PEORIA 5, OKLAHOMA CITY 4 (OT)
Peoria rallied back from deficits of 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, and 4-3 before Nathan Oystrick scored 16 seconds into overtime to give the Rivermen a stirring 5-4 victory at Oklahoma City on Saturday, extending their latest winning streak to five games.
The Rivermen’s streak is their longest since a season-best seven-game run from Oct. 10-23, and Peoria (25-10-2-1) maintained its two-point lead over San Antonio for first place in the West Division and the entire Western Conference.
Dave Spina picked up his third assist of the night on the game-winner by Oystrick, who picked up his 10th goal of the season and second game-winner. It marks the third time in four AHL seasons that Oystrick has reached double-digits in goals.
Mark Cundari and Adam Cracknell registered power play goals for the Rivermen in regulation, while Nicholas Drazenovic and Stefan Della Rovere scored at even strength. Della Rovere forced overtime by nabbing his fifth goal of the year with 3:35 to play in regulation.
Alexandre Giroux potted a pair of goals for the Barons, with recently-signed defenseman Bryan Helmer assisting on both markers. With three helpers in two games since joining Oklahoma City, Helmer is now just three points shy of John Slaney’s 519 for the most points among defensemen in AHL history.
HAMILTON 4, CHICAGO 1
Hamilton built a commanding 4-0 lead by early in the third period and rolled to a 4-1 road win over Chicago on Saturday in front of 15,654 fans at Allstate Arena.
J.T. Wyman notched a pair of goals for the Bulldogs, while Dustin Boyd and Kyle Klubertanz also found the back of the net. Boyd scored shorthanded in the first period for his 11th goal in 10 games since joining Hamilton, and Klubertanz cashed in on ‘Dogs power play in the third stanza.
Hamilton secured its first victory over the Wolves this year (1-2-0-0) after finishing a perfect 4-0-0-0 in the 2009-10 season series.
Bulldogs goaltender Curtis Sanford made 15 saves in the victory, as his club ended up with 36-16 edge in shots on goal. Nigel Dawes was the only Chicago skater to put a puck past Sanford, doing so midway through the third period for his team-best 19th goal of the season.
Hamilton is now 1-2-0-0 on its four-game road trip, which concludes on Sunday in Milwaukee.
Chicago, which had been on a four-game home points streak (3-0-0-1), suffered its first regulation loss at Allstate Arena in exactly one month, since a 5-2 setback to San Antonio on Dec. 8.
SPRINGFIELD 7, CHARLOTTE 3
Springfield exploded for five goals in the opening period and rode that wave to a 7-3 victory over visiting Charlotte on Saturday at the MassMutual Center.
The seven goals marked a season high for the Falcons and the franchise’s greatest single-game output since the 2009-10 season finale, a 7-3 victory over Manchester on Apr. 11, 2010.
Maksim Mayorov, Trevor Smith, and rookies Tomas Kubalik and David Savard rounded out the Falcons’ offense. Captain Ben Guite and defenseman Theo Ruth each finished with two assists in the winning effort.
Springfield goaltender Gustaf Wesslau earned the victory after making 34 saves on 37 shots between the pipes, helping the Falcons improve to 3-1-0-2 in their last six contests.
MANITOBA 4, HERSHEY 3 (OT)
Marco Rosa notched a power play goal 4:37 into overtime to give Manitoba a 4-3 victory over Hershey on Saturday before 8,188 fans in the conclusion of the teams’ two-game set at the MTS Centre.
Bill Sweatt and captain Nolan Baumgartner – who had two helpers on the night – assisted on Rosa’s game-winner. The Moose avenged a 4-3 regulation loss to Hershey on Friday night and improved to 9-2-0-0 in their last 11 games.
At 21-12-0-4 overall, Manitoba sits just one point back of Hamilton for first place in the North Division and still holds a game in hand on the Bulldogs.
Weiman finished with 21 saves on 24 shots to claim his eighth victory of the season (8-4-2), while Hershey’s Braden Holtby (10-4-1) took the loss despite making 30 stops.
The Bears suffered their first overtime loss of 2010-11.
ALBANY 2, SYRACUSE 1
Matt Anderson moved into a tie for the team lead with his 13th goal of the season, and it proved to be the game-winner as Albany edged visiting Syracuse by a 2-1 count on Saturday at the Times Union Center.
Anderson and Adam Henrique each posted a goal and an assist for the Devils, with Anderson snapping a 1-1 tie at 4:04 of the third period. It marked Anderson’s second tally in as many days, and the former Calder Cup champion is now tied with Michael Swift for the club lead.
Devils goaltender Mike McKenna turned aside 23 of 24 shots in the victory, which was just Albany’s fifth on home ice all season (5-13-0-2).
