HERSHEY 5, ROCHESTER 4
Alexandre Giroux became the newest member of the AHL’s 500-point club as Hershey edged visiting Rochester by a 5-4 count on Saturday before 8,047 fans at the Giant Center.
The Bears earned their third straight win over the Amerks in an eight-day span and moved to 20-8-0-2 (42 points) on the season.
Giroux registered a goal and an assist in the victory, giving him 32 points (11-21-32) in just 20 AHL games for the Bears this season. The 28-year-old Quebec native now shows 269 goals and 232 assists for 501 points in 586 career AHL games for Grand Rapids, Binghamton, Hartford, Chicago, and Hershey.
The AHL’s scoring champion and MVP last season, Giroux becomes the 77th player in the 74-year history of the AHL to reach 500 career points and the second this season. Providence’s Trent Whitfield registered his 500th AHL point on Dec. 5.
Second-year pro Oskar Osala tallied two goals and an assist on Saturday for the Bears, who rode a four-goal second period to the victory. Defenseman Bryan Helmer netted his first goal of the season, and Mathieu Perreault rounded out the Bears’ offense.
Hershey swept a stretch of three straight tilts against longtime rival Rochester and improved to 5-1-0-0 in its last six contests overall.
Jamie Johnson scored twice for the Americans, while both Daniel Steiner and Evgeny Dadonov posted a goal and an assist in the loss. Chris Taylor added two assists, including his 1,000th point as a pro.
Rochester fell to 2-6-0-0 in its last eight contests.
PORTLAND 4, BRIDGEPORT 3
Rookie Tyler Ennis matched a season high with four points (2-2-4) and tallied the game-winning goal as Portland captured a 4-3 victory over visiting Bridgeport at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Ennis began the night’s scoring just 25 seconds into the contest and eventually broke a 3-3 tie with 3:27 left to play in regulation. Ennis, who now shows 28 points (11-17-28) in 33 games, also registered a four-point night when he tallied a hat trick and an assist vs. Hartford on Oct. 16.
Pirates goaltender J.P. Lamoureux earned the victory with 18 saves in net, as his club moved to 4-1-0-0 in its last five games.
HAMILTON 4, HARTFORD 1
Hamilton parlayed a three-goal second period into a 4-1 road win over Hartford at Saturday at the XL Center.
Hamilton goaltender Curtis Sanford (9-5-2) stopped 25 of 26 shots in net to pick up his first victory since Nov. 27. The Bulldogs improved to 7-1-1-0 in their last eight contests overall and moved into a tie with Rochester atop the North Division at 18-7-2-3 (41 points) for the season.
Brodie Dupont notched the Wolf Pack’s lone goal of the night, as Hartford wrapped up its five-game homestand at 2-2-0-1.
MANCHESTER 2, LOWELL 0
Manchester goaltender Jonathan Bernier pitched a 34-save shutout against the league’s second-ranked offense as the Monarchs collected a 2-0 win over visiting Lowell at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Bernier (15-8-2) earned his fourth shutout of the season and second in his last three appearances. Three of Bernier’s four whitewashes have followed a loss by the Monarchs, who dropped a 3-1 decision in Worcester on Friday.
Oscar Moller provided all the offense Bernier would need just 22 seconds into the second period, with Alec Martinez and Corey Elkins picked up the assists. That trio was assigned to Manchester by parent-club Los Angeles on Friday along with Scott Parse, who sealed the Monarchs’ victory with a late empty-net tally.
The Devils, who were shut out for the third time this season, saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.
PROVIDENCE 3, SPRINGFIELD 2 (OT)
Zach Hamill scored an unassisted goal 1:02 into overtime to lift Providence to a 3-2 road win over Springfield on Saturday at the MassMutual Center.
The Bruins appeared headed for a regulation loss before second-year pro Mikko Lehtonen netted his team-leading 11th goal of the season (11-15-26) with 2:29 left in regulation to tie the contest at 2-2.
Defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk also scored in regulation for the Bruins, with Hamill picking up an assist. Rearguard Julien Brouillette earned an assist and was a game-high plus-3 in the winning effort.
Providence goaltender Kevin Regan earned the victory with 26 saves in net, as the Bruins halted a three-game winning streak and improved to 3-0-0-0 against Springfield this season.
TORONTO 4, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 3
Troy Bodie’s hat trick included the eventual game-winning goal as Toronto captured a 4-3 road win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday before 6,032 fans at the Wachovia Arena.
Bodie scored once in each period for the Marlies, including the decisive tally 1:38 into the third stanza. He now shows eight goals on the season, including six since joining Toronto from the San Antonio Rampage.
Goaltender Adam Munro earned the victory with 33 saves for Toronto, which swept its two-game season series with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Marlies collected a 4-2 win over the Pens in Toronto on Nov. 1.
