22 in the second and third periods alone.
Harju (2-1-3), Durno (2-0-2), and Szczechura (2-0-2) each finished with two goals for the Admirals, and Marc-Antoine Pouliot (1-1-2) also found the back of the net.
SYRACUSE 2, BINGHAMTON 1
Syracuse scored twice in the opening period and made it stand up for a 2-1 win over visiting Binghamton on Saturday at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
The Crunch earned their first win of the 2010-11 season after dropping a trio of one-goal games to being the year, one of them in a shootout.
It remained a 2-0 game until there the 18:50 mark of the third period, when Senators rookie Bobby Butler notched his third goal of the young season to spoil Crunch goaltender Timo Pielmeier’s shutout bid.
Pielmeier still finished with 31 saves on 32 shots, while Binghamton’s Barry Brust took the loss after stopping 17 of 19 shots.
TEXAS 5, SAN ANTONIO 4 (OT)
Scott McCulloch scored on the power play 1:10 into overtime to lift Texas to a come-from-behind 5-4 win over visiting San Antonio in its home opener on Saturday in front of 6,302 fans at the Cedar Park Center.
McCulloch finished with a pair of goals on the night for Texas, which raised its 2010 Western Conference championship banner prior to the contest.
The Rampage received a pair of goals from Alexandre Picard and one apiece from Viktor Tikhonov and ex-Star Mathieu Beaudoin, but San Antonio fell to 0-2-1-0 since a season-opening 6-3 win over Chicago on Oct. 8.
CHICAGO 3, MILWAUKEE 2 (SO)
Chicago recovered from a pair of one-goal deficits in regulation and eventually celebrated its home opener with a 3-2 shootout win over Milwaukee before 10,924 fans at Allstate Arena.
Andrew Kozek, Akim Aliu, and Spencer Machacek netted shootout goals for the Wolves, with Machacek’s conversion in the fifth round providing the winning margin. Chicago goaltender Edward Pasquale stopped three of Milwaukee’s four tries after making 28 saves through the first 65 minutes.
Mark Santorelli put the Admirals on top late in the opening period with his first goal of the season. Jared Ross brought Chicago even at 12:41 of the second frame, but Mark Van Guilder restored Milwaukee’s lead just 1:31 later.
Wolves defenseman Mike Siklenka ultimately forced overtime when he netted a power play tally at 10:06 of the third period for his first AHL goal since the 2003-04 campaign.
Chicago has now won three straight, the last two of which have extended beyond regulation time.
GRAND RAPIDS 3, MANITOBA 2
Grand Rapids scored once in each period and eked out a 3-2 road win over Manitoba on Saturday before 7,003 fans at the MTS Centre.
Goaltender Joey MacDonald earned the win with 19 saves for the Griffins, who swept their two-game weekend visit to Winnipeg and moved to 2-1-0-1 on the campaign.
PEORIA 3, HOUSTON 2
Two-time AHL All-Star T.J. Hensick netted his first two goals in a Peoria uniform, and the Rivermen held on for a 3-2 road win over Houston, spoiling the Aeros’ home opener before 7,559 fans at the Toyota Center.
Hensick, who entered the night with zero goals but five assists, scored at 3:01 and 13:49 of the first period.
After a scoreless second period, Houston got on the board 1:41 into the third when Robbie Earl recorded his first of the season. But Graham Mink responded for the Rivermen at 13:50, tallying his team-leading fourth goal of the year to restore Peoria’s two-score edge.
Mink’s marker proved decisive when Jean-Michel Daoust brought Houston within 3-2 at the 16:32 mark.
Hensick (2-0-2), Mink (1-1-2), and defenseman Mark Cundari (0-2-2) each had multiple points for the Rivermen, and 20-year-old rookie goaltender Jake Allen won his professional debut with 32 saves on 34 shots.
Peoria ran its winning streak to four games and will conclude a three-game road weekend at Texas on Sunday.
ROCKFORD 4, ABBOTSFORD 3 (SO)
Rockford rebounded from a 3-1 deficit in regulation and came away with a 4-3 shootout win over host Abbotsford at the Entertainment & Sports Centre.
Jeremy Morin, Ivan Vishnevskiy, and Brandon Pirri each tallied shootout goals for the IceHogs, who earned a sweep of their two-game visit to British Columbia and improved to 3-2-0-0 on the young season.
After a scoreless opening period, Morin gave the IceHogs a 1-0 lead with a power play strike at 4:17 of the middle frame. That was quickly answered by three Heat goals in a span of 51 seconds, with John Armstrong, Matt Keith, and defenseman Keith Seabrook doing the honors.
Rockford pulled to within 3-2 on a Jeff Taffe power play goal at 19:07 of the second period and then tied it up when Ryan Potulny converted another man-advantage chance 7:07 into the third frame. All told, the IceHogs finished 3-for-7 on the power play.
IceHogs goaltender Alec Richards stopped three of five shootout tries after turning aside 29 shots through regulation and overtime.