MILWAUKEE 6, GRAND RAPIDS 2
2011 AHL All-Star Linus Klasen scored twice and added an assist a Milwaukee extended its winning streak to four games with a 6-2 road victory over Grand Rapids on Saturday in front of 10,423 fans at Van Andel Arena.
The Admirals, who are now just one shy of their season-high five-game winning streak from Nov. 5-13, moved into a first-place tie with San Antonio in the West Division at 28-13-2-6 (64 points) overall.
Klasen notched his 21st and 22nd goals of the season for Milwaukee, and rookie Blake Geoffrion assisted on both tallies before scoring one of his own in the third period. Geoffrion has now racked up five goals and 13 points during the Admirals’ four-game winning streak.
Gabriel Bourque recorded two goals in the winning effort, while Mark Santorelli posted a goal and an assist to round out the offense. Defenseman Teemu Laakso chipped in a pair of helpers, as Milwaukee has outscored opponents 21-7 over the course of its four-game winning streak.
Admirals rookie goaltender Jeremy Smith (8-4-1) stopped 25 of 27 shots to pick up the victory in net.
SAN ANTONIO 5, LAKE ERIE 4 (SO)
Defenseman Garrett Stafford netted the lone shootout goal for either side as San Antonio kept rolling with a 5-4 road win over Lake Erie on Saturday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena.
Al Montoya took over for Matt Climie between the pipes in the third period for San Antonio and made 13 saves before denying all five of Lake Erie’s shootout tries, helping the Rampage to their fourth straight win.
San Antonio is 6-0-1-0 in its last seven outings and is tied with Milwaukee for first place in the West Division race.
The Monsters battled back from deficits of 2-0, 3-1, and 4-3 in regulation to earn a point. Rookie Mark Olver paced Lake Erie with a goal and two helpers, while Patrick Bordeleau (1-1-2) and defenseman Matt Generous also found the back of the net.
ADIRONDACK 4, HAMILTON 0
Veteran sniper Denis Hamel recorded his first hat trick of the season to lead Adirondack to a 4-0 road win over Hamilton in a Saturday afternoon matinee at Copps Coliseum.
Hamel, who now shows a team-leading 17 goals on the campaign, scored once in each period and capped off his hat trick with an empty-net tally with 3:46 left in the third period.
Adirondack bounced back on the road against one of the North Division’s top teams less than 24 hours after suffering a 5-0 home-ice loss to Syracuse on Friday night.
The Bulldogs fell to 1-3-0-0 in their last four games and have totaled only four goals in that span. Hamilton dropped one point back of Manitoba for the North Division’s top spot.
MANCHESTER 4, ALBANY 0
Rookie goaltender Martin Jones stopped all 26 shots he faced to record his third shutout of the season as Manchester blanked host Albany by a 4-0 count on Saturday at the Times Union Center.
A 2011 AHL All-Star, Jones made nine saves in the opening period, 12 in the second, and five more in the third to improve to 18-5-1 in 27 appearances for the Atlantic Division-leading Monarchs (31-16-1-4).
Oscar Moller paced the Monarchs’ offense with a pair of goals, Bud Holloway registered a goal and a helper, and Dwight King also scored on the night. Defensemen Thomas Hickey and Patrick Mullen chipped in two assists apiece for Manchester, which extended its points streak to six games (4-0-0-2).
The Devils, blanked for the fifth time this season, dropped their fourth straight game and fell to 1-7-0-0 in their last eight outings.
CONNECTICUT 4, PORTLAND 3
Kris Newbury’s power play goal 2:40 into the third period broke a 3-3 tie, and Connecticut held on to edge host Portland by a 4-3 count on Saturday at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The Whale (24-20-2-5) swept a home-and-home set from the Pirates this weekend and remained one point back of Worcester for the Atlantic Division’s third and final guaranteed playoff spot.
Former Portland goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris picked up his first AHL victory of the season for Connecticut, making 22 saves on 25 shots.
