ALBANY 5, BRIDGEPORT 4
Chad Wiseman scored four times in a span of 9:03 during the third period, a remarkable eruption which lifted Albany to a stunning 5-4 win over visiting Bridgeport on Wednesday at the Times Union Center.
The Devils entered the final 20 minutes facing a seemingly insurmountable 4-1 deficit before Wiseman, who entered the night with six goals on the season, went to work.
His wrist shot from the right circle found a hole at 10:25 and a great individual effort by Olivier Magnan led to Wiseman’s second goal at 16:28 to make it 4-3.
Then with 2:37 remaining, Wiseman sent the puck towards the goal and had it redirected in by a Bridgeport skate. The night reached its climax when Rob Davison kept the puck in the offensive zone and Stephen Gionta made a pass to Wiseman. He circled in front and picked a corner over the shoulder of Mikko Koskinen with 31.6 seconds remaining in the game.
It marked the second four-goal performance in less than 14 months for Wiseman, who accomplished the feat while playing for Springfield on Jan. 17, 2010. Wiseman’s four goals tied the Devils franchise record for a single game shared by David Clarkson, Matt Halischuk and Tim Sestito.
Jesse Joensuu and rookie Rhett Rakhshani led the Bridgeport attack with a goal and two assists apiece. Robin Figren and Brett Motherwell also recorded goals for the Sound Tigers, who dropped their sixth straight game.
NORFOLK 5, BINGHAMTON 1
2011 AHL All-Star Johan Harju registered a goal and an assist and was one of five Norfolk skaters to score on Wednesday as the Admirals earned a crucial 5-1 win over visiting Binghamton in the opener of a two-game set at the Scope.
With the win, Norfolk (32-19-8-5, 77 points) moved four points up on Binghamton for the East Divisions’ fourth and final guaranteed playoff spot. Both teams have 16 games to play, including two more head-to-head clashes.
Harju, who has also skated in 10 games for the parent Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010-11, potted his 20th AHL goal of the season to tie Blair Jones for the club lead. The first-year North American pro from Sweden scored in the second period before assisting on a third-period strike by Marc-Antoine Pouliot.
Mike Angelidis (1-1-2), Levi Nelson, and defenseman Mark Barberio also scored for the Admirals, a team which at one time led the AHL in average goals per game but which had entered the night having managed just four goals in their previous three contests – including a 4-1 loss in Binghamton on Sunday.
Twelve of Norfolk’s 18 skaters recorded at least one point on the night, and goaltender Dustin Tokarski (17-15-4) earned the victory with 21 saves in net.
Roman Wick buried a third-period goal for the Senators, who have lost five of their last six outings (1-4-0-1) on the heels of an eight-game winning streak.
Binghamton will look for revenge when it continues a five-game road swing against the Admirals on Friday night.
ROCKFORD 2, HAMILTON 1 (SO)
Rookie forward Brandon Pirri converted in the fifth round of a shootout to send Rockford to a 2-1 road win over Hamilton at Copps Coliseum on Wednesday.
Rockford goaltender Hannu Toivonen, coming off a 41-save effort in Tuesday’s shootout loss in Toronto, established a new season high with 44 stops through the first 65 minutes in this one. Aaron Palushaj and Dany Masse beat him in the first two shootout rounds, but Toivonen stopped the next three attempts in a row.
Palushaj potted the only regulation goal for the Bulldogs, which moved into a tie with idle Toronto for second place in the North Division, one point back of front-running Manitoba.
PROVIDENCE 3, MANCHESTER 2 (SO)
The shootout took 14 rounds to decide, but Lane MacDermid beat Manchester goaltender Jeff Zatkoff in the 14th round to send Providence past the host Monarchs by a 3-2 count on Wednesday at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
The Bruins earned their third straight victory – their longest run since a three-game streak from Jan. 23-28 – and pulled back within nine points of idle Connecticut for the Atlantic Division’s third and final guaranteed playoff spot.
Providence received shootout goals from Jordan Caron, Trent Whitfield, David Laliberte, and Antoine Roussel before MacDermid finally ended it. Manchester converted with conversions off the sticks of Bud Holloway, Justin Azevedo, Ray Kaunisto, and Justin Johnson.
Providence goaltender Anton Khudobin (22-12-1) stopped 34 of 36 shots through the first 65 minutes and improved to a perfect 3-0-0 since joining the Bruins via trade.
The Monarchs (38-20-2-6, 84 points) moved one point up on idle Portland for first place in the Atlantic Division, though the Pirates now hold four games in hand.
WORCESTER 3, HERSHEY 2
Rookie defenseman Matt Irwin’s power play goal at 8:13 of the third period stood up to be the game-winner as Worcester collected a 3-2 win over visiting Hershey on Wednesday at the DCU Center.
The Sharks (29-23-4-8, 70 points) earned a sweep of their two-game season series with the Bears and closed back to within two points of idle Connecticut for the Atlantic Division’s final guaranteed postseason bid. Both teams now have 16 games remaining.
Nineteen-year old defenseman Dmitry Orlov gave Hershey an initial lead when he scored his first career AHL goal 7:35 into the contest, but Sharks rearguard Jon Landry tied it back up less than four minutes later.
Brandon Mashinter’s unassisted tally midway through the second period gave the Sharks a 2-1 edge, and Irwin made it 3-1 with 8:13 gone in the third frame. Bears forward Maxime Lacroix pulled his club closer at 12:28, but Hershey could not get the equalizer and is now winless in three straight outings (0-2-0-1).
Sharks goaltender Tyson Sexsmith earned the victory with 31 saves on 33 shots, improving to 2-2-1 in five AHL appearances for the season.
CHICAGO 3, PEORIA 2 (SO)
Chicago defenseman Mark Matheson tied the game with just two seconds left in regulation, and the Wolves then got shootout goals from Ryan Garbutt and Jason Krog en route to a 3-2 win over visiting Peoria on Wednesday at Allstate Arena.
The Wolves improved to 8-2-1-1 in their last 11 games and moved to 34-25-3-5 (76 points) overall, good for a three-point edge on San Antonio and Oklahoma City for the Western Conference’s crossover playoff spot, although both of those clubs still hold multiple games in hand.
Chicago is also now just one point back of the Rivermen and Texas, who are tied for third place in the division.
Krog cut the Wolves’ deficit in half with a man-advantage marker of his own at 13:15 of the second frame, and it remained a 2-1 contest until Matheson’s late heroics.