WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 5, HERSHEY 0
Rookie goaltender Brad Thiessen earned his first pro shutout against the AHL’s top offense, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton halted Hershey’s 11-game winning streak with a 5-0 victory over the Bears on Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Thiessen, a first-year pro out of Northeastern University, turned aside 29 shots in the shutout effort, including 24 over the second and third periods combined. The 23-year-old improved his season record to 4-8-0.
The Penguins took early control of the game with three goals in the first 17 minutes of action. Wyatt Smith scored at 7:42, Dustin Jeffrey notched a power play goal at 11:03, and Chris Conner made it 3-0 at the 16:59 mark.
Smith (1-2-3) and Conner (1-2-3) both finished with three points on the night, and the Penguins have now won back-to-back games for just the second time since late December.
The Bears, who are averaging a league-high 4.39 goals per game, suffered their first loss since Jan. 13 at Norfolk and their first shutout since a 3-0 loss at Albany on Dec. 11.
ALBANY 7, BINGHAMTON 0
Jiri Tlusty notched two goals and an assist as Albany rolled to a 7-0 win over visiting Binghamton on Saturday at the Times Union Center. It marked the River Rats’ first win in five tries against the Senators this season (1-3-0-1).
Tlusty now has a point in all five games since returning from an NHL stint with Carolina, totaling 5-2-7 over that span.
Mike Angelidis, Jerome Samson, and Nick Dodge had a goal and an assist apiece for the River Rats, who also received markers from Harrison Reed and Nicolas Blanchard. Chris Terry and defenseman Bryan Rodney chipped in a pair of assists in the victory.
Albany goaltender Mike Murphy (10-9-0) turned aside 27 shots to pick up his second shutout of the campaign.
Binghamton suffered its first shutout since a 1-0 loss to Hamilton on Nov. 8.
ABBOTSFORD 2, HAMILTON 1
J.D. Watt snapped a 1-1 tie at 7:25 of the third period, and Abbotsford held on for a 2-1 road win over Hamilton before 5,643 fans at Copps Coliseum.
The Bulldogs initially grabbed a 1-0 lead when rearguard Shawn Belle scored just 2:59 after the opening face-off, but Abbotsford’s Cam Cunning tied it on the power play less than five minutes later. Neither team scored in the second period.
Heat goaltender David Shantz stopped 20 of 21 shots between the pipes and improved his AHL record to .500 for the campaign at 5-5-1. Abbotsford has now won three straight games for the first time since a four-game run from Jan. 2-9.
The Bulldogs’ eight-game points streak (7-0-0-1) came to an end.
BRIDGEPORT 6, HARTFORD 4
Bridgeport scored twice in each period and collected a 6-4 road win over Hartford on Saturday at the XL Center.
Greg Mauldin led the way with a game-high five points (1-4-5) for the Sound Tigers while firing eight of his team’s 33 shots on goal. Ryan Kinasewich tallied two goals and an assist in just his second game of the year for Bridgeport, and defenseman Mark Flood also had three points (1-2-3) on the night.
Defenseman Mark Wotton and ex-Hartford forward Greg Moore added goals for Bridgeport, and Trevor Smith contributed a pair of assists. Goaltender Scott Munroe stopped 24 of 28 shots in the winning effort.
Hartford, which fell to 2-6-2-0 in its last 10 games, is now in a three-way tie with Providence and Bridgeport for what would currently be the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
PROVIDENCE 3, SPRINGFIELD 1
Providence jumped out to a 3-0 lead and continued its recent surge with a 3-1 road win over Springfield at the MassMutual Center on Saturday.
The Bruins earned their fourth straight win – one short of a season high – and improved to 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 contests. Based on the wins tiebreaker, Providence has vaulted into fifth place in the Atlantic Division and what would currently be the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.
Jordan Knackstedt posted a goal and an assist for the Bruins, giving him three goals and seven points in his last three outings. Zach Hamill tallied the eventual game-winning goal, and Brad Marchand also scored in the victory.
Bruins goaltender Kevin Regan earned the win with 37 saves on 38 shots, improving his personal winning streak to three games.
Defenseman Chris Armstrong notched the lone goal for the Falcons, who dropped to 1-5-1-0 in their last seven games.
MANCHESTER 2, SYRACUSE 0
Manchester goaltender Jonathan Bernier pitched a 34-save shutout, and the Monarchs broke through for a pair of third-period goals to collect a 2-0 win over visiting Syracuse at the Verizon Wireless Arena in the first-ever meeting between the teams.
Bernier and Syracuse counterpart Kevin Lalande were locked in a scoreless duel until Monarchs rookie Corey Elkins notched his team-leading 17th goal of the season at 10:46 of the third period, with Geoff Walker and Andrew Campbell earning the assists.
D.J. King sealed Manchester’s win with an empty-net marker in the closing seconds.
Bernier, who earned his league-leading seventh shutout of the season, has now stopped 77 of 78 shots over the last two nights on the heels of surrendering six goals in a 6-4 loss at Bridgeport on Feb. 6.
With the win, Manchester jumped one point ahead of idle Worcester for first place in the Atlantic Division. The Monarchs will host the Sharks on Sunday afternoon.
Syracuse has managed just one goal in dropping the first two games of its Atlantic Division road trip, and the Crunch will conclude the journey on Sunday in Providence.
PORTLAND 5, ADIRONDACK 4
Rookie standout Tyler Ennis put up a goal and three assists as red-hot Portland edged visiting Adirondack by a 5-4 count on Saturday before 5,318 fans at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The Pirates ran their winning streak to eight games, which marks the club’s longest since an eight-game run from Oct. 31 to Nov. 19, 2008, and is the second-longest in team history.
