ROCKFORD 8, TEXAS 5
Rockford, which entered the night with the AHL’s 29th-ranked offense (2.30 goals per game), erupted for a season-best eight tallies on Wednesday en route to an 8-5 win over Texas at the MetroCentre in the opener of a seven-game homestand.
The IceHogs fell into deficits of 2-0 and 4-2 but took control of the game with a five-goal second period outburst and never looked back.
Seven different Rockford skaters found the back of the net, as rookie Kyle Hagel scored twice for his first two career AHL goals. Hagel had gone his first 22 games this season without registering a goal.
Veteran forwards Jeff Taffe and Ryan Potulny each contributed a goal and two assists on the night, as did rookie defenseman Shawn Lalonde. Mathis Olimb joined rookies Peter LeBlanc and Brandon Bollig in rounding out Rockford’s offensive attack.
The eight goals marked Rockford’s highest offensive output in a game since joining the AHL in 2007-08. The IceHogs now have consecutive victories for the first time since sweeping a two-game set in Abbotsford on Oct. 15-16.
Defenseman Dan Spang scored twice for the Stars, and Tomas Vincour, Luke Gazdic, and Raymond Sawada added a goal apiece. Texas had lost top goaltender Richard Bachman (9-4-1, 2.01, .931) to NHL recall earlier on Wednesday.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 5, TORONTO 1
Eric Tangradi tallied his first career AHL hat trick and added an assist as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton continued humming along with a 5-1 home-ice win over Toronto at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Tangradi entered the contest with eight points (5-3-8) in 18 games for the season but made it halfway to that total on this night alone. The second-year pro opened the scoring at 1:17 of the second period and then registered a pair of goals in the second stanza.
The AHL-leading Penguins (21-4-0-0) increased their winning streak to six games since suffering a 5-2 loss at Binghamton on Thanksgiving. It’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s longest run since opening the season with nine consecutive triumphs.
Justin Hodgman had the lone goal for the Marlies, who have now dropped back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since a three-game skid from Oct. 24-30.
HERSHEY 3, ALBANY 2
Hershey jumped out to a 3-0 lead by early in the second period and then held on over the second half of the game for a 3-2 road win over Albany on Wednesday at the Times Union Center.
Andrew Joudrey put the Bears up 1-0 midway through the first period, and then Jay Beagle and Steve Pinizzotto struck for a pair of shorthanded goals just 25 seconds apart in the opening minute of the second frame.
Devils forwards Michael Swift and Matt Anderson each tallied a power play goal later in the second to make it 3-2, but Albany could not get the equalizer in the third and fell to 4-10-0-0 on home ice this season.
Hershey (15-9-0-1) has now matched a season high with a three-game winning streak, originally attained from Oct. 23-29.
BRIDGEPORT 5, SPRINGFIELD 3
Tomas Marcinko scored twice in the game and Bridgeport rallied from a 3-2 third-period deficit with a trio of goals to capture a 5-3 win over visiting Springfield on Wednesday at the Arena at Harbor Yard.
Less than two minutes after Rakhshani’s goal early in the second period, Dane Byers scored to give Springfield a 3-2 advantage which the Falcons carried into the third.
But Trent Campbell tied it up for Bridgeport with eight minutes left in regulation, and former first-round draft pick Josh Bailey put the Sound Tigers on top to stay with a power play strike at 16:52. Marcinko added an empty-netter in the closing minute.
Bridgeport rookie goaltender Kevin Poulin emerged with the victory after making 21 saves, as the Sound Tigers improved to 5-1-1-1 in their last eight contests.
The Falcons are now on a three-game winless skid (0-2-1-0) and dipped under .500 on the season (12-13-1-1) for the first time since they were 1-2-0-0.
GRAND RAPIDS 3, MILWAUKEE 2
Jan Mursak’s team-leading 10th goal of the season midway through the third period turned out to be the game-winner as Grand Rapids edged visiting Milwaukee at Van Andel Arena on Wednesday.
Tomas Tatar picked up the lone assist on Mursak’s game-winner, which made it a 3-1 contest at 8:11 of the third frame. Teemu Laakso then brought the Admirals within 3-2 on the power play at 15:06, but Milwaukee could get no closer.
Ryan Thang tallied his first goal of the season for Milwaukee, which fell to 4-5-0-1 in its last 10 games.
The Griffins collected just their third win in their last 11 outings (3-6-1-1).
ROCHESTER 4, HAMILTON 3
A three-goal second period propelled Rochester to a 4-3 come-from-behind win over visiting Hamilton at the Blue Cross Arena on Wednesday.
It marked the Americans’ first victory in four tries this season against the North Division-leading Bulldogs (1-3-0-0).
Rookie forward A.J. Jenks initially put Rochester on top just 5:26 into the game, but Aaron Palushaj, Max Pacioretty, and Mathieu Carle all scored in succession to give Hamilton a 3-1 lead midway through the middle frame. Pacioretty’s goal came just six seconds after the second period’s opening face-off.
The Amerks answered back, though, with three goals of their own before the period was out. Brady Calla (11:36), Michael Duco (14:19), and David Marshall (17:29) did the damage, and neither side scored in the third stanza.
Amerks goaltender Tyler Plante (3-3-0) made 39 saves on 42 shots to earn his first win since Oct. 29 at Worcester.
SYRACUSE 4, NORFOLK 3 (OT)
Syracuse coughed up a 3-0 lead in the third period, but Josh Green scored unassisted 2:50 into overtime as the Crunch came away with a 4-3 road win over Norfolk on Wednesday.
But the Admirals came storming back with a three goals in less than seven minutes during the third frame, as Marc-Antoine Pouliot scored at 1:14 and 7:57, with a Matt Fornataro marker in between. Blair Jones assisted on both of Pouliot’s goals.
Green’s overtime tally made a winner of Syracuse goaltender Jean-Philippe Levasseur, who turned aside 44 of 47 shots on the night.
Norfolk’s three-game winning streak came to an end.
SAN ANTONIO 5, CHICAGO 2
San Antonio jumped out to a 3-0 lead and continued its dominance of Chicago this season with a 5-2 road victory over the Wolves on Wednesday at Allstate Arena.
The Rampage improved to 3-0-0-0 against the Wolves this season and have outscored them 16-7 in the three contests. San Antonio upped its overall winning streak to four games and won for the 11th time in its last 13 outings (11-2-0-0).
ABBOTSFORD 1, LAKE ERIE 0
Defenseman Matt Pelech scored the game’s only goal late in the first period, and Abbotsford goaltender Leland Irving made it stand up as the Heat escaped with a 1-0 win over Lake Erie at the Entertainment & Sports Centre.
Pelech netted his first goal of the season – and first since Nov. 20, 2009 – at 17:05 of the opening period, with assists going to rookie Lance Bouma and veteran Quintin Laing. It was part of a 19-shot onslaught by the Heat in period one, and Abbotsford finished with 34-23 shots advantage for the night.
Irving stopped all 23 shots he faced to earn his second shutout of the year and league-leading 13th victory (13-7-1, 2.11, .920). The former first-round draft pick has now gone 13 consecutive appearances without surrendering more than two goals.
Abbotsford swept its two-game set from the Monsters and has back-to-back wins for the first time since a season-best five-game run from Nov. 6-13.
Jason Bacashihua made 33 saves in net for the Monsters, whose six-game points streak (3-0-1-2) came to an end.