WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 3, BINGHAMTON 0
Rookie goaltender Brad Thiessen turned in a 28-save shutout to lead Wilkes-Barre/Scranton over visiting Binghamton before 6,438 fans at Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday.
The victory assured that the third-place Penguins will take on second-place Albany in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
It marked the fourth shutout of the season for Thiessen, who held strong despite the Senators holding a 17-3 shots advantage in the third period. Thiessen finished the regular season at 14-14-1 in 30 appearances.
Joe Vitale gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead with two minutes to play in the first period, and after a scoreless middle stanza, Dustin Jeffrey provided an insurance goal 1:30 into the third. Deryk Engelland tacked on an empty-net goal with 2:10 left in regulation.
The Senators, who missed the playoffs, saw their five-game points streak (4-0-1-0) come to an end.
HARTFORD 2, BRIDGEPORT 1
Ryan Garlock broke a 1-1 tie at 6:01 of regulation, and Hartford held on for a 2-1 road win over playoff-bound Bridgeport at the Arena at Harbor Yard on Sunday.
Hartford is not among the AHL’s playoff field for the first time in its 13-year history.
Wolf Pack goaltender Chad Johnson stopped 30 of 31 shots in the winning effort, improving to 24-18-2 on the campaign.
LOWELL 6, PROVIDENCE 3
Six different players tallied goals as Lowell clinched fourth place in the Atlantic Division with a 6-3 win over visiting Providence at Tsongas Center in its regular-season finale.
The Devils will take on the division-champion Worcester Sharks in the division semifinals beginning on Wednesday in Worcester.
Bruins defenseman Alain Goulet tallied two goals and an assist in the losing effort but still finished minus-4 on the afternoon. Jeff LoVecchio also scored for Providence, which is not in the playoffs for the first time since 1998.
PORTLAND 5, WORCESTER 2
Portland scored on three of its first five shots and never looked back en route to a 5-2 win over visiting Worcester at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The Pirates’ Philip Gogulla and the Sharks’ Danny Groulx scored just 19 seconds apart early in the first period, but Portland then got goals from Mark Mancari (12:01) and Felix Schutz (15:33) to take a 3-1 lead into intermission.
Portland will host Manchester in Game 1 of their Atlantic Division semifinal series on Friday.
Worcester plays host to Lowell on Wednesday night to begin the Atlantic’s other semifinal.
SPRINGFIELD 7, MANCHESTER 3
Springfield closed its season on a high note by collecting a 7-3 win over visiting Manchester on Sunday at the MassMutual Center.
The Falcons, who snapped an eight-game winless skid (0-5-2-1), reached the seven-goal plateau for the second time this season and first since a 7-5 victory over Lowell on Mar. 6.
Falcons forward Chris Minard led the way with a goal and four assists for a season-high five points, allowing him to finish his season on a six-game scoring streak (6-5-11).
Chad Wiseman tallied two goals and added two assists in the victory, and Jordan Eberle added two goals and a helper, giving the rookie 14 points (6-8-14) in just 10 games since joining Springfield from juniors.
ABBOTSFORD 5, TORONTO 2
The Toronto Marlies ended their 2009-10 season on Sunday afternoon with a 5-2 loss to the Abbotsford Heat at Ricoh Coliseum.
Toronto finished the season with a record of 33-35-6-6, with 22 of those wins coming on home ice, and will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Tim Brent finally got the Marlies on the board early in the third period, cutting the lead to 4-1. Brent, who played the night before in Montreal with the parent Maple Leafs, scored his 12th of the season. Phil Oreskovic fired a puck on goal which was tipped in by Brent.
The two teams exchanged goals late in the game.
Abbotsford, which finished third in the North Division, will take on Rochester in the division semifinals.
SAN ANTONIO 3, HOUSTON 2
San Antonio forward Gavin Morgan scored into Houston’s vacated net at 19:40 of the third period, breaking a 2-2 tie and lifting the Rampage to a 3-2 win over visiting San Antonio at the AT&T Center.
With the win, the Rampage ensured that they will finish sixth in the West Division standings, four points up on the last-place Aeros.
Kyle Turris and captain Jeff Hoggan also tallied goals for the Rampage, with Hoggan’s marker at 19:10 of the third period tying the game at 2-2. That set the stage for Houston goaltender Anton Khudobin’s departure to the bench, and Morgan’s game-winner.
GRAND RAPIDS 2, MILWAUKEE 1
Grand Rapids completed a strong final week of its season on Sunday by rallying for a 2-1 road win over Milwaukee at the Bradley Center.
The Griffins missed the playoffs for the second time in three years but closed with three victories in its final four games (3-1-0-0). Grand Rapids defeated Rochester and Lake Erie on home ice and then came to Milwaukee on the heels of a 6-4 setback in Chicago on Saturday.
Jeremy Williams was the hero for the Griffins, tying the game at 1-1 just 27 seconds into the third period and then tallying the game-winner on the power play only 51 seconds later.
Williams finished with a team-high 32 goals and 63 points in 77 games for Grand Rapids, which moved to 6-34-1-2 this season when trailing after two periods of play.
Grand Rapids found itself in a 1-0 hole after 40 minutes because Admirals forward Ryan Thang registered an unassisted goal at 3:53 of the second period.
Daniel Larsson stopped the other 27 shots sent his way, though, and concluded the season with a record of 23-24-2 in 53 appearances.
Milwaukee now turns its attention to the Calder Cup Playoffs, where the Admirals will oppose West Division champion Chicago in the opening round.