SYRACUSE 5, CONNECTICUT 0
Brett Festerling scored twice and Dan Sexton had two goals and an assist for a game-high three points as Syracuse cooled off Connecticut with a 5-0 win over the Whale on Sunday at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Festerling had with just one goal in 28 games this season prior to his two-spot and finished with a plus-4 rating for the Crunch, who took control of the game by scoring twice in the second period and three more times in the third.
Matt Beleskey registered a goal and an assist in the victory, and rookie defenseman Mat Clark chipped in a pair of helpers. Syracuse goaltender Jean-Philippe Levasseur turned aside 32 shots for his second shutout of the season.
Coupled with Saturday’s 3-1 triumph over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Crunch (11-15-1-3) have now won back-to-back games for the first time since a season-high three-game run from Oct. 16-23, which was capped by a 2-1 victory over the Whale in Hartford.
Connecticut saw both its six-game winning streak and 10-game points streak (8-0-0-2) come to an end. It marked the Whale’s first regulation loss since a 4-3 setback in Hershey on Nov. 21.
HERSHEY 6, CHARLOTTE 3
In his third game back following a six-week injury absence, reigning AHL MVP Keith Aucoin scored twice and added an assist to help Hershey double up visiting Charlotte by a 6-3 count on Sunday before 7,937 fans at the Giant Center.
Aucoin beat Checkers goaltender Mike Murphy at 19:38 of the second period for the 200th goal of his impressive AHL career and then added another tally midway through the third period. He later earned an assist on Boyd Kane’s power play strike in the game’s closing minute.
The Bears halted a season-high three-game losing skid in which they had combined to score five goals. The six-spot marked Hershey’s greatest output since an 8-3 win over Binghamton on Nov. 14.
SAN ANTONIO 5, HAMILTON 4
In a battle of the Western Conference’s two division leaders, San Antonio rallied back from a 2-0 deficit and edged Hamilton by a 5-4 final at the AT&T Center.
With the win, the Rampage maintained sole possession of first place in the West Division, two points up on Peoria.
Kearns, Goncharov, and Picard all scored in a 4:49 span midway through the second period to turn the Rampage’s 2-0 hole into a 3-2 advantage, and San Antonio never relinquished the lead the rest of the way.
Hamilton lost for just the second time in its last six games (4-2-0-0) and remains four points up on Abbotsford atop the North Division standings.
BRIDGEPORT 3, PORTLAND 1
Bridgeport scored twice in the third period to break a 1-1 deadlock and come away with a 3-1 win over visiting Portland on Sunday at the Arena at Harbor Yard.
Michael Haley initially gave Bridgeport a 1-0 lead on the power play 9:26 into the game, but the Pirates responded just 25 seconds later when Luke Adam recorded his 12th goal of the season but first in three games back following an NHL stint with Buffalo.
Rookie goaltender Kevin Poulin made 26 saves in net for the Sound Tigers, who improved to 8-2-1-2 in their last 13 contests and are now just three points back of Portland for second place in the Atlantic Division.
Portland finished the weekend 0-2-1-0 and totaled five goals in its three losses.
MANCHESTER 2, WORCESTER 1
In a game where all the scoring occurred in the third period, Manchester emerged with a 2-1 victory over visiting Worcester at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sunday.
James Marcou brought Worcester within 2-1 at the 16:45 mark, but the Sharks could get no closer and lost their third game in as many days this weekend (0-2-1-0).
With its third straight win and ninth in its last 13 games, Manchester (20-11-1-1) opened up a five-point lead on Portland atop the Atlantic Division standings.
PROVIDENCE 3, SPRINGFIELD 1
Maxime Sauve tallied a pair of goals as Providence rallied from an early 1-0 deficit to beat Springfield by a 3-1 count on Sunday at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Sauve’s goal early in the second period made it a 1-1 game, and the rookie then scored the eventual game-winner 1:14 into the third frame. Kirk MacDonald added an insurance marker with 2:22 left in regulation.
Goaltender Nolan Schaefer made 27 saves and surrendered just one goal for the second time in less than 24 hours, with a bus ride from Hershey back to Providence in between.
The Bruins won on home ice for just the fourth time in 17 tries this season (4-11-1-1).
Rookie Chris D’Alvise notched a first-period goal for the Falcons, whose brief two-game winning streak came to an end.
PEORIA 4, LAKE ERIE 0
T.J. Hensick recorded a goal and an assist in the opening period to send surging Peoria on its way to a 4-0 win over visiting Lake Erie at Carver Arena on Sunday.
Derek Nesbitt tallied his third game-winning goal in as many days for the Rivermen, who earned their fourth consecutive victory and extended their points streak to 13 games (11-0-2-0) since a 3-1 loss to San Antonio on Nov. 17.
At 20-7-2-1 overall, Peoria remains two points back of the Rampage (22-8-1-0) for first place in the West Division race.
Ryan Reaves and Anthony Nigro each added goals in the victory, while Graham Mink and defenseman Mark Cundari contributed two assists apiece. Rivermen goaltender Ben Bishop only had to make 14 saves to record his second shutout of the season and Peoria’s sixth as a team.
The Monsters finished 0-2-1-0 on the weekend and totaled one goal in the three setbacks.
BINGHAMTON 3, ROCHESTER 2
Binghamton built a three-goal lead in the third period and then held on for a 3-2 road win over Rochester on Sunday at the Blue Cross Arena.
Rookie Colin Greening (1:08), Kaspars Daugavins (8:33), and defenseman David Hale (19:42) netted opening-period goals for the Senators, with all three coming at even strength. Hale’s goal marked his first in the AHL this season.
The Amerks clawed back into the game on a second-period marker by Scott Timmins and one early in the third frame from Triston Grant, but they were unable to get the equalizer and saw their brief winning streak end at two games.
Binghamton goaltender Robin Lehner stopped 31 of 33 shots in net, helping his club improve to 4-1-0-1 in its last six games. The Senators remained three points back of Hershey for third place in the East Division race.