WORCESTER 6, PORTLAND 5 (OT)
Staring at a 5-1 deficit with less than half the game remaining, Worcester erupted for five unanswered goals – capped by Dwight Helminen’s strike 3:29 into overtime – to take a 6-5 win over Portland at the DCU Center on Sunday.
The Sharks won for the eighth time in their last nine games (8-1-0-0) and improved to 16-3-0-1 in their last 20 contests. They are 24-13-0-2 (50 points) for the season, five points back of first-place Manchester in the Atlantic Division with two games in hand.
This one didn’t start well for the Sharks, as they fell behind by scores of 3-0 and 5-1. Felix Schutz and Mark Mancari each posted a goal and an assist for Portland, which also received markers from Paul Byron and defensemen Mike Kostka and Joe DiPenta.
Brandon Mashinter began Worcester’s comeback by tallying his 10th goal of the season 16:28 into the second period, and 2010 AHL All-Star Logan Couture (1-2-3) followed on the power play just 36 seconds later.
Benn Ferriero, who racked up a game-high four points (1-3-4) for the Sharks, cut Worcester’s deficit to 5-4 at 3:20 of the third period. It looked like the Sharks’ rally might fall short, but 2010 AHL All-Star defenseman tied it up with 43 seconds to play in regulation.
Ferriero picked up an assist on that goal and also assisted on Helminen’s game-winner in overtime.
Steven Zalewski posted a goal and two assists for the Sharks, and Derek Joslin (0-2-2) also registered multiple assists in the victory. Worcester’s rally made a winner of goaltender Tyson Sexsmith, who stopped 26 of 31 shots sent his way.
The Pirates fell to 17-1-2-0 this season when taking a lead into the third period.
Mike began the day’s scoring with 1:38 to play in the opening period, and Mark capped it off midway through the third period.
Milwaukee rookie goaltender Chet Pickard (9-7-2) stopped 18 of 19 shots in net, helping his club win its fourth straight game.
Pickard appeared destined for his seconds shutout of the season before Rivermen forward Julian Talbot struck on the power play with 47 seconds to play in regulation. It marked Talbot’s 12th goal of the season, moving him into a tie with Barry Tallackson for the team lead.
HARTFORD 2, PROVIDENCE 1 (OT)
Paul Crowder scored 2:06 into overtime to give Hartford a 2-1 road win over Providence before 6,269 fans at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Sunday.
The Wolf Pack, who were concluding a four-game road swing and playing their third road tilt in as many days, took a 1-0 lead when Dale Weise converted a power play chance at 12:56 of the second period.
Weise has now recorded a goal in four straight games (5-0-5), five of his last six (6-1-7), and now has 15 tallies in 41 games for the season (15-14-29).
It remained a 1-0 Hartford until the latter stages of the third period, when Bruins forward Zach Hamill tied it with 3:40 to play in regulation.
Hartford goaltender Chad Johnson earned the victory with 30 saves on 31 shots.
CHICAGO 3, TORONTO 2 (OT)
Joey Crabb’s goal exactly midway through overtime lifted Chicago to a 3-2 win over visiting Toronto on Sunday before 6,968 fans at Allstate Arena.
Chicago goaltender Drew MacIntyre earned the victory with 18 saves on 20 shots between the pipes.
Stefano Giliati and Ben Simon scored for the Marlies, who are now winless in four straight outings (0-2-2-0) and just 2-6-2-0 in their last 10 games. Simon won the Calder Cup with Chicago in 2002 and reached the Finals with the Wolves again in 2005.
ROCHESTER 6, BINGHAMTON 1
Rochester broke out of its scoring slump with six goals and cruised to a 6-1 win over visiting Binghamton on Sunday at the Blue Cross Arena.
The Americans entered the game having lost five straight games and were outscored 23-9 during that span.
Jamie Johnson paced the Amerks’ offense with a hat trick, recording his 15th, 16th, and 17th goals of the season. Michal Repik registered a goal and an assist, while Chris Taylor and Evgeny Dadonov rounded out the scoring.
Jeff Taffe chipped in two assists for Rochester, Daniel Steiner and David Brine each had two helpers, and 2010 AHL All-Star goaltender Alexander Salak made 32 saves to pick up his first victory since Dec. 15.
Jason Bailey notched the Senators’ lone goal of the night, as Binghamton fell to 2-6-0-0 in its last eight contests.
ROCKFORD 2, HOUSTON 1 (OT)
Second-year defenseman Mike Brennan scored 2:12 into overtime to lift Rockford to a 2-1 road win over Houston before 5,014 fans at the Toyota Center on Sunday.
Rockford goaltender Corey Crawford, in his second game back from injury, stopped 26 of 27 shots to pick up his first win since Nov. 4. The IceHogs avenged a 5-3 loss at Houston on Friday night and will host the Aeros twice at the MetroCentre this week.
Jean-Michel Daoust notched his 14th goal of the season for Houston’s lone score of the night.