CHARLOTTE 5, HERSHEY 0
Two-time AHL All-Star defenseman Bryan Rodney registered a goal and two assists for a game-high three points as Charlotte blitzed Hershey for a 5-0 road victory on Sunday afternoon at the Giant Center, creeping closer to the Bears in the East Division race.
With their second straight victory, the Checkers improved to 32-20-2-4 (70 points) overall and closed to within four points of second-place Hershey (35-18-1-3, 74 points) in the East. Charlotte also increased its lead on fourth-place Binghamton and Norfolk to four points.
Nicolas Blanchard set the tone for this one by scoring 31 seconds after the opening face-off, with Rodney and Jon Matsumoto earning assists. Drayson Bowman and Chris Terry notched second-period goals for the Checkers, and Rodney and rookie Zac Dalpe followed in the third.
Charlotte finished 2-for-5 on the power play and finished with a 4-3-0-1 mark vs. Hershey this season, avenging a 1-0 loss in their last visit to the Giant Center on Jan. 29.
Mike Murphy (17-9-2) earned the first shutout by a Checkers goaltender all season with 20 saves between the pipes, as Charlotte shut down a Hershey offense which entered the day ranked second in the AHL (3.43 goals per game).
The Bears, who dipped to 2-4-0-0 in their last six contests, have now been outscored 12-1 in the last two Sundays. Hershey dropped a 7-1 decision at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a week ago.
BRIDGEPORT 4, MANCHESTER 2
Rookie forward David Ullstrom capped off a terrific individual week by notching his first career hat trick as Bridgeport finally halted its lengthy winless skid by taking a 4-2 decision from visiting Manchester on Sunday at the Webster Bank Arena.
Ullstrom has now racked up six goals in his last three games after going his previous 21 contests without scoring any goals at all. His last tally prior to this hot stretch came back on Dec. 18 vs. Worcester.
The 21-year-old from Sweden now shows 12 goals and 30 points in 50 games overall.
Bridgeport goaltender Mikko Koskinen turned aside 20 saves in net to help the Sound Tigers snap an 11-game winless skid (0-10-0-1) and collect their first victory since taking a 6-3 decision at Worcester on Jan. 22.
ALBANY 4, ADIRONDACK 3 (SO)
Albany rookie Adam Henrique connected in the shootout’s opening round, and the Devils went on to post a 4-3 win over visiting Adirondack on Sunday afternoon in front of 5,944 fans at the Times Union Center.
Henrique tallied the only shootout goal for either side, as Devils goaltender Dave Caruso denied all five of Adirondack’s tries after making 22 saves through the first 65 minutes.
Phantoms defenseman Danny Syvret notched a pair of power play goals to give his club a 2-0 lead by the game’s midpoint, but the Devils then struck for three scores in a 4:16 span and took a 3-2 advantage into the third period.
Phantoms forward Michael Ryan tallied his 17th of the campaign just 1:18 into the third frame to make it 3-3, and that’s where it stayed until the shootout.
GRAND RAPIDS 4, PEORIA 2
Jamie Tardif scored twice, rookie defenseman Brendan Smith potted the eventual game-winner, and first-year goaltender Jordan Pearce made 36 saves as Grand Rapids doubled up visiting Peoria by a 4-2 count at Van Andel Arena on Sunday.
Tardif recorded his 20th and 21st goals of the season and now shows six markers in his last seven contests. Smith’s game-winner came at 11:14 of the second period, and Chris Minard tacked on an insurance goal for the Griffins midway through the third.
Peoria blitzed Pearce for 17 shots in the third frame – holding a 17-5 advantage in shots on goal that period – but the rookie stopped them all en route to his ninth victory of the season (9-5-5).
WORCESTER 4, PROVIDENCE 3 (SO)
Worcester buried three of its six shootout attempts and ended a five-game road trip with a 4-3 win over Providence on Sunday afternoon at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Michael Swift, ex-Bruin T.J. Trevelyan, and Dan DaSilva nabbed shootout goals for the Sharks, who finished 2-2-1-0 on the trip and closed to within one point of idle Connecticut for the Atlantic Division’s third and final guaranteed playoff berth.
Making his second AHL appearance of the season, Sharks goaltender Jeff Jakaitis stopped made 29 saves through regulation and overtime before denying four of Providence’s six shootout tries.
TEXAS 2, MILWAUKEE 1
Texas scored once apiece in the first and second periods and then held on for a 2-1 road win over Milwaukee on Sunday at the Bradley Center.
Mathieu Tousignant put the Stars on top 7:23 into the contest, but Admirals defenseman Jonathon Blum tied it up on the power play at the 13:49 mark. Sean Backman restored Texas’s one-goal edge with a man-advantage marker of his own midway through the second frame, and neither team scored the rest of the way.
Texas claimed its third straight win and improved to 3-2-0-0 on its eight-game road trip, which continues on Wednesday in Peoria. The Stars are now just one point back of Milwaukee and Houston for first place in the West Division race.
The Admirals’ saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.