LAKE ERIE 4, HERSHEY 1
Lake Erie torched Hershey for three goals in a span of 40 seconds in the first period and cruised from there to a 4-1 win over the visiting Bears on Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Monsters collected their 30th victory of the season (30-23-3-5) and moved back into a share of first place in the North Division with Manitoba. Both clubs have 68 points, though the Moose still hold four games in hand.
Lake Erie set the tone early in this one, as defenseman Joel Chouinard scored on the power play 6:23 into the contest, and Matthew Ford followed 18 seconds later with his 17th goal of the season. Just 22 seconds after that, Greg Mauldin lit the lamp to give the Monsters a 3-0 lead and chase Bears starting goaltender Todd Ford from the game.
The Bears, who fell to 3-5-0-0 in their last eight games, return to the Giant Center to host Albany on Friday before heading right back on the road for a Saturday night visit to Bridgeport.
CHARLOTTE 5, CONNECTICUT 1
Rookie Zac Dalpe racked up a game-high three points (1-2-3) and Chris Terry kept the hot hand with a pair of goals as Charlotte earned a 5-1 win over visiting Connecticut at Time Warner Cable Arena on Thursday.
Dalpe’s effort sent him into sole possession of first place in the AHL’s rookie scoring race with 41 points (18-23-41) in just 41 games this season, three points up on Springfield’s Tomas Kubalik.
Terry, meanwhile, extended his goal-scoring streak to four games (5-1-6), and his 25 tallies in 60 games overall (25-23-48) are just one shy of team leader Jerome Samson.
Drayson Bowman picked up a goal and an assist for the Checkers; Matthew Pistilli rounded out the scoring with his third goal in four games (3-1-4); and two-time AHL All-Star defenseman Bryan Rodney contributed a pair of helpers.
Checkers goaltender Mike Murphy (18-9-3) stopped 26 of 27 shots in net and improved to 7-0-1 in his past eight appearances. As a team, Charlotte extended its points streak to four games (3-0-0-1) and closed back within three points of Hershey for second place in the East Division race.
After the Checkers grabbed a 5-0 lead, Evgeny Grachev put the Whale on the board with a power play goal at 13:54 of the third period. Connecticut will get a chance for revenge when the clubs meet again on Saturday night.