CHARLOTTE 7, NORFOLK 6
Charlotte coughed up leads of 2-0, 3-2, 4-3, and 6-4 in regulation but finally emerged victorious when 2011 AHL All-Star Jerome Samson scored unassisted at 1:11 of overtime, lifting the Checkers to a wild 7-6 win over visiting Norfolk at Time Warner Cable Arena on Thursday.
Samson, who had an assist earlier in the night, tallied his team-leading 24th goal of the season and allowed Charlotte to become the first home team to win in the nine-game season series between the Checkers and Admirals.
Charlotte is now 6-2-0-1 overall against Norfolk and moved into a tie with the struggling Admirals for third place in the East Division race.
Checkers forward Jon Matsumoto scored twice and added an assist for a three-point night, and Charlotte also got goals from Chris Terry (1-1-2), Zac Dalpe, Riley Nash, and Jacob Micflikier, who bagged his 20th of the season after entering 2010-11 having totaled 26 AHL goals in 115 career games.
Dalpe moved into sole possession of the AHL’s rookie scoring lead with 35 points (15-20-35) in just 32 games, and his 15 goals rank third among first-year pros.
Checkers goaltender Mike Murphy (13-9-2) emerged with the win despite allowing six goals on 36 shots.
2011 AHL All-Star Johan Harju notched his team-leading 17th goal of the year and added an assist for the Admirals, who also received a goal and a helper from Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Matt Fornataro, and Alex Berry.
Blair Jones and defenseman Radko Gudas also scored in the loss, as Norfolk slipped to 0-4-1-1 in six games since a 3-2 shootout win at Binghamton on Jan. 21. This marked the Admirals’ league-leading eighth overtime loss of the season; no other AHL team has more than four.
PEORIA 4, OKLAHOMA CITY 1
Three-time AHL All-Star T.J. Hensick tallied two goals and an assist on the night, and Peoria scored three times in the third period to claim a 4-1 road win over Oklahoma City on Thursday at the Cox Convention Center.
Hensick and fellow 2011 AHL All-Star Nathan Oystrick earned assists on a first-period goal by Derek Nesbitt. Following a scoreless second period, Hensick snapped a 1-1 deadlock at 5:01 of the third frame and then added insurance less than three minutes later with his 13th goal of the season.
Nicholas Drazenovic added a late empty-netter for the Rivermen, who won for just the fourth time in their last 11 outings (4-7-0-0).
However, the victory allowed Peoria (29-17-2-1, 61 points) to leap-frog over the deadlocked and idle Milwaukee, San Antonio, and Houston, and into first place in the extremely tight West Division race.
Rivermen goaltender Ben Bishop (13-11-1) earned the victory with 35 saves on 36 shots between the pipes.
Brad Moran tallied the lone goal for the Barons, who will look for revenge when they host the Rivermen again on Friday night.