Portland moved one point ahead of Lowell for third place in the Atlantic Division, and the Pirates are now just four points back of Manchester for the top spot.
Ennis’s four points extended his AHL rookie-leading total to 50 on the season (17-33-50). Mark Mancari posted a goal and two assists for the Pirates, while Felix Schutz, Marc-Andre Gragnani, and Derek Whitmore also scored.
Adirondack had rallied back from a 4-1 deficit before Whitmore’s power play goal at 11:01 of the third period wound up being the difference for Portland.
Pirates goaltender Jhonas Enroth earned the win with 20 saves on 24 shots between the pipes.
NORFOLK 5, LOWELL 1
Ryan Craig led the way with two goals and an assist as Norfolk secured a 5-1 win over visiting Lowell on Saturday at the Scope.
The Admirals earned a sweep of the teams’ two-game weekend set, earned their third straight win overall, and moved to 10-1-1-1 since the All-Star break. Norfolk now holds a six-point lead on Adirondack for the East Division’s third and final guaranteed playoff spot.
Rookie Nick Palmieri tallied the lone goal for the Devils, who are winless in five straight games (0-3-1-1) and pay a visit to Hershey on Sunday afternoon.
ROCHESTER 3, LAKE ERIE 2
Rochester rallied for a pair of third-period goals to take a 3-2 win over visiting Lake Erie on Saturday at the Blue Cross Arena.
The Americans trailed 2-1 heading into the final 20 minutes, but Jamie Johnson notched his team-leading 21st goal of the season to tie it at 10:35 of the third period.
The game then appeared headed for overtime before Amerks forward Daniel Steiner notched the game-winner with just a minute to play in regulation, with assists going to Jason Garrison and Michael Duco.
Randy Rowe stayed hot with a pair of power play goals for the Monsters. Rowe now shows 11 points (5-6-11) in 10 games for Lake Erie this season.
CHICAGO 5, TEXAS 2
Brett Sterling notched two goals and added two assists as Chicago vaulted into first place in the West Division with a 5-2 road win over Texas at the Cedar Park Center on Saturday.
The Wolves, who swept their two-game set with the Stars this weekend, are now 32-17-0-4 (68) points) for the season and hold a one-point lead over Rockford atop the West.
Chicago extended its points streak to nine games (7-0-0-2) and shows a 19-3-0-2 mark in its last 24 contests.
Fresh off his entry into the AHL’s 500-point club on Friday, Jason Krog chipped in three more points (1-2-3) for the Wolves; Anthony Stewart had a goal and an assist; and Spencer Machacek also found the back of the net.
MILWAUKEE 3, ROCKFORD 2
Chris Mueller tallied a pair of goals as Milwaukee edged host Rockford by a 3-2 count before 5,953 fans at the MetroCentre on Saturday.
Rockford drew first blood when Danny Bois scored just 2:27 into the game, but Mueller tied it up with 4:08 to play in the opening frame.
Mueller then gave the Admirals the lead for good at 6:38 of the second period, and Mike Santorelli provided insurance on the power play at the 14:43 mark.
Santorelli’s goal proved decisive when IceHogs forward Evan Brophey tallied a power play marker of his own at 17:44 of the third period.
Milwaukee goaltender Mark Dekanich hung on to earn the victory with 22 saves, helping the Admirals to a split of the teams’ weekend home-and-home set.
TORONTO 2, MANITOBA 1
Kyle Calder broke a 1-1 tie with 8:47 to play in regulation, and Toronto held on for a 2-1 road win over Manitoba on Saturday before a crowd of 13,532 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.
The Marlies earned a split of the teams’ two-game weekend set and finished 2-1-0-1 on a four-game road trip through Abbotsford and Winnipeg. Toronto will now play four straight and eight of its next 10 contests on home ice.
Justin Hodgman notched a goal and an assist for the Marlies, and Tim Brent assisted on both Toronto goals. Marlies goaltender James Reimer made 33 saves in net to earn the victory in his first AHL appearance since Nov. 27.
SAN ANTONIO 2, PEORIA 1
San Antonio rallied from a 1-0 first-period deficit to claim a 2-1 road win over Peoria at Carver Arena, earning the Rampage a sweep of their two-game series with the Rivermen this weekend.
Peoria forward Aaron Palushaj tallied his fourth goal of the season at 16:12 of the first period, giving his club a 1-0 lead heading into intermission.
But former AHL All-Star Brett MacLean tied it for the Rampage 14:26 into the second period, registering his team-leading 23rd goal of the campaign and third of the weekend.
Rampage goaltender Justin Pogge was outstanding in net, stopping 43 of 44 shots to improve his season record to 9-5-3. San Antonio improved to 5-1-0-2 on its 14-game road trip, which continues on Sunday in Milwaukee.
The struggling Rivermen have now lost four straight games and have totaled just four goals in that span.
HOUSTON 1, GRAND RAPIDS 0
Jean-Michel Daoust scored 55 seconds into overtime, breaking a scoreless deadlock and lifting Houston to a 1-0 win over visiting Grand Rapids before 6,893 fans at the Toyota Center on Saturday.
Daoust’s game-winning goal, which was his 17th tally of the season, was assisted by 2010 AHL All-Star defenseman Maxim Noreau. With the assist, Noreau (14-27-41) moved into a tie with Worcester’s Danny Groulx for the league lead in scoring among defensemen.
Aeros goaltender Barry Brust stopped all 22 shots he faced to earn his first shutout in eight AHL appearances this season (5-2-0), helping Houston earn a split of its two-game weekend set with Grand Rapids.
The Griffins were shut out just one night after tallying seven goals in a 7-2 win over the Aeros. Despite the overtime loss – which was Grand Rapids’ first of the season – the Griffins earned a point for the fourth time in their last five games (3-1-1-0).