Highland Park Hockey's Morning Skate: Friday's Recaps & Saturday's Schedule 2/8

Saturday, February 8, 2014
Could Pierre-Luc Leblond and Zach Fitzgerald rematch this fight from earlier this season tonight?

Writers Note: In an attempt to better incorporate a broad scope of the American Hockey League (AHL) in my coverage to increase awareness of notable league-wide happenings moving forward, take a look at a new feature I plan on using on a regular basis in the very near future. Let me know your thoughts in the comments at the bottom of the article.

Friday Night Round Up

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton - 5, Portland - 1

Wilkes-Barre - The Penguins broke open a tied game early in the third period, scoring four goals in the first 8:47 of the final frame en route to a convincing 5-1 win over the Portland Pirates.

Andrew Ebbett, in his first game back with the AHL Penguins, scored two goals and assisted on another in the win. Newly acquired forward Spencer Machacek scored his first goal as a Penguin in his WBS debut. Eric Hartzell, who started his 6th straight game in net for the Pens, stopped 12 of the 13 shots he faced to improve to 10-5-1 on the season.

Next up for the Penguins is a home game Saturday with the Adirondack Phantoms before traveling to Hershey to take on the Bears at 5:00 p.m. EST on Sunday. The Pirates take on Hershey at the Giant Center on Saturday night to finish their weekend.

Rochester - 4, Hershey - 1

Rochester - The Rochester Americans continued to pick off teams in the East Division, defeating the Hershey Bears at home in another dominating game by the Amerks. After winning six straight games, the Bears have now lost two of their last three decisions.

Luke Adam joined the 20-goal club in the first period, putting the Amerks ahead 1-0 midway through the first period. The Bears responded shortly after with a game-tying power play goal from Jeff Taffe, but the Amerks regained the lead on the very next shift. They extended the lead to 3-1 in opening minute of the second period and tacked on another insurance goal in the third period en route to the 4-1 win.

Springfield - 4, Syracuse - 2

Springfield - In Paul Thompson's first game as a Springfield Falcon after being traded by the Penguins, the Falcons pull ahead early on the Syracuse Crunch and hold on for the win to extend their lead in the Northeast Division by 10 points over 2nd place Albany, becoming the third AHL team to 30 wins on the season.

The Falcons killed off a pair of first period Crunch power plays before taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Twice, Crunch forward Jon DiSalvatore brought the Crunch within one goal only to have the Falcons extend the lead back to two goals. DiSalvatore's 2nd tally, and 6th goal in 20 games this season, with 12:20 left made it a 3-2 game, before Falcons forward Michael Chaput tallied his 11th of the season to thwart the Crunch's hopes of a comeback.

Norfolk - 1, Hartford - 0

Norfolk - The Norfolk Admirals continue to keep pace in the East Division with the Penguins and division-leading Binghamton Senators, shutting out the Hartford Wolfpack behind a 25-save effort from John Gibson. It was the Pittsburgh native's 4th shutout in the AHL this season.

Chris Wagner broke a scoreless tie in the third period on one of Norfolk's two shots in the final frame, deflecting a Kevin Gagne point shot past David LeNeveu for the game's only goal. The Wolfpack had a chance to tie the game with 4:31 left in regulation on a power play opportunity, but were unsuccessful.

East Divsion Standings
1. Binghamton: 29-15-0-3 = 61 points
2. Penguins: 27-16-1-3 = 58 points
3. Norfolk: 25-14-1-7 = 58 points
4. Hershey: 24-16-3-3 = 54 points
5. Syracuse: 18-21-2-5 = 43 points

Saturday's Schedule - Eastern Conference

Adirondack @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at 7:05 p.m. EST

Worcester @ St. John's at 7:30 p.m. NST
Providence @ Manchester at 7:00 p.m. EST
Albany @ Bridgeport at 7:00 p.m. EST
Portland @ Hershey at 7:00 p.m. EST
Hamilton @ Binghamton at 7:00 p.m. EST

Springfield @ Syracuse at 7:00 p.m. EST
Hartford @ Norfolk at 7:15 p.m. EST

Eastern Conference Standings
*1. Manchester - 67 points
*2. Springfield - 65 points 
*3. Binghamton - 61 points
4. Penguins - 58 points 
5. Norfolk - 58 points
6. St. John's - 57 points 
7. Albany - 55 points
8. Providence - 55 points
9. Hershey - 54 points


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