BINGHAMTON 4, HERSHEY 3
Binghamton had been outscored 18-4 in losing its first three trips to Hershey in 2010-11, but Roman Wick and the Senators bucked that trend on Saturday by eking out a 4-3 victory over the streaking Bears in front of a sellout crowd of 10,751 fans at the Giant Center.
Wick tallied a pair of goals for Binghamton, including the eventual decisive goal 15:48 gone in the third period. The first-year North American pro now shows three tallies in his last three games, and four of his 10 goals overall (10-13-23) have been game-winners.
Rookie Colin Greening and defenseman Derek Smith also scored in the winning effort, and AHL leading scorer Corey Locke added to his total with a pair of helpers, reaching the 50-assist plateau for the season (17-50-67).
Senators goaltender Barry Brust (19-12-1) earned the win with 26 saves in net, helping Binghamton improve to 3-5-0-0 in the season series against Hershey.
The B-Sens (27-20-3-3, 60 points) collected their third straight victory overall and moved three points up on idle Connecticut for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.
The Bears suffered their first regulation loss since a 2-1 setback against these same Senators in Binghamton back on Jan. 16, halting their 11-game points streak (10-0-0-1). Hershey lost in regulation at home for the first time since dropping a 4-2 decision to Syracuse on Dec. 31.
ADIRONDACK 1, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 0
2011 AHL All-Star defenseman Erik Gustafsson scored 14:54 into the contest, and it proved to be the only goal of the game as Adirondack edged host Wilkes-Barre/Scranton by a 1-0 count at Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday.
Gustafsson, who continues to lead AHL rookie rearguards with 30 points (5-25-30) in 48 games this year, picked up his second game-winning marker.
Phantoms goaltender Michael Leighton stopped all 28 shots that the AHL’s fifth-ranked offense sent his way en route to his second shutout of the campaign. Leighton helped Adirondack survive a third-period storm that saw the Penguins hold a 10-1 shots advantage.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was blanked for the first time since a 1-0 loss to Hershey on Dec. 30.
ROCHESTER 3, HAMILTON 2
Rochester halted a three-game losing skid and kept Hamilton reeling with a 3-2 road win over the Bulldogs on Saturday in a matinee tilt at Copps Coliseum.
The Amerks coughed up leads of 1-0 and 2-1 before McArdle put them on top to stay with a power play goal at 4:38 of the third period. Kostka and Wilson picked up assists on McArdle’s 12th tally of the season but just his second game-winner.
Defensemen Mathieu Carle and Kyle Klubertanz potted goals for the Bulldogs, who have lost four straight games and six of their last seven (1-6-0-0). The four-game regulation losing skid is Hamilton’s longest since dropping seven in a row from Mar. 2-19, 2008.
MANCHESTER 6, BRIDGEPORT 2
Manchester used a five-goal second period outburst to shake off a 2-0 deficit and roll to a 6-2 home-ice win over reeling Bridgeport on Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
The Monarchs, who had scored exactly one goal in each of their past two games, registered their greatest offensive output since a 6-4 win at Charlotte. With the win, Manchester moved three points up on idle Portland for first place in the Atlantic Division, although the Pirates hold four games in hand.
Bud Holloway and AHL leading scoring defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov (12-27-39) each contributed a pair of assists to the victory, and goaltender Jeff Zatkoff (13-11-4) stopped 26 of 28 shots between the pipes. Viatcheslav was a team-best plus-4 on the night.
The Sound Tigers started out hot on first-period goals by Justin DiBenedetto and Eric Castonguay, but Bridgeport still went on to suffer its eighth consecutive defeat and 16th in its last 17 games (1-13-2-1).
ALBANY 4, CHARLOTTE 3 (OT)
Rookie Adam Henrique scored an unassisted goal at 3:12 of overtime to lift Albany to a much-needed 4-3 road win over Charlotte on Saturday in front of 12,236 fans at the Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Devils, beginning a rare sequence that has them playing three consecutive tilts in Charlotte, halted a five-game losing skid and won for just the second time in their last 10 outings (2-8-0-0).
Albany grabbed leads of 1-0 and 2-1 on goals by Rob Davison and David McIntyre, but the Checkers came back to take a 3-2 advantage in to the third period. That stood until Devils forward Steve Zalewski notched the equalizer with just 3:48 left to play.
Goaltender Dave Caruso made 27 saves on 30 shots to secure his first victory since Nov. 27 for the Devils, who will also oppose the Checkers on Sunday afternoon and Tuesday night.
SPRINGFIELD 8, PROVIDENCE 2
Just one night after suffering a 5-0 shutout loss to Worcester, Springfield erupted for a season-high eight goals and routed visiting Providence by an 8-2 final on Saturday at the MassMutual Center.
Maksim Mayorov led the charge with two goals and an assist for the Falcons, and Trevor Smith also scored twice on the night. Mayorov scored on the power play, Steven Goertzen registered a shorthanded marker, and Tomas Kubalik (1-1-2), Trevor Frischmon (1-1-2), and captain Ben Guite rounded out the scoring.