WORCESTER 2, PROVIDENCE 0
Rookie goaltender Carter Hutton made 20 saves for his first professional shutout as Worcester blanked visiting Providence by a 2-0 count on Saturday before 6,061 fans at the DCU Center.
Hutton, filling in for the injured Alex Stalock, improved to 5-3-2 in 12 appearances this season and helped the Sharks to their season-high fourth consecutive victory. At 24-18-2-6 overall, Worcester is one point up on Connecticut for third place in the Atlantic Division.
Defenseman Joe Loprieno provided all the offense Hutton would need when he scored just his second goal of the season late in the middle period. Brandon Mashinter then tacked on an empty-netter in the game’s closing minute.
The Sharks closed out a six-game homestand at 4-1-0-1 and will begin a five-game road stretch next Friday in Springfield.
Providence, which was shut out for the third time this season, will hop on a plane and take on Charlotte on Sunday afternoon in North Carolina.
MANITOBA 5, HERSHEY 4 (SO)
Manitoba climbed back from a 4-1 deficit in regulation and eventually collected a seven-round road shootout win over Hershey on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd of 10,780 fans at the Giant Center.
Rookie goaltender Eddie Lack, who allowed four goals on 21 shots through the first 40 minutes, rebounded to stop 12 of 12 in the third period and deny all seven Hershey shootout attempts. Lack improved to 17-10-3 in 30 appearances for the season.
Bill Sweatt and Jordan Schroeder led the Moose with a goal and two assists apiece in regulation, and Schroeder’s power play marker at 8:28 of the third period completed Manitoba’ three-goal comeback. Defenseman Mark Flood (1-1-2) and Ryan Parent also found the back of the net.
The Moose, who improved to 16-4-1-1 since Dec. 14, moved one point up on Hamilton for first place in the North Division.
SPRINGFIELD 4, BRIDGEPORT 1
Rookie Tomas Kubalik registered a goal and two assists for a game-high three point as Springfield took a 4-1 road win over Bridgeport on Saturday in front of 6,982 fans at the Webster Bank Arena.
Kubalik extended his scoring streak to five games (2-5-7) for the Falcons, who improved to 3-1-0-0 in their last four games overall and to 5-1-0-1 against Bridgeport in 2010-11.
Springfield moved back to .500 for the season at 23-23-1-3 and stayed six points back of Worcester for a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.
Justin DiBenedetto initially gave the Sound Tigers a 1-0 lead 2:46 into the contest, but Bridgeport’s losing skid reached six games.
BINGHAMTON 3, NORFOLK 2
Rookie Roman Wick scored with just 12.5 seconds left in regulation to snap a 2-2 deadlock and send Binghamton to a 3-2 road win over Norfolk on Saturday at the Scope.
The Senators bounced back from Friday’s 4-3 overtime loss in Norfolk and improved to 9-4-1-1 in their last 15 contests, closing to within three points of fourth-place Charlotte in the East Division race.
Defenseman Derek Smith netted the Senators’ other two goals on the night; AHL leading scorer Corey Locke (16-48-64) added two more assists to his total; and B-Sens goaltender Barry Brust (17-12-1) stopped 32 of 34 shots to earn the victory.
Blair Jones and Pierre-Cedric Labrie scored for the Admirals, who recovered from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 before surrendering the final-minute goal to Wick. Norfolk is now 1-5-1-1 in its last eight outings.
SYRACUSE 4, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 2
Rookie Nick Bonino tallied a pair of goals and Matt Beleskey potted the eventual game-winner as Syracuse doubled up league-leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton by a 4-2 count on Saturday at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Bonino opened the game’s scoring with a power play goal in the first period and then closed it with an empty-netter in the final minute of the third period.
In between, the Crunch also received power play goals from Maxime Macenauer and Beleskey en route to finishing 3-for-5 with the man advantage.
