PORTLAND 7, PROVIDENCE 0
Rookie forward Luke Adam notched two goals and an assist and was one of three players to record three points as surging Portland dismantled Providence with a 7-0 victory over the Bruins on Wednesday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
With their fourth straight win and 15th in their last 19 games (15-4-0-0), the Pirates (33-15-4-1, 71 points) pulled within one point of Manchester for the Atlantic Division lead and still hold three games in hand on the Monarchs.
Adam recorded his first two-goal game for Portland since Nov. 3 at Charlotte and his first three-point effort since posting a goal and two assists on Oct. 29 at Norfolk. The former second-round draft pick now shows 32 points (15-17-32) in 32 AHL games overall.
Defenseman Nick Crawford (2-1-3) and Mark Mancari (1-2-3) also recorded three points on the night for the Pirates, with Mancari registering his league-leading 30th goal of the season (30-28-58) and eighth in six games vs. Providence (8-4-12).
Pirates goaltender David Leggio turned aside all 23 shots he faced, picking up his second shutout and improving to 15-4-0 in 20 appearances for the season.
The Bruins suffered their seventh consecutive loss and have now been outscored 33-10 during the skid. Providence will get another crack at the Pirates on Friday night when Portland visits the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
LAKE ERIE 4, TEXAS 2
Matthew Ford scored twice and added an assist as Lake Erie continued its red-hot play of late with a 4-2 matinee win over Texas on Wednesday afternoon before 7,510 fans at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Monsters, who collected a 4-2 victory on Monday night, earned a sweep of their two-game set with the Stars, extended their winning streak to four games overall, and improved to 12-3-0-1 in their last 16 contests.
At 28-22-3-5 (64 points) for the season, Lake Erie has moved into a first-place tie with Manitoba in the North Division pending the outcome of the Moose’s contest against Toronto later tonight. Manitoba also still holds five games in hand on Lake Erie, and the teams will collide in a two-game set this weekend in Winnipeg.
Ford opened the game’s scoring midway through the first period and then nabbed his 15th of the year early in the third, which turned out to be the game-winner. David Van der Gulik posted a goal and an assist for the Monsters, and defenseman Joel Chouinard also found the back of the net.
Lake Erie received a pair of assists apiece from Patrick Rissmiller and Ryan Stoa, and Monsters goaltender Jason Bacashihua (12-13-3) registered his second straight win over the Stars with 29 saves on 31 shots in net.
Michael Neal and Dave Bonk tallied goals for the Stars, who have lost back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since falling to San Antonio and Lake Erie on Jan. 7 and 8. Texas continues an eight-game road trip on Friday in Grand Rapids.
SPRINGFIELD 4, BRIDGEPORT 3 (SO)
Trevor Smith snapped a scoreless shootout deadlock in the fifth round, sending Springfield to a 4-3 win over visiting Bridgeport on Wednesday at the MassMutual Center.
An ex-Sound Tiger, Smith registered a goal and an assist in regulation before beating Bridgeport goaltender Mikko Koskinen in the shootout.
Kyle Wilson and defenseman Brent Regner also registered regulation goals for the Falcons, who moved back to .500 on the season at 25-25-1-3 (54 points) and moved within five points of idle Connecticut for the Atlantic Division’s final guaranteed playoff spot.
Falcons rookie goaltender Gustaf Wesslau made 20 saves through the first 65 minutes before turning aside all five shootout attempts against him.
ADIRONDACK 4, SYRACUSE 2
Adirondack scored three times in the final 5:17 of regulation to turn a 2-1 deficit into a stirring 4-2 come-from-behind win over visiting Syracuse at the Glens Falls Civic Center Wednesday.
Defenseman Logan Stephenson began the rally at 14:43 with his first goal in 35 games this season, and Rob Bordson put the Phantoms on top to stay just 2:10 later. Ben Holmstrom tacked on an empty-netter in the game’s closing minute.
Adirondack extended its current points streak to four games (3-0-1-0) and improved to 6-1-0-0 against the Crunch this season.
Ex-Phantom Patrick Maroon notched his 15th goal of the season for Syracuse, and Nicolas Deschamps gave the Crunch a 2-1 advantage when he scored shorthanded just under six minutes into the third period.
GRAND RAPIDS 5, HAMILTON 3
Grand Rapids captain Jamie Tardif tallied a pair of goals – including the eventual game-winner – as the Griffins collected a 5-3 win over visiting Hamilton on Wednesday at Van Andel Arena.
Tardif netted his 18th and 19th goals of the season, which vault him into the team lead in that category over 2011 AHL All-Star Ilari Filppula. Tardif’s power play marker at 8:04 of the third period, which made it 4-2 at the time, stood up as the decisive goal.
Jamie Johnson and Tomas Tatar chipped in a goal and an assist apiece for the Griffins; Cory Emmerton also scored; and Francis Pare and rookie defenseman Brendan Smith each had two helpers on the night.
Grand Rapids rookie goaltender Jordan Pearce (8-5-3) turned aside 22 of 25 shots to pick up the win in net and help the Griffins improve to 3-2-0-0 against Hamilton this year.
ROCHESTER 6, WORCESTER 4
Six different players found the back of the net as Rochester cooled off Worcester with a 6-4 victory over the visiting Sharks on Wednesday at the Blue Cross Arena.
The Americans extended their own winning streak to three games while halting Worcester’s at a season-high five contests. It marked the Sharks’ first-ever visit to Rochester.
Bill Thomas and Michal Repik each contributed a goal and an assist for the Amerks, who also got goals from Chris Taylor, Jordan Knackstedt, Hugh Jessiman, and ex-Shark P.J. Fenton. Rochester scored once in the opening period, three times in the second frame, and twice more in the third.
Two-time AHL All-Star Clay Wilson posted three assists to run his season total to move into a tie for first among AHL defensemen with 31 on the season (8-31-39). Amerks goaltender Tyler Plante stopped 34 of 38 shots in the winning effort.
Rochester improved to 6-3-0-0 in its last nine contests and closed to within eight points of a playoff spot in the fluid North Division race.
T.J. Trevelyan paced the Sharks with two goals and a helper, while Jonathan Cheechoo and defenseman Sean Sullivan also scored. Worcester continues a five-game road stretch with weekend tilts in Albany, Springfield, and Providence.
ROCKFORD 2, PEORIA 1
Rockford scored once apiece in the first and second periods before holding on for a 2-1 win over visiting Peoria at the MetroCentre on Wednesday.
The late tally ruined a shutout bid by Rockford goaltender Alec Richards, who still finished with 34 saves on 35 shots in the winning effort as the IceHogs halted an 0-3-1-0 slide.
Peoria (31-19-2-3) failed in its bid to win back-to-back games for the first time this month.
TORONTO 5, MANITOBA 3
Ryan Hamilton netted a hat trick to lead Toronto to a 5-3 road win over Manitoba on Wednesday and a sweep of the teams’ two-game midweek set at the MTS Centre.
Hamilton scored twice in the second period as the Marlies ultimately built a 4-1 advantage. After Manitoba closed the gap to 4-3 late in the third, Hamilton sealed the victory with an empty-netter in the closing seconds.
Toronto rookie goaltender Ben Scrivens stopped 31 of 34 shots to record his second win in as many nights and his seventh in 16 appearances overall (7-3-3).
The victory brought the Marlies (27-22-0-7, 61 points) into a three-way tie for third place in the North Division along with Hamilton and Abbotsford. That trio sits three points back of Manitoba and Lake Erie, who are tied for first with 64 points apiece.