CONNECTICUT 2, PORTLAND 1 (OT)
Ex-Pirate Tim Kennedy scored on the power play only 36 seconds into overtime to lift Connecticut past visiting Portland by a 2-1 count on Wednesday before 7,913 fans at the XL Center.
With their eighth win in 10 games (8-1-0-1), the Whale moved within one point of the Pirates for second place in the Atlantic Division.
Connecticut is now a remarkable 10-1-0-1 in 12 games since being rebranded as the Whale on Nov. 27 after beginning the year 6-11-2-2 when it was known as the Hartford Wolf Pack.
The contest was scoreless until 4:58 of the third period, when rookie Kelsey Tessier gave the Whale a 1-0 advantage. But Portland tied it just over a minute later on a goal by Paul Byron at the 6:09 mark.
Portland dropped to 1-2-2-0 in its last five contests.
MANCHESTER 6, ADIRONDACK 2
Manchester erupted for four second-period goals in a 2:45 span en route to building a 6-0 lead and cruised to a 6-2 road win over Adirondack on Wednesday at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Richard Clune entered the night with one goal on the season but scored twice to lead the Monarchs’ offense. John Zeiler racked up a goal and two helpers, and Manchester also got scores from Dwight King, Jordan Nolan, and defenseman David Kolomatis.
Manchester entered the second period already up by a 2-0 count, and Nolan made it 3-0 with a shorthanded marker 3:53 in. Kolamatis followed at even strength 58 seconds later, and the Monarchs closed the stretch on goals 36 seconds apart from Zeiler (6:02) and Clune (6:38).
The Monarchs, who had been idle since Dec. 21, collected their season-high fifth straight win and moved six points up on Portland for first place in the Atlantic Division.
LAKE ERIE 4, ROCHESTER 1
Lake Erie snapped out of a four-game winless skid (0-3-1-0) with a convincing 4-1 win over visiting Rochester on Wednesday in front of 9,017 fans at Quicken Loans Arena.
Patrick Rissmiller opened the game’s scoring for the Monsters and assisted on the eventual game-winner by Justin Mercier. David Van der Gulik and Matthew Ford – his 10th of the season – also scored in the victory.
With the victory, Lake Erie (14-14-3-4) moved into a tie with Grand Rapids for fifth place in the tight North Division race, two points up on Rochester.
Michal Repik netted a power play goal for the Americans’ lone score of the night.
WORCESTER 3, SPRINGFIELD 2 (SO)
Worcester coughed up a 2-0 lead in regulation but eventually captured a 3-2 win over Springfield on Wednesday in its first visit to the MassMutual Center this season.
Jonathan Cheechoo, Cory Quirk, and rookie James Marcou all netted shootout goals for the Sharks, and workhorse netminder Alex Stalock stopped three of Springfield’s five tries after making 25 saves through the first 65 minutes.
Stalock, the reigning AHL All-Rookie goaltender, improved to 14-11-2 for the season and has appeared in 27 of Worcester’s 32 games to date after making 61 appearances in 2009-10.
Worcester halted its winless skid at three games (0-2-1-0), which had matched a season high.
CHICAGO 3, TORONTO 2 (SO)
Chicago climbed out of a 2-0 deficit with under eight minutes to play in the third period and ultimately prevailed over Toronto by a 3-2 count in a shootout on Wednesday at Ricoh Coliseum.
The Wolves finished a perfect 3-0-0-0 in a stretch of three games in as many days, extended their points streak to five games overall (4-0-0-1), and improved to 13-4-1-1 in their last 19 contests.
After a scoreless extra session, Chicago second-year pro Andrew Kozek and veteran Nigel Dawes scored shootout goals to win it. Wolves netminder Drew MacIntyre (2-3-0) stopped all four Toronto bids after making 34 saves on 36 shots through regulation and overtime.
Darryl Boyce and Christian Hanson tallied second-period goals to stake the Marlies to their 2-0 advantage, but Toronto slipped to 3-5-0-2 in its last 10 contests, a stretch which began with a 5-1 loss to the Wolves on Dec. 5.
Chicago concludes its four-game Canadian road trip with a pair of tilts at Manitoba this weekend.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 5, SYRACUSE 0
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton took advantage of a struggling Syracuse squad to post a 5-0 win over the visiting Crunch on Wednesday at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
It marked the Crunch’s second shutout against in as many days and their sixth overall in 33 games this season. Syracuse fell to 2-6-0-0 in its last eight contests and 11-18-1-3 for the campaign.
The Penguins, who lead the AHL at 25-7-0-0 (50 points) for the season, collected their first win in three tries against Syracuse (1-2-0-0).
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will now travel to Pittsburgh for a clash against arch-rival Hershey at the CONSOL Energy Center, home of the parent Pittsburgh Penguins, on Thursday night.
Rookie Blake Geoffrion also scored for the Admirals, who improved to 8-2-2-1 on home ice this season and 19-10-2-4 overall, good for 44 points and second place in the West Division.
Milwaukee moved a point ahead of idle Peoria and sits three points back of front-running San Antonio, which defeated Oklahoma City on Wednesday.
Houston concludes its three-game road trip with a visit to Rockford on Thursday night before returning home for an intra-state clash with San Antonio on Saturday.
SAN ANTONIO 5, OKLAHOMA CITY 3
Matt Watkins snapped a 3-3 deadlock at 18:09 of the third period and then completed his hat trick with an empty-net marker just over a minute later as San Antonio rallied for a 5-3 win over visiting Oklahoma City before 6,894 fans at the AT&T Center.
Watkins, who entered the night with just two goals in 16 games this season, also scored in the second period for the Rampage, who climbed out of a 2-0 first-period deficit en route to the victory.
San Antonio goaltender Matt Climie made 30 saves on 33 shots and maintained a share of second place in the AHL with 14 wins on the season (14-5-0) in 19 appearances.
Colin McDonald scored twice and Teemu Hartikainen once for the Barons, whose season-high winless skid reached six games (0-5-0-1). Oklahoma City will try to snap out of it in a rematch with the Rampage in San Antonio on Friday night.