Rookie Kyle Palmieri and defenseman Mark Mitera each posted two assists for Syracuse, and goaltender Jean-Philippe Levasseur followed up Friday nights’ 31-save shutout of Adirondack with a 36-save effort in this one.
The Crunch won for the third time in five tries (3-2-0-0) against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season.
Ben Street notched his first career AHL goal for the Penguins, and defenseman Steve Wagner also scored. Wilkes-Barre (36-14-0-0) has now lost a season-high three straight games and will battle Albany on Monday night in Atlantic City, N.J.
TORONTO 3, ROCHESTER 1
Toronto scored once in each period and cruised to a 3-1 road win over Rochester on Saturday at the Blue Cross Arena.
Playing for the only time in a 10-day span, the Marlies (24-20-0-7) pulled within one point of Lake Erie for the North Division’s third and final guaranteed playoff spot. Toronto still holds three games in hand on the Monsters.
Making his AHL debut after spending the past year and a half with the parent Maple Leafs, goaltender Jonas Gustavsson stopped 24 of 25 shots between the pipes for Toronto.
Bill Thomas netted the Americans’ lone goal midway through the third period, as Rochester’s three-game winning streak came to an end.
CHICAGO 4, PEORIA 2
Four different Chicago skaters found the back of the net as the Wolves collected a 4-2 win over visiting Peoria on Saturday in front of 10,528 fans at Allstate Arena.
Michael Davies, Andrey Zubarev, and Andre Deveaux all recorded markers for the Wolves before Nigel Dawes capped off Chicago’s offense in the third period with his team-leading 23rd goal of the season.
Deveaux’s 16th goal of the campaign, which came at 3:30 of the third and less than two minutes before Dawes scored, turned out to be the game-winner. Former AHL All-Star defenseman Jaime Sifers picked up one of his two assists on the play.
Dave Spina and Nathan Oystrick netted goals for the Rivermen, who were making their first visit to Chicago of the season and opposing their division rivals for just the second time overall. Chicago claimed as 3-2 overtime win in Peoria back on Nov. 26.
Peoria dropped to 4-8-0-1 in its last 13 games but is still just two points out of first place in the West Division. Chicago closed to within three points of Oklahoma City for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot.
TEXAS 3, OKLAHOMA CITY 0
Rookie goaltender Richard Bachman made 30 saves for his fourth shutout of the season to lead Texas past visiting Oklahoma City by a 3-0 count on Saturday in front of 5,738 fans at the Cedar Park Center.
Bachman, who made 10 saves in the first period, nine in the second, and 11 in the third, improved to 18-10-3 in 33 appearances for the Stars this season.
Rookie Ondrej Roman, who entered the night sporting just three goals in 40 games for the year, scored twice in the first period to pace Texas’ offense. Brandon Segal tacked on a third-period marker to account for the final margin.
The victory pulled the Stars within one point of the Barons for fifth place in the West Division and the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. Texas still holds four games in hand.
The Barons, who were playing their third game in as many nights, were blanked for the first time since a 3-0 loss to Hamilton on Dec. 17.
ROCKFORD 3, ABBOTSFORD 2
Rockford stormed back from a 2-0 first-period deficit to stun visiting Abbotsford with a 3-2 victory on Saturday at the MetroCentre, halting its winless skid at six games (0-5-1-0).
IceHogs forward Kyle Hagel cut the deficit in half early in the second period, and Ryan Potulny tallied the equalizer 1:34 into the third. It remained a 2-2 contest until Rockford rookie Kyle Beach scored the game-winner on the power play with just 2:06 left in regulation.
Jeff Taffe picked up his second assist of the night on the decisive goal, and AHL All-Star Brian Connelly earned the other helper. The comeback made a winner of Rockford goaltender Alec Richards, who finished with 27 saves on the night.
Abbotsford fell to 3-3-0-1 on its 10-game road trip, which continues on Sunday afternoon at Lake Erie.