CONNECTICUT 5, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 2
Kris Newbury scored twice and added an assist, defenseman Wade Redden had a goal and two helpers, and Dale Weise registered three assists as surging Connecticut collected a 5-2 road win over league-leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Tuesday at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Newbury has now totaled six points (3-3-6) in three games since returning to the Whale from a stint with the parent N.Y. Rangers, Weise shows six points (1-5-6) in his last two contests, and Redden has racked up five points (3-2-5) in his last two outings.
The Whale have now won four straight games for the first time since reeling off four in a row from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. Connecticut is 8-2-0-1 in its last 11 games and moved four points up on Worcester for the Atlantic Division’s third and final guaranteed playoff spot.
Tim Wallace and Chris Collins potted first-period goals for the Penguins, who dropped both meetings with Connecticut this season. Wilkes-Barre will now travel to Abbotsford for a two-game weekend set with the Heat.
GRAND RAPIDS 3, PEORIA 0
Rookie goaltender Jordan Pearce made 36 saves for his first career AHL shutout on Tuesday, and Grand Rapids continued to claw back into the North Division playoff race with a 3-0 road win over Peoria at Carver Arena.
The Griffins earned their season-high fourth consecutive victory and improved to 7-1-0-2 in their last eight contests, moving to 30-25-1-8 (69 points) on the season and to within five points of Hamilton for the division’s final guaranteed playoff spot.
Pearce, who made his 10th straight start between the pipes, improved to 14-6-5 in 28 appearances overall. The 24-year-old turned aside 12 shots in the first period, 13 in the second, and 11 more in the third frame.
It marked the Griffins’ first shutout as a team since Thomas McCollum was credited with a 23-save whitewash in a 1-0 shootout loss to Milwaukee on Nov. 10. Joey MacDonald blanked Manitoba on 25 shots on Oct. 15 in the club’s only shutout which resulted in a victory.
Rookie defenseman Brendan Smith scored on the power play in the first period’s closing minute to provide all the offense Pearce would need. Brent Raedeke and Jamie Johnson (1-1-2) tacked on third-period goals for the Griffins, who prevailed for just the third time in eight tries vs. Peoria this season (3-5-0-0)
The Rivermen (35-24-2-4, 76 points) were blanked for the fifth time this season.
PORTLAND 3, HERSHEY 2 (SO)
Rookie Corey Tropp scored in regulation and the shootout to lead red-hot Portland to a 3-2 win over visiting Hershey on Tuesday in a battle of Eastern Conference powers at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Portland collected its fourth straight victory, and at 38-17-5-2 (83 points), the Pirates moved into a tie with idle Manchester for first place in the Atlantic Division. Because the Pirates still hold three games in hand, they are percentage points ahead of the Monarchs for the top spot.
Hershey grabbed a 1-0 lead when Mathieu Perreault scored unassisted just 5:06 into the game, and that slim advantage stood until the third period.
Rookie Mark Voakes tied it up for Portland at 2:58 of the third frame, and Tropp put the Pirates on top with a power play goal at the 15:15 mark. But defenseman Patrick McNeill notched a power play marker of his own with only 1:32 left, sending the tilt to overtime.
After a scoreless extra session, Portland received shootout goals from Tropp and Colin Stuart while goaltender David Leggio denied all four of Hershey’s tries. Leggio, who improved to 18-4-0 on the year, made 30 saves through the first 65 minutes.
The Bears, who are now just three points up on Charlotte for second place in the East Division, continue a four-game road trip in Worcester on Wednesday.
CHARLOTTE 2, BINGHAMTON 1
Jon Matsumoto broke a 1-1 tie late in the second period, and Charlotte held on through a scoreless third frame to take a 2-1 win over visiting Binghamton at the Time Warner Cable Arena on Tuesday.
The Checkers earned their third straight home-ice victory and closed to within three points of second-place Hershey in the East Division. Charlotte is now idle until hosting the Senators again on Saturday night.
AHL rookie scoring leader Zac Dalpe gave the Checkers a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal at 16:35 of the opening period, his 19th tally of the season. Binghamton captain Ryan Keller responded 1:46 into the second stanza, recording his team-high 26th goal of the year.
Checkers goaltender Justin Pogge earned the victory with 38 saves on 39 shots between the pipes, helping his club move to 4-2-1-0 against Binghamton this season.
The Senators dropped to 1-3-0-1 in their last five contests.
TORONTO 3, ROCKFORD 2 (SO)
Toronto converted on three of its four shootout tries and earned a 3-2 win over visiting Rockford on Tuesday at Ricoh Coliseum.
The Marlies extended their points streak to four games (3-0-1-0) and took over sole possession of second place in the North Division at 33-25-1-8 (75 points) overall, one point shy of first-place Manitoba.
Toronto goaltender Ben Scrivens stopped 36 shots through regulation and overtime before denying each of Rockford’s three shootout bids. Rockford netminder Hannu Toivonen took the shootout loss after making 41 saves through regulation and overtime.
Forward Ben Smith scored twice in regulation for the IceHogs, who continue a seven-game road trip on Wednesday in Hamilton.
MANITOBA 4, OKLAHOMA CITY 1
Manitoba used a shorthanded goal and a pair of power play markers to surge past host Oklahoma City by a 4-1 count on Tuesday night at the Cox Convention Center.
Bolduc (2-1-3) and Desbiens (1-2-3) each finished with three-point nights for Manitoba, which maintained a one-point lead on Toronto and took a two-point edge on Hamilton for first place in the North Division.
Manitoba goaltender Tyler Weiman (13-8-2) secured the victory with 28 stops in net, helping the Moose improve to 5-3-0-0 on its 11-game road trip, which continues on Friday in Houston.
Barons defenseman Richard Petiot potted a third-period power play goal for his first score of the season, but Oklahoma City remained one point back of Chicago for the Western Conference’s crossover playoff spot.