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West Notes: Aeros striking first

 

 Also see… East Notes 

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Five of Abbotsford’s last six home games have been decided by a one-goal margin, and four of the six have extended to a shootout… The Heat collected their AHL-leading fifth shootout victory on Tuesday, a 3-2 win over Lake Erie… Goaltender Leland Irving, who earned a 23-save shutout vs. the Monsters on Wednesday, has gone 13 straight appearances without allowing more than two goals in a game since a 4-3 overtime win over Rochester on Oct. 25… Irving leads the league with 13 wins (13-7-1) and has jumped into the top-10 with his 2.11 goals-against average… Abbotsford hosts Chicago for a pair of games this weekend.
 
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Chicago dropped to 0-3-0-0 vs. San Antonio this season with a 5-2 loss on Wednesday… The Wolves are still 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 games overall but just 3-3-0-0 in their last six… Jason Krog’s five-game scoring streak (2-6-8) came to an end in the loss to the Rampage, but Jared Ross extended his goal-scoring run to three contests (3-0-3)… Darren Haydar has a point in five of his last six (2-8-10), and Haydar’s 27 points (11-16-27) are tied with Krog (6-21-27) for the club lead… Chicago has the AHL’s worst penalty kill (73.1 percent), but the Wolves rank among the league leaders with five shorthanded goals… The Wolves visit Abbotsford for a two-game weekend set.
 
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Last weekend’s two-game set vs. San Antonio kicked off a 10-game December home slate for the Griffins, marking only the second time in 10 AHL seasons that they’ve played 10 home contests in December (also in Dec. 2007)… Francis Pare now has 103 points (46-57-103) in his Grand Rapids career, making him the 14th player to reach the century-mark… Ilari Filppula is riding a four-game scoring streak on the heels of an eight-game drought and is part of a three-way tie for the team lead with 20 points overall (10-10-20)… Grand Rapids ranks third in the AHL with six shorthanded goals after totaling eight all of last year… The Griffins host Texas twice this weekend, with a Saturday trip to Peoria in between.
 
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Hamilton has lost three straight games for the first time this season and is just 1-4-0-0 in its last five outings since earning a point in six in a row (5-0-0-1) from Nov. 16-26… The Bulldogs’ 4-3 loss at Rochester on Wednesday marked their first setback in four games against the Amerks this year (3-1-0-0)… Max Pacioretty remains red-hot and now boasts 11 goals in his last nine games (11-2-13), a stretch which began with a hat trick on his birthday Nov. 20 at Toronto… Pacioretty’s linemate David Desharnais has a point in four of his last five (1-5-6)… Hamilton visits Rochester again on Friday, has Saturday off, and hosts Toronto on Sunday in a game to be televised nationally on CBC (Canada) and the NHL Network (United States).
 
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Houston has now scored the first goal in 17 of its last 20 games and in a league-leading 19 of its 27 contests overall (14-3-0-2)… The Aeros are winless (0-7-1-0) when they surrender the game’s first tally… Houston is 4-1-0-0 in its last five games overall, with all four victories coming in either overtime or the shootout… Rookie Casey Wellman shows six points (1-5-6) in seven games since returning from missing 13 contests due to NHL recall to Minnesota… Goaltender Anton Khudobin is on a personal four-game winning streak and is 6-1-0 in his past seven decisions… The Aeros host San Antonio on Friday before kicking off a five-game road trip at Lake Erie on Sunday.
 
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Lake Erie is winless in three straight games (0-1-0-2), with all three losses coming by a one-goal margin… The Monsters have dropped four straight shootouts since prevailing in their first trip this year, a 2-1 decision at Syracuse back on Oct. 9… Matthew Ford’s three-game goal-scoring streak (3-0-3) ended on Wednesday in a 1-0 loss at Abbotsford… Jason Bacashihua matched his season high with 33 saves in that contest but took the tough-luck loss… Wednesday marked just the Monsters’ second regulation loss against a divisional opponent (6-2-0-2), while Lake Erie is just 4-8-2-2 vs. the West Division… The Monsters host Toronto and Houston this weekend…
 
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Manitoba has dropped back-to-back games for the first time since a season-high three-game skid from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2… The Moose have just two wins in their last seven outings (2-3-0-2)… At 12-9-0-3 (27 points), Manitoba sits in a tie for fifth in the North Division but has played fewer games (24) than anyone else in the division… Manitoba’s 37 shots on net in Saturday’s 4-0 loss to Oklahoma City marked the most the Moose had fired in a shutout defeat since taking 50 shots in a 1-0 loss to Syracuse on Mar. 6, 2004… The Moose continue a four-game southern road trip in Oklahoma City and San Antonio this weekend.
 
