BINGHAMTON 4, MANCHESTER 2
Rookie forward Roman Wick scored twice in the opening period and then completed a hat trick with the eventual game-winner in the second as surging Binghamton earned a 4-2 road victory over Manchester on Saturday before 9,852 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Wick, in his first North American pro season following four years in his native Switzerland, has now recorded four goals in his last three games after totaling four goals in his first 39 contests.
The 25-year-old Wick beat Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones at 6:59 of the opening period to tie the game just 17 seconds after Richard Clune had given Manchester a 1-0. Wick then scored again less than 11 minutes later, but Manchester forward Marc-Andre Cliche responded to make it 2-2 after 20 minutes.
Wick scored the only goal of the second period at the 9:19 mark, and Ryan Keller provided insurance early in the third. Both of those markers came on the power play, as Binghamton finished 2-for-6 with the man advantage.
The Senators, who extended their points streak to four games (3-0-0-1) and improved to 7-2-0-1 in their last 10 contests, are now within two points of Hershey and Charlotte for third place in the East Division.
Manchester, which was playing its first home game since Dec. 31, will head right back out on the road for a Sunday afternoon tilt in Providence.
TORONTO 4, PEORIA 0
Goaltender James Reimer made 29 saves for his third shutout of the season, and Toronto rolled past struggling Peoria by a 4-0 count in a Saturday afternoon matinee at Ricoh Coliseum.
Reimer, who has also made his first seven career NHL appearances with the Maple Leafs in 2010-11, improved to 9-5-1 in 15 games for the Marlies, with three of those nine wins coming via the shutout. He made 10 saves in the opening period, six in the second, and 13 more in the third.
Former AHL All-Star Christian Hanson provided all the offense Toronto would need when he scored 2:43 into the game for his 11th of the season. Veteran Mike Zigomanis and rookies Jerry D’Amigo and Marcel Mueller added goals for the Marlies, while Nazem Kadri (0-3-3) and Matt Lashoff (0-2-2) posted multiple assists.
Toronto, which was coming off a nine-game road trip and playing its first home tilt since Dec. 30, halted a brief two-game losing skid.
The Rivermen have now been blanked in back-to-back contests and dipped to 1-5-0-0 in their last six outings overall. Peoria concludes a four-game road trip on Sunday at Lake Erie.
HAMILTON 4, ADIRONDACK 3 (SO)
Hamilton tied it up with a pair of goals in the final seven minutes of regulation and then collected a 4-3 shootout victory over host Adirondack at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Saturday.
Aaron Palushaj and Dustin Boyd tallied shootout goals for the Bulldogs, and rookie goaltender Robert Mayer turned aside all four of Adirondack’s tries after making 21 saves through regulation and overtime.
Mayer, making his first appearance since Jan. 1, improved to 8-7-2 on the campaign.
Ben Maxwell initially gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead midway through the opening period, but Adirondack came back to build a 3-1 advantage on the strength of three second-period goals. Stefan Legein, J.P. Testwuide, and Eric Wellwood did the honors for the Phantoms.
The Bulldogs matched a season high with their fifth straight win, having also accomplished the feat from Oct. 27 to Nov. 5. Hamilton is now three points up on second-place Manitoba in the North Division race.
A sellout crowd of 9,803 took in the contest, the largest home-ice gathering in the Sharks’ five seasons as member of the AHL.
Rob Hisey recorded a goal and an assist for the Sound Tigers, and Justin DiBenedetto also found the back of the net. Bridgeport scored once in the first period, twice in the second, and three more times in the third.
The Sound Tigers finally brought and end to their winless skid at eight games (0-5-2-1), collecting their first victory since a 3-2 decision over the Sharks on Dec. 31 in Bridgeport.
PORTLAND 5, PROVIDENCE 2
Portland tallied three goals in the final 4:06 of regulation to turn a 2-2 deadlock into a 5-2 win over previously surging Providence at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Saturday.
