MANCHESTER 5, SPRINGFIELD 3
Rookie Brandon Kozun notched the game-tying and game-winning goals as Atlantic Division-leading Manchester scored three times in the final 10 minutes of the third period to rally for a 5-3 win over visiting Springfield on Sunday at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Manchester trailed 3-2 after Falcons forward Kyle Wilson notched a power play goal at 4:35 of the third frame, his second goal of the afternoon.
But Kozun answered with a man-advantage marker of his own at 11:53 to make it 3-3, and then the rookie gave the Monarchs the lead for good at 15:41, again on the power play.
Moller finished with a goal and two assists for the Monarchs, and Dwight King and David Meckler rounded out Manchester’s offensive attack. Manchester rookie goaltender Martin Jones (19-6-1) emerged with the victory after making 26 saves on 29 shots between the pipes.
The Monarchs improved to 6-1-0-2 in their last nine games and maintained a three-point edge on Portland atop the Atlantic Division race.
Kyle Wilson scored twice and captain Ben Guite once for the Falcons, who dropped one game under .500 at 24-25-1-3 for the season. These two teams will oppose each other twice in Springfield before the month of February is out.
PEORIA 3, HOUSTON 1
Chris Porter tallied a shorthanded goal and assisted on the eventual game-winner as Peoria collected a 3-1 win over Houston on Sunday before 9,104 fans at the Xcel Energy Center, home of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.
Porter opened the game’s scoring at 9:03 of the first period, and his shorthanded marker came unassisted. He then helped out on Dave Spina’s even-strength goal 2:37 into the second frame to give Peoria a 2-0 advantage.
Cody Almond cut the Aeros’ deficit in half with a power play strike midway through the second, but Houston could get no closer and Nicholas Drazenovic’s late third-period power play goal sealed Peoria’s victory.
Goaltender Ben Bishop stopped 24 of 25 shots in net for the Rivermen, who avenged a 4-3 shootout loss to the Aeros on Friday night and closed to within one point of first-place Houston in the tight West Division race.
The Aeros saw their season-high six-game winning streak come to an end, losing for the first time since a 4-2 setback at Toronto on Jan. 23.
PORTLAND 6, BRIDGEPORT 3
Six different Portland skaters found the back of the net as Portland doubled up host Bridgeport by a 6-3 count on Sunday at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard.
Portland scored three times in the first period, once in the second, and twice more in the third frame en route to its third consecutive victory.
Brennan and Gragnani were each plus-4 for the Pirates, and goaltender Jhonas Enroth earned the win with 24 saves on 27 shots. Portland improved to 14-4-0-0 in its last 18 games and remained three points back of Manchester for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Jean Bourbeau registered a goal and an assist for Bridgeport, while Tomas Marcinko and Rob Hisey also found the back of the net. The Sound Tigers have now lost nine straight games and fell to 1-14-2-1 since the calendar turned to 2011.
CHARLOTTE 3, ALBANY 2
Defenseman Brett Bellemore snapped a 2-2 tie with just 3:38 left in regulation, and Charlotte held on for a 3-2 win over Albany on Sunday afternoon before 8,169 fans at the Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Checkers (30-18-2-4, 66 points) bounced back from Friday night’s 4-3 overtime loss to Albany and moved one point up on idle Norfolk for second place in the East Division race.
ROCHESTER 3, GRAND RAPIDS 1
Rochester struck for two goals in a 17-second span during the third period to turn a 1-1 tie into a 3-1 win over visiting Grand Rapids on Sunday at the Blue Cross Arena.
With the game deadlocked at a goal apiece, Chris Taylor snapped the tie 6:39 into the third frame off assists by Clay Wilson and Kenndal McArdle. Eric Selleck then provided insurance only 17 seconds later with his second goal of the campaign.
Amerks goaltender Tyler Plante made the rally stand up, finishing with a season-high 46 saves on 47 shots to pick up his second straight win in net.
Logan Pyett recorded the Griffins’ lone goal shorthanded midway through the second period, the league-leading 13th shorthanded marker that Rochester has surrendered in 2010-11.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 7, HERSHEY 1
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored three times before the game was even nine minutes old and romped to a 7-1 victory over visiting Hershey on Sunday before 6,939 fans at Mohegan Sun Arena.
The Penguins (40-15-0-0) became the first team to reach 40 wins this season and moved 10 points up on the Bears (33-16-1-3) for first place in the East Division.
Wilkes-Barre also improved to 5-1-0-0 against Hershey this season, as the arch-rivals met for the first time since the Bears collected a 1-0 shutout win in Pittsburgh on Dec. 30.
Seven different Penguins scored goals in this one. Zach Sill, David Marshall, Ben Street, and defensemen Robert Bortuzzo and Andrew Hutchinson each recorded a goal and an assist for Wilkes-Barre, while Ryan Schnell and rearguard Brian Strait also found the back of the net.
Bears forward Brian Willsie spoiled Thiessen’s shutout bid when he notched his 23rd goal of the season with less than seven minutes to play in regulation.
Hershey, which dropped a 4-3 decision to Binghamton on Saturday night, has now lost back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since a season-high three-game slide from Dec. 12-18.
CONNECTICUT 4, PROVIDENCE 1
In these two rivals’ final match-up before next Saturday’s Harvest-Properties.com Whale Bowl, the Connecticut Whale captured a 4-1 win over the struggling Providence Bruins on Sunday before 8,470 fans at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
The Whale took control of this one on a trio of second-period power play goals, with Dupont (3:15), Redden (15:50), and Williams (18:29) doing the honors.
Connecticut (26-22-2-5) earned its second straight victory and moved one point up on idle Worcester for the Atlantic Division’s final guaranteed playoff spot, although the Sharks still hold four games in hand.
Brian McGrattan netted the Bruins’ lone goal on a first-period penalty shot. Providence suffered its sixth straight loss and is now nine points behind the Whale for a playoff spot.
BINGHAMTON 4, ADIRONDACK 3 (OT)
Defenseman Andre Benoit scored 1:27 into overtime to lift the surging Binghamton Senators to a 4-3 road win over Adirondack on Sunday at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
At 28-20-3-3 (62 points), Binghamton closed to within three points of Norfolk for fourth place in the East Division race. The B-Sens hold a four-point edge on Worcester for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.
Ryan Keller notched a goal and an assist in regulation for Binghamton, which also received markers from David Dziurzynski and defenseman Derek Smith. Corey Locke chipped in an assist for his league-leading 68th point of the season (17-51-68).
Senators goaltender Robin Lehner, just back from an NHL stint with Ottawa, stopped 26 of 29 shots to pick up the win in net.
MILWAUKEE 5, ROCKFORD 2
Milwaukee struck for five goals in the opening period and coasted from there to a 5-2 win over visiting Rockford on Sunday before 14,109 fans at the Bradley Center.
Chris Mueller and Mark Van Guilder tallied a pair of goals apiece for the Admirals, and defenseman Jonathon Blum also found the back of the net. Gabriel Bourque and Matt Halischuk each posted two assists in the winning effort.
The Admirals took a 5-1 lead into the first intermission, but Rockford held a remarkable 20-3 shots advantage over the final 40 minutes in an attempt to get back in the game. Milwaukee goaltender Mark Dekanich held strong with 28 saves to pick up his 20th win of the season (20-8-5).
With the victory, Milwaukee (29-14-2-7, 67 points) moved within one point of Houston for first place in the West Division.