MANITOBA 3, LAKE ERIE 2 (OT)
Rick Rypien notched his first goal in more than a year at 8:03 of overtime, lifting Manitoba to a 3-2 win over Lake Erie on Sunday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena to tie their first-round series at a game apiece.
The North Division semifinal will now shift to the MTS Centre in Winnipeg for the next three tilts, beginning with Game 3 on Tuesday night.
A veteran of 119 NHL games with Vancouver, Rypien missed most of the 2010-11 season on leave for personal reasons. His last goal was in April of 2010 with the Canucks, and he had not scored in the AHL postseason since Game 5 of the North Division Finals against Grand Rapids on May 13, 2006. Rypien’s game-winner on Sunday was assisted by Aaron Volpatti.
Volpatti staked the Moose to a 1-0 lead midway through the opening period, but Monsters forward David Van der Gulik knotted it up on the power play in the period’s closing minute.
It remained a 1-1 contest through the second frame and half of the third before Lake Erie defenseman Julien Brouillette buried his first AHL postseason goal at 11:28 to give the Monsters a 2-1 lead. Lake Erie appeared headed to a regulation victory and a 2-0 series lead, but Manitoba’s Marco Rosa forced overtime at 19:10 with his third goal of the playoffs.
Rypien’s clinching tally allowed Manitoba to snap a nine-game skid in Calder Cup Playoff games which were decided in overtime, a stretch which dates back to the 2008 postseason.
Moose goaltender Tyler Weiman, who was an AHL All-Star with Lake Erie in 2009, stopped 34 of 36 shots in net to pick up the victory.
Attendance on Sunday in Cleveland was 8,822.
MANCHESTER 5, BINGHAMTON 4
Manchester rallied from two goals down in the third period before Bud Holloway scored only 1:43 into overtime, giving the Monarchs a 5-4 victory at Binghamton and a 2-1 series lead in their Atlantic Division semifinal.
Game 4 is set for Tuesday night at the Broome County Arena in Binghamton.
Playing their first home playoff game since 2005, the Senators started fast and furious with three goals in the first period. Defenseman Andre Benoit kicked off the flurry 3:28 into the game, and forwards Roman Wick and Colin Greening followed up with markers in the second half of the frame. Zack Smith helped out on both tallies as part of his three-assist effort.
Holloway brought the Monarchs back into the game with a pair of second-period markers, and rookie Brayden Schenn assisted on the first one for his first professional postseason point.
The 19-year-old Schenn, drafted fifth overall by Los Angeles in 2009, joined Manchester after completing his junior season with the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades.
Rookie forward Bobby Butler put the Senators on top 4-2 with a power play goal 7:14 into the third period, but Manchester defenseman Jake Muzzin quickly answered with a man-advantage marker of his own at 9:15. Dwight King then tied it up at the 11:50 mark, with Holloway picking up the lone assist.
Holloway’s overtime tally completed a hat trick and four-point performance for the 23-year-old, and Corey Elkins earned the lone helper. It was the third career playoff OT goal for Holloway, who tied an AHL record last season with six game-winning goals in the 2010 postseason.
HERSHEY 4, CHARLOTTE 2
Four different skaters found the back of the net as Hershey doubled up Charlotte by a 4-2 count on Sunday in front of 9,113 fans at the Giant Center, evening the teams’ East Division semifinal at a game apiece.
Veteran forward Brian Willsie tallied the eventual game-winning goal for the Bears, while Andrew Kozek and defensemen Patrick McNeill and Sheldon Souray also found the back of the net. Souray’s marker came shorthanded and provided insurance late in the second period.
2011 AHL All-Rookie forward Zac Dalpe netted both goals for the Checkers, and the 21-year-old has now racked up 11 points (6-5-11) in just six career postseason games against Hershey. He put up 3-3-6 in four contests last year when Carolina’s AHL affiliate played as the Albany River Rats.
The best-of-seven series now shifts to Time Warner Cable Arena for the next three contests. Game 3 is slated for Tuesday night.
CONNECTICUT 3, PORTLAND 1
Connecticut scored once in each period and got back in its Atlantic Division semifinal with a 3-1 win over visiting Portland on Sunday at the XL Center.
The Whale now trail the series by a 2-1 margin and will host Game 4 on Tuesday night in Hartford.
Derek Couture and John Mitchell registered a goal and an assist apiece for the Whale, and Tommy Grant rounded out the offense with his first professional goal. Defenseman Wade Redden chipped in two assists in the winning effort.
Connecticut goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris turned aside 29 of 30 shots between the pipes to earn his first career AHL playoff win.
The Whale victory snapped a six-game postseason losing skid since the club broke out to a 2-0 series lead over Worcester in a 2009 first-round series. Connecticut had also lost six straight playoff games to the Pirates, dating back to Game 2 of their opening-round set in 2008.
Rookie forward Mark Voakes, who posted 2-1-3 in two ECHL playoff games with Greenville this spring, tallied his first career AHL postseason goal to provide the Pirates’ only offense.