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With top goaltender Mark Dekanich (10-3-3, 1.71, .941, 3 SO) on NHL recall to Nashville, rookie Jeremy Smith has earned three straight starts for the first time this season (1-2-0)… Chet Pickard appeared in relief on Friday vs. Grand Rapids for his first AHL appearance since Oct. 24… Chris Mueller’s four-game scoring streak (4-3-7) ended on Wednesday at Grand Rapids, but Jamie Lundmark now has a point in three of his last four (1-4-5)… Rookie Ryan Thang notched his first goal of the season on Wednesday; Thang had four goals in 19 regular season and playoff games for Milwaukee late last season… The Admirals visit Rockford on Friday before hosting Texas and Oklahoma City to close the weekend.
 
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Oklahoma City has lost three consecutive shootouts after emerging victorious in its first two trips to the shootout this season… In his second game back following an NHL stint with Edmonton, Martin Gerber posted a 37-save shutout at Manitoba in a 4-0 win on Saturday… Linus Omark, who paces the Barons with 26 points (13-13-26), earned his first NHL recall on Wednesday… Colin McDonald already has 12 goals in 26 games this season (12-3-15), matching his career high set in both 2007-08 and 2009-10 with Springfield… The Barons are 7-2-0-1 against North Division opponents thus far… Oklahoma City hosts Manitoba on Friday and then visits Rockford and Milwaukee to close the weekend.
 
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Rookie goaltender Jake Allen allowed a season-high five goals and saw his personal five-game winning streak come to an end on Sunday in a 5-4 overtime loss to Milwaukee… That also halted the Rivermen’s four-game win streak as a team… Peoria does still have a point in a season-best nine straight games (7-0-2-0) and is four points back of San Antonio for the West Division’s top spot… T.J. Hensick has five assists in three games since returning from NHL recall; the two-time AHL All-Star’s 20 points in just 16 games (6-14-20) are tied with Graham Mink (8-12-20 in 22 GP) for the team lead… Derek Nesbitt has tallied a goal in four of his last five contests (4-1-5)… The Rivermen host Grand Rapids on Saturday in their lone game of the weekend.
 
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Following Wednesday’s 4-3 win over Hamilton, Rochester will go for its first two-game winning streak since a three-game run from Oct. 26-30 when it hosts the Bulldogs again on Friday… Signed to a tryout agreement earlier in the day, veteran Bates Battaglia posted an assist in his Americans debut on Wednesday… Leading scorer Michal Repik (4-22-26), who has 0-4-4 in three games since returning from the NHL, has not gone more than two straight games without a point all season… The Amerks sit last in the North Division at 11-13-1-0 but are still just nine points back of first-place Hamilton… Rochester plays a home-and-home with Binghamton to close the weekend.
 
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Rockford set a team record for goals in a game in its AHL era with an 8-5 win over Texas on Wednesday… The IceHogs had entered the game ranked 29th in the AHL in offense and had scored eight goals in their previous four goals combined… Second-year defenseman Brian Connelly, who is tied for the team lead with 16 points (3-13-16), notched his first career two-goal game on Dec. 2 at Houston… At the time, that also marked the first two-goal effort by an IceHog this season; Kyle Hagel then scored twice in Wednesday’s contest – his first two career AHL goals… Rockford continues a seven-game homestand this weekend vs. Milwaukee and Oklahoma City.
 
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San Antonio has scored six power play goals on its last 15 opportunities (40.0 percent), and the Rampage’s season power play ranks first in the AHL both on the road (30.8 percent) and overall (24.2 percent)… Andrew Ebbett is on a four-game scoring streak (2-6-8) and has picked up a point in 12 of his 16 games for San Antonio on the season (4-13-17) while also appearing in six games for parent-club Phoenix… The Rampage are 3-0 in shootouts this year and have converted seven of their 12 attempts for a league-best 58.3 percent success rate… San Antonio, winners of four straight and 11 of 13 (11-2-0-0), visits Houston on Friday before hosting Manitoba on Saturday.
 
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Rookie goaltender Richard Bachman (9-4-1, 2.01, .931) was called up to NHL Dallas on Wednesday, and the Stars then allowed a franchise-record eight goals that night in an 8-5 loss at Rockford… That brought an end to Texas’ five-game points streak (3-0-1-1)… Defenseman Dan Spang snapped a 17-game goal-scoring drought with a pair of tallies on Wednesday… Raymond Sawada (2-1-3), Cody Chupp (2-2-4), and Sean Backman (1-3-4) are each riding three-game scoring streaks… The Stars, who are in the midst of playing six games in an eight-day span, visit Grand Rapids on Friday, Milwaukee on Saturday, and then Grand Rapids again on Sunday.
 
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With back-to-back 5-1 losses to Chicago and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Toronto has dropped consecutive games in regulation for the first time since a three-game skid from Oct. 24-30… Since a 6-4 win over Abbotsford on Friday, the Marlies have totaled four goals in three games… Justin Hodgman notched the Marlies’ lone goal on Wednesday in Wilkes-Barre and continues to lead the club in scoring with 16 points (7-9-16) in 23 games for the season… That goal snapped a 10-game scoring drought for Hodgman… Toronto continues a four-game road trip with stops at Lake Erie and Hamilton this weekend.