Falcons goaltender David LeNeveu (13-12-2) earned the victory after making 21 saves on 23 shots in net. With their fourth win in six games (4-2-0-0), Springfield pulled within six points of third-place Worcester for the Atlantic Division’s final guaranteed playoff spot.
NORFOLK 4, SYRACUSE 0
Norfolk scored three times in the latter stages of the first period and cruised from there to a 4-0 win over Syracuse and a convincing sweep of the Crunch’s two-game visit to southeastern Virginia.
The Admirals posted their second consecutive shutout, outscoring Syracuse 7-0 over the two games and combining for 63 shots over the two nights.
Blair Jones provided all the offense Norfolk would need 14:30 into the contest; Marc-Antoine Pouliot made it 2-0 on the power play at 16:12; and defenseman Mark Barberio added another goal with just five seconds left in the frame.
After the second period and most of the third were scoreless, Admirals defenseman Troy Milam registered a power play strike in the closing minute of regulation to account for the final margin.
The Crunch, who entered with the AHL’s 28th-ranked offense (2.41 goals per game), were blanked for the ninth time this season.
LAKE ERIE 2, GRAND RAPIDS 1 (SO)
Rookie forwards Mark Olver and Mike Carman tallied shootout goals to push Lake Erie past visiting Grand Rapids by a 2-1 final on Saturday in front of 8,876 fans at Quicken Loans Arena.
Carman’s sixth-round conversion against Grand Rapids goaltender Jordan Pearce proved to be the difference and helped the Monsters improve to 10-3-0-1 in their last 14 games.
Jamie Tardif staked the Griffins to an early 1-0 lead in the first period, but ex-Griffin Patrick Rissmiller answered for the Monsters midway through the second frame. Neither side scored in the third.
Olver and Grand Rapids’ Ilari Filppula traded shootout scored in the first two rounds, and the goaltenders then traded saves until Carman’s decisive score. Lake Erie goaltender Jason Bacashihua (10-13-3) denied five Griffins shooters after making 29 saves through the first 65 minutes.
Grand Rapids will wrap up its three-game road trip on Sunday afternoon in Rochester.
TEXAS 2, ROCKFORD 1
Rookie forward Ondrej Roman notched the game-winning goal and added an assist as Texas held off visiting Rockford for a 2-1 victory on Saturday at the Cedar Park Center.
The Stars swept their two-game set against the IceHogs this weekend and improved to 6-2-0-1 in their last nine games overall.
Roman assisted on a goal by Brandon Segal in the closing seconds of the first period before scoring one of his own on the power play midway through the second. Dan Spang and Greg Rallo assisted on that marker.
Ryan Potulny pulled Rockford within 1-0 with a power play goal of his own at 5:56 of the third frame, but the IceHogs could not get the equalizer and dropped to 1-7-2-0 in its last 10 outings.
Stars rookie goaltender Richard Bachman earned the win with 23 saves on 24 shots, helping his club move one point up on idle Oklahoma City for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot.
MANITOBA 5, SAN ANTONIO 0
Five different players tallied goals, and Sergei Shirokov registered four assists for a game-high four points as Manitoba rolled to a 5-0 win over San Antonio on Saturday before 10,948 fans at the MTS Centre.
The Moose (29-17-1-5) avenged Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Rampage, halted a three-game losing skid overall, and moved three points clear of Hamilton for first place in the North Division race.
Shirokov’s four-assist effort came after the two-time AHL All-Star had totaled just one point (an assist) in his previous eight games since returning from an NHL call-up to Vancouver.
Manitoba rookie goaltender Eddie Lack (18-11-3) made 22 saves to pick up his third shutout of the campaign.
San Antonio, which was blanked for the second time in three games, fell to 3-2-0-0 on its nine-game road swing, which continues next weekend in Syracuse, Hamilton, and Toronto.
ABBOTSFORD 3, TORONTO 0
Abbotsford goaltender Leland Irving continued his strong play of late, making 26 saves for his fifth shutout of the season as the Heat earned a 3-0 win over Toronto on Saturday at the Entertainment & Sports Centre.
Irving has now posted shutouts in two of his last three games and extended his AHL-leading win total to 24 in 46 appearances overall (24-16-2).
Defenseman Chris Breen and forwards Cam Cunning and Stefan Meyer netted goals for the Heat, who earned a sweep of their two-game home set with the Marlies and extended their overall winning streak to four games.
Abbotsford (27-22-2-5, 61 points) also moved into a tie with Hamilton for second place in the North Division, though the Bulldogs still hold four games in hand. The Heat are still one point up on Lake Erie for the division’s final guaranteed playoff spot.
The Marlies, who have totaled one goal in two games since their 9-2 triumph over Connecticut on Wednesday, travel to Winnipeg for a pair of games against the Manitoba Moose on Tuesday and Wednesday.