Eric Lampe notched the lone goal for the Crunch, who have now dropped back-to-back games on the heels of a three-game winning streak.
McCauley’s second goal of the night came with just 2:22 left in regulation, snapping a 3-3 deadlock and sending the Pirates to their third consecutive victory after the club went 1-3-3-0 in its previous seven contests.
Portland netminder Jhonas Enroth, who has been between the pipes for all three victories in the current run, finished with 32 saves on 35 shots.
Manchester, which dropped to 1-3-0-0 in its last four outings, is now just three points up on Portland for first place in the Atlantic Division.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 2, PROVIDENCE 1 (OT)
Dustin Jeffrey lit the lamp 2:58 into overtime to lift Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to a 2-1 comeback victory over visiting Providence at the Wachovia Arena on Saturday night.
The league-leading Penguins extended their current winning streak to five games – tied for their second-longest of the year – and moved to a remarkable 30-8-0-0 overall.
It marked the 15th goal of the season for Jeffrey, who trails only Eric Tangradi (16) for the Penguins team lead in that category. Brett Sterling and Robert Bortuzzo earned assists on the game-winner.
Bruins forward Jeremy Reich put the visitors on top just 39 seconds after the opening face-off, with former first-round draft picks Zach Hamill and Jordan Caron assisting on the play. But Joe Vitale pulled the Penguins even less than seven minutes later.
Penguins netminder Brad Thiessen only had to make 18 saves to improve to 17-3-0 on the season, while Bruins counterpart Nolan Schaefer – an ex-Penguin – was the tough-luck loser after making 50 saves at the other end.
Providence did still extend its points streak to three games (2-0-1-0) heading into Sunday’s home-ice match-up with Binghamton.
BINGHAMTON 2, ROCHESTER 1
Erik Condra scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal at 3:03 of the second period as Binghamton earned a 2-1 win over in-state rival Binghamton at the Broome County Arena.
It marked the second game-winning goal in as many days for Condra, and Binghamton moved to 3-1-0-0 in its last four games and remained two points back of Worcester for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.
Condra and rookie forward David Dziurzynski each registered a goal and an assist on the night, with Dziurzynski scoring his first as a professional just 26 seconds into the game before helping out on Condra’s tally.
Chris Taylor notched the Americans’ lone goal on the power play midway through the opening period.
CONNECTICUT 3, NORFOLK 2 (OT)
Jeremy Williams nabbed his 20th goal of the season with just 38 seconds left in overtime, sending Connecticut to a 3-2 win over Norfolk and a split of its two-game visit to southern Virginia.
Williams , who clinched his third straight 20-goal season and fourth overall in the AHL, moved into a tie with Charlotte’s Jerome Samson for the league lead in goals this year.
Michael Del Zotto and Jason Williams picked up helpers on the overtime marker, which helped the Whale avenge Friday’s 5-2 loss and move to 20-14-2-5 for the season, good for a share of second place in the Atlantic Division.
After a scoreless opening period, the Whale grabbed leads of 1-0 and 2-1 on goals by Brodie Dupont and Kelsey Tessier, but Norfolk answered both scores. Tim Marks and Stefano Giliati scored for the Admirals, the latter knotting it a 2-2 with 1:39 left in regulation.
Whale rookie goaltender Cameron Talbot (7-2-2) emerged with the victory after making 38 saves on 40 shots.
Norfolk dropped to a league-worst 1-7 this season in games decided during the five-minute overtime period.
WORCESTER 2, BRIDGEPORT 1 (OT)
Andrew Desjardins broke out of a prolonged goal-scoring slump by beating Bridgeport’s Mikko Koskinen at 1:35 of overtime to give Worcester a 2-1 road victory over the Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard on Saturday.
Deshardins increased his goal total from eight as a rookie in 2008-09 to 19 last season but entered the night with just four markers in 35 outings this year and only one in his previous 18 contests.
The 24-year-old was assisted on the play by defenseman Nick Shaus and Mike Moore, as the Sharks collected their second win in six tries against Bridgeport this season (2-3-0-1).
Sharks forward Chris Lawrence opened the game’s scoring at 14:04 of the first period with his first AHL goal since Mar. 18, 2009 as a member of the Norfolk Admirals. Bridgeport’s Michael Haley answered on the power play nearly five minutes later, and it remained a 1-1 deadlock into overtime.
Worcester rookie goaltender Carter Hutton, giving workhorse starter Alex Stalock a rare night off, made 18 saves in his eighth appearance of the season (3-1-2). Koskinen finished with 38 stops in defeat.
The Sharks (17-13-2-) are now one point up on Bridgeport (18-17-1-2) for fourth place in the Atlantic Division, the last spot which could earn a postseason berth.
