BRIDGEPORT 6, PHILADELPHIA 5 (OT)
Jeff Tambellini completed a hat trick and a five-point performance (3-2-5) by scoring at 3:29 of overtime to give Bridgeport a 6-5 win over Philadelphia on Friday at the Arena at Harbor Yard.
With the standings point earned in the overtime defeat, the Phantoms clinched their first Calder Cup Playoffs berth since winning the championship in 2005.
Tambellini, a two-time AHL All-Star, also scored in the first and third periods. His third-period marker put the Sound Tigers on top 5-4, but Ryan Potulny scored for Philadelphia with 1:58 left in regulation to send the game to overtime.
Tambellini now has a point in all five games (5-5-10) for Bridgeport since returning from a stint with the parent New York Islanders.
The victory allowed the Sound Tigers to pull within three points of Hershey for the East Division’s final playoff spot.
Stefan Ruzicka and Jared Ross led the Phantoms with a goal and two assists apiece. Philadelphia, which missed the playoffs the last two seasons, is now one point back of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the East Division lead.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 6, SPRINGFIELD 1
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton clinched its sixth consecutive playoff berth and dealt a blow to Springfield’s postseason hopes with a 6-1 win over the visiting Falcons before 8,149 fans at the Wachovia Arena on Friday.
A total of 13 players on the Penguins’ roster posted at least one point on the night, and All-Rookie goaltender John Curry made 20 saves for his 23rd victory of the season (23-9-3).
The victory also allowed Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to re-take sole possession of first place in the East Division, one point up on Philadelphia.
Grant Potulny lit the lamp for Springfield, which fell to 2-5-0-0 in its last seven contests.
BINGHAMTON 3, HERSHEY 2 (SO)
Binghamton kept its playoff hopes alive with a 3-2 shootout win over visiting Hershey at the Broome County Arena.
The teams traded goals in both the second and third periods. Kyle Wilson and Chris Bourque each had a goal and a helper for the Bears, while Scott May and Matt Kinch scored for Binghamton. Nikulin assisted on both tallies.
The shootout victory moved fifth-place Binghamton within two points of fourth-pace Hershey for the East Division’s final playoff berth. The Bears hold one game in hand, and the teams will square off on the season’s last day, Apr. 13.
ALBANY 5, NORFOLK 2
Five different skaters netted a goal as Albany moved closer to a playoff spot with a 5-2 road win over Norfolk at the Scope.
Brandon Segal gave the Admirals a 1-0 lead on the power play at 7:24 of the first period, but Albany responded with five straight goals.
In order, Nicolas Blanchard, Ben Cottreau, Brandon Sutter, Joe Jensen, and Jerome Samson lit the lamp for the River Rats. Sutter, selected 11th overall by Carolina in the 2007 draft, recorded his first professional goal.
Norfolk’s Bracken Kearns concluded the game’s scoring at 4:17 of the third period.
River Rats goaltender Michael Leighton, a member of the AHL’s All-Rookie Team with Norfolk in 2002, earned the victory with 34 saves on 36 shots and lowered his league-leading goals-against average to 2.03.
MANCHESTER 7, LOWELL 3
Manchester’s top-ranked power play went 4-for-4 as the Monarchs took a 7-3 road win over Lowell at the Tsongas Arena.
All-Rookie forwards Brian Boyle (2-1-3) and Teddy Purcell (1-2-3) each potted three points to lead the Monarchs. Lauri Tukonen had a goal and an assist, and Troy Milam, Trevor Lewis, and Brady Murray also found the back of the net.
Manchester captured its seventh win in eight games (7-1-0-0) and opened up a seven-point lead on Springfield for the Atlantic Division’s fourth and final playoff spot.
Tyler Burton led the Devils by posting a goal and an assist in his professional debut.
PROVIDENCE 4, HARTFORD 3 (SO)
Providence center Zach Hamill netted the decisive shootout goal in his professional debut to give the Bruins a 4-3 win over Providence in front of 9,535 fans at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Hamill, selected by Boston seventh overall in the 2007 draft, also picked up an assist in regulation for his first pro point.
Providence captain Nate Thompson lit the lamp just eight seconds after the opening face-off, and Wolf Pack rookie Artem Anisimov scored in the second period, making it a 1-1 tilt entering the final 20 minutes.
