HOUSTON 5, GRAND RAPIDS 3
Defenseman Maxim Noreau scored twice and Jon DiSalvatore notched the eventual game-winner as Houston took a 5-3 win over visiting Grand Rapids on Sunday at the Toyota Center. The Aeros enter the Christmas break 4-1-0-0 in their last five games.
Grand Rapids’ Patrick Rissmiller and Houston’s Noreau traded first-period goals before the Aeros erupted for three tallies in the middle frame.
The Griffins attempted a third-period comeback, however, as defenseman Logan Pyett scored on the power play at 1:48 and Evan McGrath followed at even strength less than four minutes later. But Grand Rapids was unable to get the equalizer, and Noreau sealed Houston’s win with a late empty-netter.
DiSalvatore’s second-period marker held as the game-winner, and the veteran forward has now scored the decisive goal in three of the Aeros’ last four victories.
Grand Rapids finished 2-2-0-1 on its five-game road swing.
HAMILTON 5, ROCHESTER 4 (OT)
Mathieu Darche capped off a hat trick performance with the game-winning goal 50 seconds into overtime, lifting Hamilton to a 5-4 road win over Rochester at the Blue Cross Arena.
With their third road victory in as many days, the Bulldogs (19-7-2-3) moved one point ahead of the Americans (20-9-2-0) for first place in the North Division. Hamilton improved to 8-1-1-0 in its last 10 outings.
Darche, in his fifth game back after missing 12 contests to injury, also scored in the second and third periods on Sunday and added an assist for a four-point night. The former Calder Cup champion and AHL All-Star now shows 11 goals and 15 points in 19 games on the year.
Benoit Pouliot registered three points (1-2-3) for the Bulldogs, and J.T. Wyman rounded out the offense. Goaltender Cedrick Desjardins earned the win with 22 saves despite surrendering four goals for the first time since Hamilton’s last visit to Rochester on Nov. 10.
Chris Taylor (2-0-2) and Jamie Johnson (1-2-3) led the way offensively for the Amerks, and Daniel Steiner also scored. Rochester is winless in three straight games (0-2-1-0) and just 2-6-1-0 in its last nine contests.
HERSHEY 5, TORONTO 1
Hershey completed a perfect three-game weekend on Sunday with a 5-1 win over visiting Toronto at the Giant Center.
The Bears, who swept a home-and-home set from Rochester to begin the weekend, roll into the Christmas break on a four-game winning streak overall and hold a five-point lead on Albany atop the East Division.
Hershey scored the first five goals of the game before Toronto’s Daryl Boyce put his club on the board with a power play strike 13:41 into the third period.
BRIDGEPORT 2, SPRINGFIELD 0
A pair of first-period goals proved to be the difference as Bridgeport handed visiting Springfield a 2-0 loss on Sunday at the Arena at Harbor Yard.
Tyler Haskins provided all the offense the Sound Tigers would need at 4:05 of the first period, tallying his fourth goal of the season. Jeremy Reich and defenseman Jon Gleed earned assists on the play.
Bridgeport extended its lead to 2-0 on the power play with 1:10 left in the period, as rookie defenseman Victor Bartley netted his first career AHL goal.
The teams were both scoreless in the second and third frames. Sound Tigers goaltender Scott Munroe (10-7-1) earned his second shutout of the campaign with 22 saves in net, helping Bridgeport improve to 5-1-1-0 in its last seven contests.
The Falcons suffered their second shutout in a three-day span and are now winless in 13 straight games (0-10-2-0).
MILWAUKEE 4, SAN ANTONIO 3
Mike Santorelli scored twice to pull Milwaukee out of a 3-2 deficit and give the Admirals a 4-3 win over visiting San Antonio on Sunday at the Bradley Center.
Santorelli pulled Milwaukee even at 3-3 with 2:26 left to play in the second period, and he followed that up with the game-wining goal 2:27 into the third frame. Santorelli now shows eight goals and 16 points in just 12 AHL games for the Admirals this season.
Wacey Rabbit and Andreas Thuresson also netted goals in the Milwaukee victory, and Ryan Maki chipped in two assists, including one on the game-winner. Admirals goaltender Mark Dekanich stopped 24 of 27 shots between the pipes.
The Admirals improved to 6-1-0-0 in their last seven games and moved to 16-9-1-4 (37 points) on the season.
LOWELL 2, PROVIDENCE 1
Defenseman Rob Davison’s power play goal at 8:10 of the third period lifted Lowell to a 2-1 road win over Providence on Sunday at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Ben Walter also scored for the Devils, who improved to 4-1-0-0 in their last five games and rebounded from a 3-0 loss at Providence in the teams’ last meeting on Dec. 11.
Lowell goaltender Jeff Frazee (6-6-0) stopped 30 of 31 shots in net to pick up his first victory since Dec. 2.
Second-year pro Levi Nelson scored the Bruins’ lone goal in just his second game of the season after being out of the lineup due to injury.
ABBOTSFORD 3, PEORIA 1
Jamie Lundmark tallied the game-winning goal and added an assist as Abbotsford took a 3-1 win over Peoria on Sunday at the Entertainment & Sports Centre.
The Heat salvaged a split of their two-game weekend set with Peoria and avoided what would have been their first three-game winless skid overall since Nov. 18-21.
Veteran Derek Armstrong notched the Rivermen’s lone goal of the night, as Peoria saw its five-game winning streak come to an end.