BINGHAMTON 4, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 1
Binghamton goaltender Barry Brust made 24 of his 47 saves during a third period in which Wilkes-Barre/Scranton held a 24-3 shots advantage, and the blistering Senators rolled on by knocking off the league-leading Penguins by a 4-1 count on Wednesday at the Broome County Arena.
The AHL’s hottest team, Binghamton extended its season-high winning streak to seven games and improved to 8-0-1-0 in its last nine outings. The Senators (31-20-3-3, 68 points) also moved two points up on Norfolk for fourth place in the East Division and are just three points back of third-place Charlotte with two games in hand.
Brust stopped 47 of 48 shots on the night, yielding only a second-period power play goal to the Penguins’ Bryan Lerg. Brust improved to 22-12-1 overall and topped the 40-save plateau for the seventh time this season.
Ryan Keller netted his 20th goal of the season in the opening frame for Binghamton, which then took control when Eric Gryba, Kaspars Daugavins, and Andrew Sweetland all scored in a 7:08 span during the second period. Corey Cowick chipped in a pair of assists on the night.
The Senators chased Penguins starting goaltender Brad Thiessen after two periods, as Thiessen surrendered four goals in 40 minutes after allowing four scores in his previous seven outings combined. The 24-year-old suffered just his sixth loss in 32 appearances for the season (24-6-0).
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s three-game winning streak came to an end, and the Penguins fell to 3-4-0-0 against Binghamton this season. The teams have one regular-season meeting left, on Mar. 25 also at the Broome County Arena.
PEORIA 5, TEXAS 2
Never known for his offense, veteran defenseman Brennan Evans erupted for three goals on Wednesday to lead Peoria to a 5-2 win over visiting Texas at Carver Arena.
Evans entered the night with zero goals in 48 games this season and having totaled just nine scores in 542 career AHL contests. The hat trick performance allowed the 29-year-old to equal his goal total from the previous three seasons combined.
He scored once in the first period and twice more in the second frame for Peoria, while fellow rearguard Ian Cole (1-1-2) and forward Chris Porter rounded out the Rivermen’s offense. Adam Cracknell and Nathan Oystrick each posted two assists on the night.
Rookie goaltender Jake Allen turned aside 27 of 29 shots in net for the Rivermen, who moved into a second-place tie with idle Houston in the West Division, four points back of first-place Milwaukee.
Rookie Ondrej Roman and defenseman Maxime Fortunus netted goals for the Stars. Texas, which saw its three-game winning streak come to an end, concludes an eight-game road trip in Houston and San Antonio this weekend before hosting Oklahoma City on Sunday.
BRIDGEPORT 4, PROVIDENCE 1
Rob Hisey scored twice and added an assist as Bridgeport put together back-to-back victories for the first time in nearly two months with a 4-1 win over visiting Providence on Wednesday.
The Sound Tigers, who snapped an 11-game winless skid on Sunday vs. Manchester, are now on their first two-game winning streak since earning three straight triumphs from Dec. 28-31.
Hisey opened the game’s scoring with a first-period power play goal and closed it by nabbing a shorthanded empty-netter late in the third. In between, Bridgeport also got markers from Eric Castonguay and Jean Bourbeau.
David Ling netted the lone goal for the Bruins, who will now travel to Abbotsford for a two-game set against the Heat this weekend.
HERSHEY 3, TORONTO 2 (SO)
Steve Pinizzotto’s second-round shootout goal sent Hershey to a 3-2 road win over Toronto on Wednesday at Ricoh Coliseum.
Pinizzotto notched the lone shootout tally for either side, as Bears goaltender Braden Holtby (14-6-2) denied all five of Toronto’s attempts after making 32 saves on 34 shots through the first 65 minutes.
Andrew Joudrey (even strength) and Kyle Greentree (power play) scored in regulation for the Bears, and defenseman Sheldon Souray registered a pair of assists in his return to the lineup following a four-game absence.
Hershey, which will visit Lake Erie on Thursday, moved back within eight points of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for first place in the East Division.
Mike Zigomanis and Alex Foster scored in regulation for the Marlies, who moved into a three-way tie for second place in the North Division along with Hamilton and Lake Erie. That trio sits two points back of front-running Manitoba.
SPRINGFIELD 4, WORCESTER 2
Springfield scored twice in the second period and twice more in the third frame to erase a 2-0 deficit and take a key 4-2 victory over host Worcester on Wednesday at the DCU Center.
The victory allowed the Falcons to move one point back of Worcester for fourth place in the Atlantic Division race and within four points of idle Connecticut for the division’s third and final guaranteed playoff spot.
Trevor Smith (1-1-2), Nikita Filatov, Kyle Wilson, and Dane Byers all scored for the Falcons, who bounced back from a 5-0 home-ice loss to Manchester on Tuesday. Tom Sestito chipped in two assists to the offense.
Falcons goaltender David LeNeveu stopped 32 of 34 shots in net to move back above the .500 mark overall at 14-13-2 in 31 appearances.
MANITOBA 1, ROCHESTER 0 (SO)
In a game which remained scoreless through regulation and overtime, Manitoba got shootout goals from Sergei Shirokov and Garth Murray to take a 1-0 road win over Rochester on Wednesday at the Blue Cross Arena.
Lack (20-13-3) earned his fourth shutout of the campaign, and Amerks counterpart Tyler Plante was also credited with a shutout after turning aside 32 shots through the first 65 minutes.
The win vaulted Manitoba into sole possession of first place in the North Division with 68 points, two points better than Hamilton, Lake Erie, and Toronto.
CHICAGO 4, ROCKFORD 3
Nigel Dawes struck for a pair of goals and Chicago held on to defeat in-state rival Rockford by a 4-3 count on Wednesday at Allstate Arena.
Dawes netted his team-leading 26th and 27th goals of the season, while rookie Ryan Garbutt and Fredrik Pettersson also found the back of the net. Pettersson’s marker 39 seconds into the third period turned out to be the game-winner.
Wolves goaltender Drew MacIntyre (11-5-1) made 27 saves in net, helping Chicago improve to 4-1-0-0 in its last five games and pull within two points of San Antonio for the Western Conference’s crossover playoff spot.
Defensemen Garnet Exelby, who won a Calder Cup with the Wolves in 2002, netted his first goal of the season for the IceHogs, as did fellow rearguard Ryan Stanton (1-1-2). Jeff Taffe added his team-best 19th goal of the campaign in the loss.
MILWAUKEE 6, OKLAHOMA CITY 1
Milwaukee surrendered the game’s first goal just 1:29 after the opening face-off before striking for six unanswered tallies en route to a 6-1 road win over Oklahoma City on Wednesday at the Cox Convention Center.
Defenseman Grant Lewis entered the night with one goal in 25 games for the season but scored twice and added an assist to pace the Admirals’ offense.
Rookie forward Blake Geoffrion and first-year defenseman chipped in two assists apiece, and Admirals goaltender Anders Lindback bounced back from the early blemish to make 32 saves on 33 shots in net.
With their ninth victory in 12 games (9-2-0-1), the first-place Admirals moved four points up on Peoria and Houston in the tight West Division race.
Milan Kytnar scored for the Barons, who remain a point back of San Antonio for the Western Conference’s final postseason spot.