NORFOLK 1, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 0
Mark Parrish tallied the game’s only goal on the power play, and rookie goaltender Dustin Tokarski made it stand up with a 29-save shutout as Norfolk earned a critical 1-0 win over visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Wednesday at the Scope.
The Admirals spoiled Wilkes-Barre’s plans to clinch a playoff spot and closed to within a point of the third-place Penguins in the East Division race.
At the same time, Norfolk moved into a tie with idle Bridgeport for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot. Currently, the Admirals would edge out the Sound Tigers based on having two more victories.
The teams then played scoreless hockey throughout the second and third periods, as Tokarski (26-24-3) secured his fourth shutout of the season, tying Houston’s Anton Khudobin for the AHL lead among rookies.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton dropped to 1-4-0-0 in its last five games overall and saw its four-game winning streak vs. Norfolk come to an end.
WORCESTER 9, HARTFORD 2
Worcester tallied a franchise-record nine goals and romped to a 9-2 road win over Hartford on Wednesday at the XL Center.
The Sharks, who had totaled just three goals in dropping their last two contests, won their third straight over the Wolf Pack after dropping the teams’ first four meetings of the season. Worcester also extended its lead atop the Atlantic Division to three points over idle Portland.
Rookie Brandon Mashinter (2-1-3) and T.J. Trevelyan led the way with two goals apiece for the Sharks, who scored three times in the first period and once in the second before erupting for five markers in the third frame.
Worcester finished 3-for-7 on the power play, and AHL All-Rookie goaltender Alex Stalock earned his league-leading 38th win of the season (38-18-2) with 24 saves on 26 shots.
ADIRONDACK 3, BINGHAMTON 2 (OT)
Andreas Nodl scored three minutes into overtime as Adirondack edged visiting Binghamton by a 3-2 count on Wednesday at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
The overtime loss put a severe dent in the playoff hopes of the Senators, who now trail Norfolk and Bridgeport by five points with only three games left to play.
Jonathon Kalinski picked up the lone assist on Nodl’s game-winner, which was his 12th goal of the season and allowed the Phantoms to snap a six-game winless skid (0-5-0-1).
Danny Syvret and rookie Ben Holmstrom registered first-period goals to give the Phantoms a 2-0 lead, but Binghamton’s Ryan Keller registered his team-leading 33rd and 34th goals of the season to tie it up, scoring once apiece in the second and third frames. B-Sens goaltender Mike Brodeur recorded the lone assist on Keller’s first goal of the night.
Phantoms netminder Brian Stewart emerged with his first professional victory after stopping 31 of 33 shots between the pipes, and Adirondack bench boss Greg Gilbert recorded the 300th win of his AHL coaching career.
Gilbert, who won AHL coach of the year honors with Worcester in 1996-97 and guided Toronto to the 2008 Western Conference Finals, becomes the 15th coach in AHL history to reach 300 career wins.
GRAND RAPIDS 6, ROCHESTER 3
Grand Rapids tallied a pair of goals in each period and doubled up Rochester by a 6-3 count at Van Andel Arena on Wednesday.
Grand Rapids captain Jamie Tardif chipped in two assists, and goaltender Thomas McCollum turned aside 29 of 32 shots to earn the victory. McCollum also posted an assist Abdelkader’s goal, which turned out to be the game-winner.
Rochester missed a chance to clinch second place in the North Division and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Amerks are now three points ahead of Abbotsford for second.
LAKE ERIE 5, ABBOTSFORD 4 (SO)
Lake Erie coughed up a 2-1 third-period lead and fell behind 4-2 before rallying to force overtime, and the Monsters eventually wound up with a 5-4 shootout win over Abbotsford at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Monsters, who will miss the playoffs for a third straight season, won for just the fourth time in their last 15 outings (4-8-1-2) and put an end to Abbotsford’s three-game winning streak.
Lake Erie goaltender John Grahame denied all three of Abbotsford’s tries after making 16 saves through the first 65 minutes.
Abbotsford pulled three points up on Manitoba for third place in the North Division, and to within three points of Rochester for second place. All three teams have two games left to play.
CHICAGO 2, MILWAUKEE 1
Chicago moved a big step closer to the West Division crown on Wednesday with a 2-1 win over visiting Milwaukee at Allstate Arena.
The Wolves (48-23-1-6, 103 points) currently sit four points up on Texas for first place in the West, and both clubs have two games to play. Any point gained by Chicago or lost by Texas will give the Wolves their second division title in three years.
Chicago goaltender Peter Mannino turned aside 35 of 36 shots in net, improving to 25-4-1 on the season.
If the current standings hold, Chicago and Milwaukee would meet in the West Division’s 1-vs-4 first-round playoff match-up for the second time in three springs.