ALBANY 5, WORCESTER 3
Red-hot forward Jerome Samson tallied a goal and assisted on three others as Albany cruised to a 5-3 win over visiting Worcester on Wednesday at the Times Union Center.
The River Rats extended their winning streak to four games and now show a 6-0-0-2 in eight games during the month of March.
With his second four-point effort of the month, Samson extended his scoring streak to four games (5-5-10) and shows a point in 12 of his last 13 contests (12-11-23).
The third-year pro continues to pace the River Rats in all offensive categories with 33 goals and 33 assists for 66 points in 66 games this season.
NHL trade deadline acquisition Oskar Osala scored twice to give him four goals and six points in six games since joining Albany, and Rats rookie Drayson Bowman also put a puck past Worcester netminder Frank Doyle.
Mike Morrison made 37 saves in net for the River Rats, who earned a split of their season series with the Sharks and opened a 10-point cushion on Norfolk for second place in the East Division.
HAMILTON 6, ADIRONDACK 5 (SO)
Hamilton erased deficits of 4-1 and 5-2 in the third period and eventually captured a 6-5 shootout win over host Adirondack on Wednesday at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Standout rookie defenseman P.K. Subban tallied two third-period goals and added an assist in the frame for the Bulldogs. Brock Trotter notched his team-leading 29th goal of the season, and Aaron Palushaj ultimately tied the game at 5-5 with 2:55 to play in regulation.
Subban, Ryan Russell, and Ryan White registered shootout markers for Hamilton, while goaltender Curtis Sanford – who relieved starter Cedrick Desjardins in the second period – stopped five of Adirondack’s seven tries.
Weber finished a game-high plus-5 for the Bulldogs, who improved to 11-1-0-0 in their last 12 outings.
HERSHEY 5, BINGHAMTON 3
Hershey made official on Wednesday what had long been inevitable, clinching its second straight East Division title with a 5-3 road win over Binghamton at the Broome County Arena.
The Bears (51-13-0-3) sit 21 points clear of second-place Albany in the East and are in the driver’s seat to claim the AHL’s regular-season championship and home-ice advantage throughout the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Hershey rookie goaltender Braden Holtby stopped 41 of 44 shots between the pipes to pick up his 20th win of the season (20-5-2).
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 2, NORFOLK 1
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored twice in the first period and made it stand up for a 2-1 win over struggling Norfolk at Mohegan Sun Arena on Wednesday.
The Penguins improved to 11-3-1-2 in their last 17 games and pulled within one point of Norfolk for the East Division’s third and final guaranteed playoff spot. Fourth-place Wilkes-Barre is currently tied with Bridgeport for what would be the crossover berth in the East.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton maintained its 2-1 lead through the second period and most of the third until Matt Fornataro put Norfolk on the board with 4:38 to play in regulation.
Rookie Penguins goaltender Brad Thiessen was otherwise perfect, finishing with 29 saves on 30 shots.
The Admirals are now winless in four straight games (0-2-0-2) and open a five-game homestand this weekend with a pair of tilts against Adirondack.
PROVIDENCE 4, HARTFORD 2
Providence went ahead by a 2-0 score, watched Hartford tie it up, and then pulled ahead again en route to a 4-2 road win over the Wolf Pack at the XL Center on Wednesday.
Levi Nelson and MacDonald staked the Bruins to a 2-0 lead before the game was 10 minutes old, but Hartford climbed back to a draw on a power play goal by Corey Locke and an even-strength tally by Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau.
Goaltender Dany Sabourin earned the victory for Providence, which snapped a six-game winless skid (0-5-0-1) and won in regulation for the first time since a 6-4 triumph at Binghamton on Feb. 26.
The Bruins moved within five points of Bridgeport for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot, while the Wolf Pack remained six points back.
SYRACUSE 2, MANCHESTER 0
Syracuse fired just 15 shots on Manchester goaltender Jonathan Bernier, but put two of them in the net and earned a 2-0 win over the Monarchs at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Crunch goaltender Kevin Lalande turned aside all 33 shots sent his way to pick up his second shutout of the season and first since Feb. 6 vs. Adirondack.
With the victory, the Crunch moved within seven points of idle Bridgeport for the final playoff spot in the East Division. Both teams have 12 games to play, including a pair of head-to-head contests.
The Monarchs suffered their second consecutive shutout and tumbled to 1-5-1-0 in their last seven games.
PEORIA 6, SAN ANTONIO 5 (OT)
Julian Talbot scored 1:35 into overtime as Peoria concluded a five-game Texas road trip with a dramatic 6-5 win over San Antonio at the AT&T Center.
Adam Cracknell tallied two goals and an assist in regulation as the Rivermen collected leads of 2-1, 3-2, and 4-3, before ultimately falling behind 5-4 with 5:30 to play in the game.
San Antonio forward Alexandre Picard racked up four points (2-2-4) in the losing effort, and defenseman David Schlemko put up a goal and two assists. Brett MacLean (1-1-2) and Sean Sullivan also scored for the Rampage.
With the point earned in the overtime loss, San Antonio moved within three points of Milwaukee for the West Division’s fourth and final playoff spot, though the Admirals have played three fewer games.