LAKE ERIE 2, ROCHESTER 1 (OT)
Rookie Mark Olver kept the hot hand with the overtime game-winning goal and John Grahame made 20 saves in net as Lake Erie continued to climb up the North Division standings with a 2-1 victory over visiting Rochester on Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Monsters have now won five straight games, and Grahame – a former Calder Cup champion with the Providence Bruins in 1999 – has been between the pipes for all four victories. He improved to 10-7-2 overall in 20 appearances for the season.
Lake Erie, which is now on its longest winning streak since stringing together five consecutive victories from Feb. 20-28, 2009, jumped up into third place in the North Division at 21-19-3-4 (49 points) overall.
After a scoreless opening period, the Amerks grabbed a 1-0 advantage when Kenndal McArdle potted a shorthanded goal 2:04 into the second frame for his 10th goal of the season and Rochester’s fifth shorthanded marker as a team.
The Americans and rookie goaltender Jacob Markstrom made that slim one-goal advantage hold up until there was just 4:52 left in regulation, when David Van der Gulik finally put the Monsters on the board. T.J. Galiardi, assigned from parent-club Colorado on Tuesday, picked up a helper on the play.
Defenseman Cameron Gaunce earned the lone assist on Olver’s tally 2:34 into overtime, which was the rookie’s team-leading 17th goal of the season, but just his second game-winner.
Markstrom was the tough-luck loser for Rochester after stopping 39 of 41 shots in net. His club outshot Lake Erie 11-7 in the second period but faced disadvantages of 14-3 (first period) and 19-5 (third) in the other two regulation stanzas.
The Amerks are now winless in six straight games (0-5-1-0) since claiming a 4-3 win over the Monsters on Jan. 4.
OKLAHOMA CITY 4, MILWAUKEE 3 (SO)
Milan Kytnar scored twice in regulation and once more in the shootout to lead Oklahoma City to a 4-3 road win over Milwaukee on Thursday night at the Bradley Center.
With the victory, the Barons improved to 4-1-0-0 on their seven-game road trip, which continues on Friday night in Rockford before concluding on Sunday in Chicago.
Oklahoma City had battled back from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 in this one before Kytnar gave the Barons their first lead of the night with his second goal of the game at 18:40 of the third period. But just 40 seconds later, Admirals defenseman Roman Josi scored on the power play to force overtime.
After a scoreless extra session, Kytnar (second round) and Colin McDonald (fifth round) tallied shootout goals to give Oklahoma City the victory. Barons goaltender Martin Gerber made 18 saves through the first 65 minutes before stopping four of five in the shootout.
With the point game in the shootout loss, Milwaukee (24-12-2-5) moved into a tie with Peoria for first place in the West Division and entire Western Conference. Both squads have 55 points through 43 games played.