Pirates defenseman Dennis Persson snapped the tie with a power play goal at 15:54 of the third frame, and Mark Mancari provided insurance at the 18:14 mark before scoring again at 19:55, capping off a hat trick with an empty-net tally.
Mancari, who also registered a second-period goal, now leads the entire AHL with 23 markers (23-25-48) in 41 games this season.
Portland goaltender Jhonas Enroth (14-12-1) earned the victory with 33 saves on 35 shots, helping the Pirates move to 5-1-0-0 in their last six games and into a first-place tie with Manchester in the Atlantic Division.
Lane MacDermid and Trent Whitfield (1-1-2) tallied goals for the Bruins, with Whitfield scoring his first of the season after missing half the campaign while recovering from an Achilles injury. Providence’s season-high four-game winning streak came to an end.
HERSHEY 5, ROCHESTER 1
2011 AHL All-Star Andrew Gordon and reigning AHL MVP Keith Aucoin each lived up to their top billing with a goal and two assists apiece on Saturday as Hershey rolled to a 5-1 win over Rochester before a sellout crowd of 10,809 at the Giant Center.
For McNeill, it marked his first tally since he scored twice in the Bears championship-clinching Game 6 victory over Texas in last spring’s Calder Cup Finals.
Aucoin has put together a four-game scoring streak (2-5-7) for Hershey, and Gordon now shows four points (1-3-4) in his last two contests.
Bears goaltender Dany Sabourin stopped 25 of 26 shots between the pipes, helping the Bears improve to 9-2-1-1 in their past 13 outings. With the victory, Hershey moved into a third-place tie with Charlotte in the East Division, four points back of second-place Norfolk.
Defenseman Brian O’Hanley netted his first career AHL goal for the Americans’ lone strike of the night, as Rochester lost for the seventh time in its last eight games (1-6-1-0).
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 6, ALBANY 2
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton blitzed Albany for a 45-23 advantage in shots on goal and came away with a 6-2 win over the visiting Devils on Saturday before 8,192 fans at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
The second period belonged to Wilkes-Barre, though, as the Pens put three goals on the board while holding a 16-9 shots advantage. Geoff Walker, Keven Veilleux, and Nick Johnson all registered second-period markers for the Penguins, while defenseman Corey Potter and Sterling tacked on in the third.
Ryan Craig (0-3-3) and Eric Tangradi (0-2-2) each posted multiple assists for Wilkes-Barre, and goaltender John Curry made 19 saves after coming on in relief of starter Brad Thiessen after just 8:19 of play.
Devils rookie Adam Henrique also had a goal on the night, but Albany has now followed up its four-game winning streak from Jan. 8-15 with three straight losses.
The Penguins bounced back from a 4-2 loss to Adirondack in Philadelphia on Friday night and upped their league-leading record to 34-10-0-0. Wilkes-Barre concludes a three-game weekend by hosting Charlotte on Sunday afternoon.
HOUSTON 2, LAKE ERIE 1
Red-hot Houston took over a share of first place in the fluid West Division race on Saturday with a 2-1 road victory over Lake Erie in front of 11,821 fans at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Aeros extended their season-high points streak to seven games (6-0-0-1) and improved to 8-1-0-1 in their last 10 outings. At 26-18-1-3 (56 points) overall, Houston is now tied for the division’s top spot with Milwaukee, and that duo is just one point up on Peoria and San Antonio while holding a two-point edge on Oklahoma City.
Aeros goaltender Anton Khudobin stopped 25 of 26 shots to pick up the victory in his first AHL appearance since Dec. 29, and Houston has now allowed just six goals in its past four contests combined.
David Van der Gulik broke up Khudobin’s shutout bid with an early third-period goal, but the Monsters could not tie it up and saw their franchise-record-tying five-game winning streak go by the boards.
