-It’s been an up and down year for the Portland Pirates, but this weekend was a big leap for them, who extended their winning streak to four games with big wins over the Springfield Falcons 5-3 on Friday and a 1-0 shootout win over the Providence Bruins. Mike McKenna got the nod both games, stopping 57 of 60 shots on the weekend, with a 34-save shootout win on Saturday. Justin Hodgman was the offensive star with three assists on Sunday, while Lucas Lessio added a goal and assist in Friday’s win. The four-game win streak has boosted the Pirates to 2nd in the Atlantic Division.
-Working overtime was the big thing for the Syracuse Crunch, who came away with two wins– one in a shootout on Friday and in overtime Saturday– to help them close the gap between them and the Springfield Falcons. Andrei Vasilevskiy was stellar Friday with 35 saves, while Kevin Lynch ended the 10-round shootout between the two teams. On Saturday, Mike Blunden was the star with a hat-trick on six shots, while Jonathan Marchessault scored the game winner with 12 seconds left in overtime.
-With points in their last six games, including two this weekend, the Ontario Reign are on top of the Pacific Division right now. Geoff Walker had three goals and an assist in wins over the Bakersfield Condors and Stockton Thunder, while Gasper Kopitar (1g, 2a) and Rocco Carzo (0g, 3a) added three points of their own on the weekend. Jussi Olkinuora and Joe Cannata split the duties for the weekend and each took away a win.
-There were power outages at home for the Indy Fuel and Colorado Eagles. The Fuel only scored a goal a game in losses to the Reading Royals and Toledo Walleye, while the Eagles were shutout in both games against the Idaho Steelheads. Indy’s defense gave up 29 shots on goal each game with letting up eight goals against Toledo and three against Reading, Mac Carruth trying to hold the fort after Cody Reichard’s rough start Friday night– but with little success. The Eagles let up seven goals on the weekend with 57 shots let up on Doug Carr and Clarke Saunders.
-Despite getting trounced by the Pensacola Ice Flyers Friday night, the Mississippi RiverKings took the home-and-home against the Louisiana Ice Gators. Dan Delisle had the game-winning goal Saturday and a hat-trick Sunday to help boost the RiverKings, with added help on Sunday from Sean Jones— who had two goals of his own. The two wins also added to the five wins in the last six games they’ve had– putting them in the hunt for the playoffs as they have finally caught the tail end of the field.
-Woe are the Huntsville Havoc, who lost three straight games to the Fayetteville FireAntz; a team who lost both their goalies in the past week. While the first loss was on New Year’s Eve, the weekend wasn’t good for the Havoc as they dropped a 4-2 and 4-3 decisions to the FireAntz. Drew Akins has been showing some life for the Havoc with a goal and two assists this weekend– putting him at eight points in eight games with the Havoc; while Jacob Johnstone scored three goals on the weekend. The Havoc only have four wins on the year, one win in their last 17 games, and points in five of those 17 games.