The Bruins’ Byron Bitz made it 2-1 at 2:05 of the third stanza, only to be answered by Pack captain Andrew Hutchinson at 4:55. Matt Lashoff regained the lead for Providence at 12:38, but Hartford’s Mike Ouellette responded again just 21 seconds later.
SAN ANTONIO 4, MILWAUKEE 2
A trio of second-period goals sent San Antonio on its way to a 4-2 win over visiting Milwaukee in front of 6,563 fans at the AT&T Center.
David Spina scored twice and added an assist to lead the Rampage. Cam Paddock and Jon DiSalvatore rounded out the offense, and 2008 AHL All-Star Joey Tenute contributed a pair of assists in the victory.
San Antonio goaltender Al Montoya made 32 saves, helping the Rampage to their first four-game winning streak since early November. Montoya has been between the pipes for all four victories.
ROCKFORD 3, QUAD CITY 0
Rockford used two power play conversions and a 29-save shutout by goaltender Corey Crawford to post a 3-0 road win over Quad City at the I Wireless Center.
Bryan Bickell added an unassisted empty-net goal in the closing minute to seal the victory.
Crawford picked up his third shutout of the season and upped his record to 26-17-5.
HOUSTON 4, GRAND RAPIDS 1
Ryan Hamilton netted a pair of goals and Joel Ward posted a game-high three points (1-2-3) as Houston took a 4-1 win over Grand Rapids before a sellout crowd of 10,834 at Van Andel Arena.
Cal Clutterbuck also scored for the Aeros, his goal coming on the power play late in the third period.
Houston goaltender Barry Brust picked up the victory with 29 saves on 30 shots, helping the Aeros move to 15-4-0-1 in their last 20 contests.
Houston is now tied with in-state rival San Antonio for third place in the West Division, two points back of second-place Rockford and two up on fifth-place Milwaukee.
Mattias Ritola lit the lamp for the Griffins, who saw their winless skid extend to five games (0-4-0-1).
SYRACUSE 4, ROCHESTER 3
Nate DiCasmirro’s power play goal with 51.3 seconds left in regulation sent red-hot Syracuse to a 4-3 win over in-state rival Rochester before 6,092 fans at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
The Crunch matched an AHL season high with their 10th straight victory and extended their franchise-record points streak to 18 games (15-0-0-3). Syracuse is 19-1-0-5 since Feb. 1.
Syracuse goaltender Dan LaCosta picked up the win with 29 saves on 32 shots. The teams will square off again on Sunday in Rochester.
MANITOBA 2, TORONTO 1
Mike Brown’s shorthanded goal with 1:40 left in regulation propelled Manitoba to a 2-1 win over visiting Toronto before 8,880 fans at the MTS Centre.
The win was Manitoba’s 12th in its last 15 games (12-2-0-1) and kept the Moose four points ahead of Syracuse for second place in the North Division.
Moose goaltender Cory Schneider stopped 29 of 30 shots and improved his season record to 19-11-2.
The Marlies, who will face the Moose for a rematch on Saturday, saw their four-game winning streak and 10-game points streak (9-0-0-1) both come to an end.
WORCESTER 2, PORTLAND 1 (OT)
Worcester rallied late and took a 2-1 overtime win over Portland at the DCU Center.
With the Sharks trailing 1-0 late in the third period, ex-Pirate Graham Mink tallied the equalizer for Worcester at the 14:28 mark.
After a scoreless first period, Michal Birner gave the Pirates a 1-0 advantage at 6:19 of the second.
LAKE ERIE 5, HAMILTON 4 (SO)
Rookie T.J. Hensick netted two goals and an assist in regulation and also scored in the shootout to give Lake Erie a 5-4 win over visiting Hamilton in front of 12,291 fans at the Quicken Loans Arena.
Brad Richardson also notched a regulation and shootout marker for the Monsters, and goaltender Jason Bacashihua stopped four of five Hamilton tries after making 45 saves during regulation and overtime.
IOWA 5, PEORIA 3
Iowa gave Peoria’s hopes a hit with a 5-3 win over the visiting Rivermen before 6,427 fans at the Wells Fargo Arena.
Neal also scored in the third period to give the rookie his second consecutive two-goal game. He also has a point in four straight (4-2-6).
Martin Kariya had a goal and two helpers for the Rivermen, and rookie Julian Talbot posted a goal and an assist. Peoria fell seven points back of Milwaukee for the West Division’s final playoff spot with six games to play.