UTICA, N.Y. - Charles Hudon of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Brendan Leipsic of the Milwaukee Admirals and Mark McNeill of the Rockford IceHogs had hat tricks to lead the Western Conference to a 14-12 victory over the Eastern Conference on Monday in the American Hockey League's All-Star Classic.
Hudon, the Montreal Canadiens' fifth-round pick in the 2012 NHL draft, leads the AHL in rookie scoring with 36 points in 43 games. He shared MVP honours with goalie Jacob Markstrom of the host Utica Comets. Utica is the minor-league affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks.
Shane Prince of the Binghamton Senators had a hat trick for the Eastern Conference.
It was the highest-scoring all-star game in league history, breaking the record of 25 combined goals set in 2009, as the AHL followed the lead of their NHL big brothers, who set a record with a 29-goal all-star game the night before.
With the Western Conference clinging to a one-goal lead with seven minutes left in the third period, Oklahoma City goalie Richard Bachman stopped Portland's Brendan Shinnimin on a breakaway. Leipsic and McNeill completed their hat tricks in the next 53 seconds as the West pulled away.
Markstrom stopped 16-of-18 shots in the first period. The only Eastern Conference player to beat him was Shinnimin, who scored twice.
After falling behind 6-4, the Western Conference reeled off six unanswered goals in a seven-minute span of the second period to go out in front, 10-6. The run ended when Hudon popped a puck up to himself to split two defenders and scored on the backhand move Peter Forsberg made famous in the 1994 Olympics.
There were two penalty shots in the game.
After being hooked by Norfolk's Chris Wagner on a breakaway, Varone was stopped by Manchester's Jean-Francois Berube in the second period.
In the third, after being hooked by Rockford's T.J. Brennan, Wagner converted on his penalty shot, beating Bachman with a slap shot from the right hash marks. Wagner's goal brought the East to within one goal at 11-10 with 13:56 to go, but the West never gave up the lead.