HERSHEY 2, SPRINGFIELD 0
The league-leading Hershey Bears closed out the 2008 portion of their schedule with a 2-0 road win over Springfield on Wednesday afternoon at the MassMutual Center.
Varlamov protected the Hershey lead despite a shots disadvantage of 12-8 in the third period and 30-27 for the game.
The Bears have won four of their last five games (4-1-0-0), while the Falcons are now winless in seven straight contests (0-6-1-0).
GRAND RAPIDS 6, IOWA 0
Grand Rapids’ defense continued its fine play on Wednesday, sending the Griffins soaring into the new year on a three-game winning streak courtesy of a 6-0 victory over visiting Iowa before 8,084 fans at Van Andel Arena.
Goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped all 24 shots sent his way to record the shutout, which was the Griffins’ fourth in their last six games.
The Griffins scored once in the first period, twice in the second, and three times in the third. All told, 11 members of the Grand Rapids roster registered at least one point on the night.
Grand Rapids is 7-0-1-0 in its last eight games and sits atop the North Division at 20-7-4-3 overall.
The Chops are now winless in two straight outings (0-1-1-0) and suffered their third shutout loss of the campaign.
MANITOBA 2, CHICAGO 1 (OT)
Guillaume Desbiens, a member of the Chicago Wolves for part of last season, scored 1:47 into overtime to give Manitoba a 2-1 win over his former team in front of 11,952 fans at the MTS Centre.
The Wolves initially took a 1-0 lead when Joe Motzko lit the lamp at 4:11 of the first period, netting a goal for a sixth straight game. But Manitoba’s Maxime Fortunus sent the game to overtime by scoring the tying goal at 19:31 of the third period.
Moose goaltender Karl Goehring stopped 25 of 26 shots in the win, which snapped Manitoba’s four-game winless skid (0-3-0-1).
PORTLAND 2, NORFOLK 1
Portland rallied for a 2-1 win over visiting Norfolk before 6,374 fans at the Cumberland County Civic Center. All three goals in the game were scored in the second period.
The Admirals took a 1-0 lead when Chris Gratton netted his career AHL goal at 5:01 of the middle stanza. Gratton was reassigned by parent-club Tampa Bay after appearing in 1,086 career NHL games.
Pirates goaltender Mike McKenna earned the victory with 28 saves on 30 shots.
MILWAUKEE 3, PEORIA 1
Milwaukee matched a season high with its sixth straight victory, a 3-1 road decision over Peoria at Carver Arena.
This marks the second six-game winning streak of the month for the Admirals, who also won six straight from Dec. 4-17.
Trent Whitfield netted the lone goal for the Rivermen, who are now winless in four straight (0-3-0-1).
ALBANY 2, BINGHAMTON 1
Albany took a 2-0 lead into the third period and held on for a 2-1 road win over Binghamton at the Broome County Arena.
Nicolas Blanchard gave the River Rats the 1-0 lead on the power play at 18:40 of the opening period, and Pat Dwyer made it 2-0 at 19:25 of the second. Defenseman Bryan Rodney assisted on both tallies.
Danny Bois’ power play goal 4:16 into the third brought the Senators within one score, but they were unable to get the equalizer.
River Rats goaltender Daniel Manzato earned the win with 29 saves, helping Albany snap a brief two-game losing skid.
HOUSTON 2, WORCESTER 1
In a game that Houston led 1-0 almost throughout, an empty-net goal ended up giving the Aeros a 2-1 win over Worcester at the DCU Center in the opener of an eight-game road trip.
Houston took its 1-0 advantage on the power play 7:37 into the contest when defenseman Tomas Mojzis scored his third goal in the past two nights (3-0-3).
The game remained 1-0 until Danny Irmen scored into an empty net with 51 seconds left in regulation to seemingly put the game away. Worcester’s Mike Moore made it interesting by lighting the lamp just seven seconds later, but the Sharks could not get the equalizer.
Ex-Shark Nolan Schaefer stopped 40 of 41 shots to pick up the win for the Aeros, who continue their trip in Binghamton on Friday.
MANCHESTER 4, PROVIDENCE 2
A trio of third-period goals lifted Manchester to a 4-2 win over visiting Providence before 7,708 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
The Bruins’ Levi Nelson netted an unassisted marker at the 6:29 mark, but the visitors would get no closer.
Monarchs rookie goaltender Jonathan Bernier made 24 saves on 26 shots to secure his and the team’s fourth straight win.
ROCKFORD 3, QUAD CITY 2 (SO)
Pascal Pelletier and Petri Kontiola netted shootout goals to lift Rockford over visiting Quad City by a 3-2 final at the MetroCentre in the back end of a home-and-home set. The victory ended the IceHogs’ three-game losing skid.
Rockford goaltender Antti Niemi made 28 saves through the first 65 minutes and stopped four of five in the shootout to earn his first win since Dec. 5, which also came at the expense of Quad City.