LAKE ERIE 3, TEXAS 1
Lake Erie bounced back from a 3-0 loss in Houston on Friday by earning a 3-1 victory over Texas at a sold-out Cedar Park Center on Saturday night. Attendance was 6,863.
Stoa paces the Monsters with 13 goals overall (13-11-24) despite going his first 16 games of the season without finding the back of the net.
Walter finished with a goal and an assist on the night, and Lake Erie netminder John Grahame preserved the victory with 18 saves on 19 shots in net.
Sitting one win shy of the .500 mark, Lake Erie (16-17-3-4) continues its seven-game road trip on Sunday in Oklahoma City.
Stars forward Aaron Gagnon spoiled Grahame’s shutout bid at 17:20 of the third period, but Texas has now dropped back-to-back games in regulation following a seven-game points streak (5-0-1-1).
MILWAUKEE 1, TORONTO 0 (SO)
Milwaukee and Toronto battled to a scoreless duel through 65 minutes, and Mark Van Guilder notched the only shootout goal for either side to give the Admirals a 1-0 win on Saturday at the Bradley Center.
Admirals goaltender Mark Dekanich (33 saves) and Marlies counterpart Ben Scrivens (24 saves) each received credit for a shutout after stopping every puck sent their way through regulation and overtime.
Dekanich went on to deny all five of Toronto’s shootout attempts, while Van Guilder beat Scrivens in the fourth round to give Milwaukee its third consecutive victory.
The Admirals, who still sit three points back of Peoria for first place in the West Division, are on their
longest winning streak since a season-high five-game surge from Nov. 5-13.
Toronto dropped to 2-7 in shootouts this season.
SAN ANTONIO 4, HOUSTON 0
San Antonio goaltender Matt Climie pitched a 24-save shutout, defeating one of his former teams for the second time in as many nights as the Rampage beat visiting Houston by a 4-0 final on Saturday at the AT&T Center.
Climie, who earned the victory on Friday at Texas, collected his third shutout of the season and moved to 16-7-0 in 23 appearances. The 27-year-old suited up for Houston for part of the 2008-09 season and then backstopped Texas to the Calder Cup Finals last spring.
Mikkel Boedker and Andrew Ebbett each had a goal and an assist for the Rampage, who also received markers from Matt Watkins and Brett MacLean. Defenseman Maxim Goncharov contributed a pair of assists on the night.
San Antonio has now won two straight games on the heels of a season-worst four-game losing skid, and the Rampage remain two points back of first-place Peoria in the West Division race.
The Aeros suffered their sixth shutout of the season and second at the hands of Climie, who blanked them on 26 shots in a 2-0 Rampage victory on Oct. 23.
ROCKFORD 6, GRAND RAPIDS 0
Defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy tallied a pair of goals just 1:16 apart in the first period, and Rockford rolled from there to a 6-0 win over visiting Grand Rapids at the MetroCentre on Saturday.
Vishnevskiy opened the game’s scoring at 4:35 of the first frame and then made it 2-0 with a power play marker at 5:51. Ben Smith assisted on two goals, part of his three helpers overall on the night.
Defensemen Shawn Lalonde and Brian Connelly (1-1-2) along with forwards Jeff Taffe and Kyle Beach (1-1-2) tacked on tallies for the IceHogs, who totaled six goals for the second time in three games and moved to 6-3-0-0 in their last nine outings overall.
Rockford rookie goaltender Alec Richards made 22 saves to secure his second shutout of the season and improve his record to .500 (9-9-1).
The Griffins were blanked for the second time in their last four games and fell to 1-3-0-0 in 2011.
ABBOTSFORD 3, ADIRONDACK 2 (SO)
Matt Keith tallied the game-tying goal and then scored the lone shootout goal for either side to propel Abbotsford past visiting Adirondack by a 3-2 count on Saturday at the Entertainment & Sports Centre.
Keith beat Phantoms goaltender Johan Backlund in the second shootout round, while Jean-Philippe Lamoureux turned aside all five of Adirondack’s attempts. Lamoureaux made 12 saves in regulation after taking over for starter Leland Irving when the Phantoms grabbed a 2-0 second-period lead.
Michael Ryan and Mike Testwuide staked Adirondack to that 2-0 advantage. Ryan Stone cut Abbotsford’s deficit in half late in the second frame, and Keith tied it up at 1:29 of the third period with his team-leading 13th goal of the season.
The Heat collected their second 3-2 shootout decision over the Phantoms in as many nights and improved to 7-3 in shootouts this season, which accounts for seven of their 18 victories (18-17-2-3).
Adirondack has now played four consecutive shootouts, winning the first two before these two losses. The Phantoms have earned at least a point in six straight games (4-0-0-2).