West rallies for All-Star sweep

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. … Down by four goals early, the Western Conference rallied for an 8-7 shootout victory over the Eastern Conference at the 2012 AHL All-Star Game at historic Boardwalk Hall tonight.

Chris Terry of the Charlotte Checkers led the West offense with two goals and an assist and Ben Bishop of the Peoria Rivermen stopped 10 of 11 shots in the third period before denying all four East shootout attempts. Bishop, who is 18-12-0 with a league-leading six shutouts for Peoria this season, was named the 2012 AHL All-Star Game MVP.

The Eastern Conference raced out to a 6-2 lead after one period but the West began rallying in the second period, cutting the deficit to 6-5 after a scoreless period by Oklahoma City’s Yann Danis — the first shutout period in All-Star play since Ryan Miller, Antero Niittymaki and Jason LaBarbera all put up zeroes in the 2005 contest.

The East still held a 7-5 advantage before Peoria’s T.J. Hensick and Chicago’s Kevin Connauton scored late in the third period to tie the game. Hensick and Texas rookie Matt Fraser then scored in the shootout to lift the West to victory.

Rookie Cory Conacher of the Norfolk Admirals recorded two goals and an assist for the East, and Connecticut Whale teammates Mats Zuccarello and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault notched a goal and two assists apiece.

Corey Locke of the Binghamton Senators and Keith Aucoin of the Hershey Bears both tied an American Hockey League, appearing in their sixth career All-Star Games.

The road to the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs continues when the American Hockey League’s 76th season resumes on Thursday.