CONNCTICUT 5, SPRINGFIELD 1
Connecticut bounced back from a tough 7-3 home-ice loss to Hamilton a night earlier by coming through with a solid 5-1 road victory over rival Springfield on Saturday at the MassMutual Center.
The Whale increased their lead over fourth-place Worcester in the Atlantic Division to four points and remain six points back of front-runners Portland and Manchester. Only the top three teams in the Atlantic are guaranteed postseason bids this year.
Whale forward Evgeny Grachev kept the hot hand by tallying his first career hat trick. Grachev, who now boasts six goals in his last three games, has scored 12 goals (12-6-18) in 40 games overall this season after totaling 12 goals (12-16-28) while playing all 80 contests as a rookie in 2009-10.
Devin DiDiomete netted Connecticut’s other two scores on the night, while Tim Kennedy and Jeremy Williams each chipped in a pair of assists. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto added another assist and now shows seven helpers in eight games since joining Connecticut from the parent N.Y. Rangers.
Whale goaltender Chad Johnson, who was yanked on Friday after allowing three goals on six shots, recovered nicely by making 35 saves in this one.
Two-time Calder Cup champion Kyle Wilson, assigned to the Falcons by parent-club Columbus on Friday, scored the home team’s lone goal. Springfield dipped to 1-5-0-0 in its last six outings.
SYRACUSE 3, NORFOLK 2
John Mitchell scored his second goal of the night midway through the second period, and it stood up to be the game-winner as Syracuse snapped a four-game losing skid with a 3-2 triumph over visiting Norfolk at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Mitchell redirected a shot taken from the point by defenseman Nigel Williams at 11:56 of the second frame for the decisive goal, and neither side scored the rest of the way. Maxime Macenauer also picked up an assist on the game-winner, his second helper of the evening.
Stefan Chaput also scored for the Crunch, who had not registered more than two goals in any of their previous seven games since a 6-4 loss at Binghamton on Jan. 7.
Syracuse goaltender Jean-Philippe Levasseur stopped 41 of 43 shots in the winning effort, marking the fifth time this season in which he has made 40 saves or more.
TEXAS 2, MILWAUKEE 1 (SO)
Colton Sceviour and Raymond Sawada netted shootout goals to send Texas past visiting Milwaukee on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd of 6,863 fans at the Cedar Park Center.
The Stars improved to 4-2 in shootout this season, while the Admirals dropped to 5-6.
Stars goaltender Richard Bachman emerged with the victory after making 28 saves through the first 29 minutes.
CHICAGO 5, GRAND RAPIDS 3
Spencer Machacek notched a goal and assisted on two others as Chicago earned a 5-3 road victory over Grand Rapids on Saturday before 7,861 fans at Van Andel Arena.
Machacek has recorded five points (2-3-5) in just two games back with the Wolves following an NHL stint with parent-club Atlanta, and the 2011 AHL All-Star now shows 38 points (16-22-38) and a team-best plus-18 mark for the season.
Michael Davies (1-1-2), Andrew Kozek, and Andre Deveaux also scored for the Wolves; Jared Ross contributed a trio of assists, and goaltender Drew MacIntyre (7-4-1) made 35 saves for his third straight victory.
Chicago has now won three straight as a team on the heels of a five-game winless skid (0-3-0-2).
Mathieu Beaudoin and ex-IceHog Bracken Kearns added single goals for the Rampage, with Kearns’ tally going into an empty net. San Antonio goaltender Al Montoya turned aside 32 of 33 shots and collected his ninth victory of the season (9-8-0).
Bates, a third-year pro, has now put up six points (2-4-6) in six games since joining San Antonio from the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers.
The Rampage, who lost five in a row from Jan. 9-17, have bounced back with two straight wins to and are now tied with Peoria for third place in the West Division, just one point back of first-place Milwaukee and Houston.
Jeff Taffe scored a power play goal for the IceHogs, who are the only one of the West Division’s eight teams currently not within three points of first place.