WORCESTER 6, HERSHEY 2
Worcester raced out to a 5-0 lead after 40 minutes and cruised to 6-2 win over Hershey at the DCU Center on Sunday in a battle of the Eastern Conference’s two top teams. Andrew Desjardins racked up a game-high four points (2-2-4) for the Sharks, who reached the six-goal plateau for a third consecutive game.
The Sharks have won four straight overall and increased their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points over second-place Portland.
At 2:47 of the second frame, Worcester defenseman Mike Moore came out of the penalty box and was hauled down on a breakaway attempt. He received a penalty shot opportunity and beat Hershey goaltender Michal Neuvirth to make it a 3-0 game.
Rookie Brandon Mashinter and Desjardins added second-period goals for the Sharks, and Desjardins registered a sixth tally midway through the third.
The Bears avoided a shutout with 3:35 to play when rookie Michael Dubuc lit the lamp, and Chris Bourque notched his 20th of the season less than two minutes later. Kyle Wilson assisted on both markers.
Dan DaSilva chipped in three assists for the Sharks. DaSilva, McCarthy, Moore, and Desjardins were all plus-4 for the afternoon, while Joslin finished plus-3.
Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock made 31 saves on 33 shots to pick up his league-leading 35th win of the season (35-15-2).
The teams will conclude their two-game season series on Mar. 26 in Hershey.
SPRINGFIELD 5, PORTLAND 4 (SO)
Springfield climbed out of a 4-2 deficit in the third period and went on to post a 5-4 shootout win over host Portland at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Falcons forward Chad Wiseman scored in the shootout’s second round, and it proved to be the only goal for either side. Goaltender Jean-Philippe Levasseur stopped all five of Portland’s attempts after making 36 saves through regulation and overtime.
Springfield entered the third period down by a pair of goals, but Viacheslav Trukhno brought his club within 4-3 at the 7:58 mark. Rob Hisey assisted on that goal and then tallied his 10th of the season – and second of the game – unassisted at 12:09 to tie it up.
Chris Armstrong also scored for the Falcons, who were playing the first of six straight on the road. Springfield improved to 5-2-0-0 in its last seven contests overall.
ADIRONDACK 3, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 2 (OT)
Ex-Penguin Joey Mormina notched a power play goal 3:37 into overtime to lift Adirondack to a 3-2 win over visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
After a scoreless first period, the teams traded power play strikes in the middle frame. Mika Pyorala put the Phantoms on top just 56 seconds in, but Mark Letestu’s 20th goal of the season tied it at 8:28.
Adirondack goaltender Johan Backlund turned aside 35 of 36 shots in the winning effort, improving to 21-17-2 on the campaign.
The Phantoms collected at least a point in all three games this weekend (2-0-1-0) and moved within eight points of idle Bridgeport for the East Division’s final playoff spot.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton remained two points back of Bridgeport for that final entry.
ALBANY 3, SYRACUSE 1
Albany scored once in each period en route to a 3-1 win over visiting Syracuse on Sunday afternoon at the Times Union Center.
Cedric McNicoll, rookie defenseman Jamie McBain, and Matthew Pistilli netted goals for the River Rats, who won their third game in as many days this weekend and extended their points streak to seven contests (5-0-0-2).
Albany now sits eight points up on idle Norfolk for second place in the East Division race.
River Rats goaltender Mike Morrison earned the win between the pipes, stopping 27 of 28 shots sent his way.
Grant Clitsome had the lone goal for the Crunch, who have now lost three straight games on the heels of a three-game winning streak.
GRAND RAPIDS 3, ROCHESTER 2
Grand Rapids defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen broke a 2-2 tie with 9:08 left in regulation, and the Griffins held on for a 3-2 road win over Rochester at the Blue Cross Arena on Sunday.
Abdelkader finished with a goal and an assist on the afternoon, while Patrick Rissmiller began the scoring with a shorthanded marker in the opening period.
Goaltender Daniel Larsson stopped 28 of 30 shots in net for the Griffins, who extended their points streak to five games (3-0-1-1).
SAN ANTONIO 5, PEORIA 2
MacGregor Sharp tallied a pair of goals, including the game-winner, as San Antonio took a 5-2 win over visiting Peoria at the AT&T Center on Sunday.
Sharp registered both of his goals in the second period, and 2010 AHL All-Star defenseman Sean Sullivan notched a shorthanded goal in the second to help the Rampage turn a 1-0 deficit after one period into a 3-1 lead after two.
Shaun Heskha and David Spina added third-period markers, with Spina’s going into an empty net.
Goaltender Josh Tordjman earned the victory with 38 saves in net for the Rampage, who captured their fourth straight win over the Rivermen after beginning the season 0-2-0-1 against Peoria.
San Antonio is now just three points back of Milwaukee for the West Division’s fourth and final playoff spot, though the Admirals have played three fewer games.
BINGHAMTON 4, PROVIDENCE 3
Josh Hennessy capped off a three-point afternoon (1-2-3) by scoring the game-winning goal on breaking a 3-3 tie with 3:46 left in the third period, sending Binghamton to a 4-3 road win over Providence at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Hennessy’s game-winner came on the power play and was assisted by defenseman Craig Schira.
Binghamton entered the third period trailing by a 3-2 count, but 2010 AHL All-Star Ryan Keller tied it 8:19 into the frame with his team-leading 29th goal of the season.
Binghamton goaltender Chris Holt emerged with the victory after making 21 saves in net, helping the Senators improve to 6-1-1-0 in their last eight contests.
The Bruins are now without a win in their last six outings (0-5-0-1) and remain seven points back of Bridgeport for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.
IceHogs goaltender Corey Crawford turned aside all four of Houston’s attempts, denying Jon DiSalvatore, Colton Gillies, Chad Rau, and Duncan Milroy. Crawford, who made 25 saves through the first 65 minutes, secured his 20th victory of the season (20-14-2).
After a scoreless first period, Petr Kalus put the Aeros on top with his 12th goal of the season 2:50 into the second frame.
Rockford, which was opening a seven-game homestand, improved to 40-25-3-3 for the season and pulled within four points of first-place Chicago in the West Division.
The Aeros dropped their second shootout in as many days after falling to Chicago on Saturday, and Houston is now 1-5-0-3 in its last 11 contests.