ADIRONDACK 4, WORCESTER 3
Adirondack climbed out of a 3-1 deficit to earn a 4-3 road win over Worcester on Saturday at the DCU Center.
The Phantoms struck first in the contest when defenseman Sean Curry scored his first goal just 2:56 after the opening face-off. But the Sharks countered on a goal by John McCarty at 6:53, and Brandon Mashinter gave the home team a 2-1 lead at 9:44.
Jonathan Kalinski began the Phantoms’ comeback just 1:45 after Vesce’s goal, making it a 3-2 game heading into the second intermission. Stefan Legein’s team-leading 14th goal of the season tied it 5:35 into the third stanza and then assisted on Jared Ross’s game-winner at 8:52.
Phantoms goaltender Johan Backlund earned the win with 36 saves, and coach Greg Gilbert came out victorious in his return to Worcester, where he began his head-coaching career with the AHL’s IceCats from 1996-2000.
BINGHAMTON 5, NORFOLK 4
Derek Smith’s sixth goal of the season at 17:36 of the third period broke a 4-4 tie and lifted Binghamton to a 5-4 road win over Norfolk on Saturday at the Scope.
The Senators earned a split of the teams’ two-game weekend set in Virginia and improved to 2-2-0-0 against the Admirals this season. Binghamton has already played four games in Norfolk and will still host the Admirals four times at the Broome County Arena.
Binghamton goaltender Chris Holt earned the victory with 25 saves, improving to 4-1-0 on the season.
ALBANY 5, SYRACUSE 2
Albany raced out to a 3-0 lead by the game’s mid-point and held on for a 5-2 road win over Syracuse on Saturday at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Rats forward Brad Herauf scored his first goal of the season 2:57 into the contest, and Jacob Micflikier made it a 2-0 game just over two minutes later. Stefan Chaput extended Albany’s lead to 3-0 with a power play strike at 6:26 of the middle frame.
Albany goaltender Mike Murphy emerged with the victory after making 37 saves on 39 shots in net, as the River Rats improved to 8-1-0-0 in their last nine contests.
GRAND RAPIDS 4, TEXAS 2
Grand Rapids struck for three goals in the third period to rally for a 4-2 road win over Texas on Saturday before 5,855 fans at the Cedar Park Center.
The Griffins initially grabbed a 1-0 lead when Jeremy Williams tallied his team-leading 14th goal of the season – and third in his last two games – at 8:23 of the opening period.
After a scoreless second period, the Stars took their slim 2-1 edge into the third period. Texas entered the night with a mark of 18-0-1-0 when leading after two frames.
Texas fell to 1-3-0-0 in its last four outings.
CHICAGO 4, MILWAUKEE 2
Anthony Stewart snapped a 2-2 tie at 4:17 of the third period, and Chicago held on for a 4-2 win over visiting Milwaukee before 7,230 fans at Allstate Arena on Saturday.
Johnny Pohl added a late empty-netter as the Wolves posted just their third win in their last 10 games (3-6-0-1).
Chicago goaltender Peter Mannino earned the win with 32 saves on 34 shots in net and collected his first victory since a 3-2 triumph over Grand Rapids on Nov. 25.
Wacey Rabbit and team leading scorer Cal O’Reilly notched goals for the Admirals, whose season-high five-game winning streak came to an end. Milwaukee lost for the first time since a 5-1 setback to Texas on Dec. 4.
SAN ANTONIO 2, ROCKFORD 1
San Antonio took a 2-0 lead into the third period and held off Rockford for a 2-1 road win over the IceHogs on Saturday at the MetroCentre.
Pogge finished with 34 saves for San Antonio, which has now won back-to-back games on the heels of a five-game winless skid (0-4-1-0).
LAKE ERIE 3, MANITOBA 2
Lake Erie scored three unanswered goals to erase a 2-0 first-period deficit and emerge with a 3-2 road win over Manitoba before 7,859 fans at the MTS Centre on Saturday.
Goaltender Tyler Weiman made 29 saves in net for the Monsters, who salvaged a split of their two-game weekend set in Winnipeg and improved to 2-2-0-0 against Manitoba this season.
Manitoba goaltender Cory Schneider stopped 39 of 42 shots in the losing effort.
PEORIA 4, ABBOTSFORD 3
Defenseman Bryce Lampman tallied two goals and an assist to propel Peoria past host Abbotsford by a 4-3 count on Saturday at the Entertainment & Sports Centre in the opener of a two-game set.
Julian Talbot and Aaron Palushaj also notched goals for the Rivermen, who collected their fifth consecutive victory and moved into sole possession of second place in the West Division with 37 points (17-10-1-2), seven points back of first-place Texas.
The teams will square off for a rematch in Abbotsford on Sunday evening.