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The Sound Tigers Report: Week 24

Bridgeport sits five points out of a playoff spot with nine games remaining

by Alan Fuehring AlanFuehring / New York Islanders

Bridgeport Sound Tigers: 39-24-3-1 (82 points), 5th in Atlantic Division, 5th in Eastern Conference

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers pocketed three points in a trio of road games last week as the regular season dwindles down to its final nine games. Bridgeport continues to sit fifth in the Atlantic Division standings, five points behind the Providence Bruins and Hershey Bears for the final playoff spot.

The Sound Tigers kicked off a season-long, six-game road trip on the right foot Wednesday by scoring three unanswered goals and earning a 3-1 win over the Albany Devils in their last trip to Times Union Center. Bracken Kearns, Ryan Pulock and Ben Holmstrom each found the back of the net, while Jaroslav Halak (17-7-3) was stellar between the pipes, stopping 26 of the 27 shots he faced.

On Saturday, a resilient Sound Tigers group notched three goals in the third period, including two from Andrew Rowe, but suffered a 4-3 setback to the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center. Kellen Jones added his fifth tally of the season as Bridgeport nearly fought back from a three-goal deficit in the final frame, but it wasn't enough as the Wolf Pack snapped a nine-game losing streak. Carter Verhaeghe chipped in two assists for the Sound Tigers.

Bridgeport capped the weekend on Sunday by earning a hard-fought point in Lehigh Valley, but the club suffered a 4-3 overtime loss to the Phantoms at the PPL Center. Rowe, Tim Wallace and Ross Johnston each scored as Bridgeport built a two-goal lead after the second period, but Lehigh Valley stormed back with three unanswered goals, including Andy Miele's overtime winner with less than 35 seconds left in the extra frame.

The Sound Tigers wrap up their six-game road swing this week, beginning with a 7:05 p.m. matchup against the Springfield Thunderbirds tomorrow night at the MassMutual Center. The trip shifts to Pennsylvania this weekend for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader against the Phantoms and Bears. Fans can follow all of the upcoming action via , beginning with the pre-game show 15 minutes before each listed start time.

The Sound Tigers signed college free agents John Stevens and Matt Gaudreau.

The Week Ahead:
at Springfield Thunderbirds (27-29-9-2)-Wednesday, Mar. 29 at 7:05 p.m.

Bridgeport at Lehigh Valley Phantoms (43-20-4-0) - Friday, Mar. 31 at 7:05 p.m.

Bridgeport at Hershey Bears (38-19-8-3) - Saturday, Apr. 1 at 7 p.m.  

News and Notes:
Rowe Boat:
Seventh-year forward Andrew Rowe has three goals in his last two games, including his second multi-goal performance of the season last Saturday in Hartford. The 29-year-old also boasts AHL career highs in games played (57), goals (13), assists (20) and points (33) this season. Rowe is currently tied for fifth on the Sound Tigers in goal scoring.  

Cruising the Atlantic: Each of the Sound Tigers' last nine games will take place in the Atlantic Division. Bridgeport still has three games remaining against the Springfield Thunderbirds as well as two games left against the Providence Bruins. The Sound Tigers will face the Hartford Wolf Pack, Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Hershey Bears and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins one more time each.   

Quick Hits: The Sound Tigers magic number to clinch a playoff spot is "22"… Devon Toews leads all AHL rookies with 35 assists this season… Bracken Kearns leads Bridgeport in goals (22), points (47) and plus-minus (+20)... Six of Bridgeport's last nine games will take place on the road… Ryan Pulock is tied for ninth among league defensemen with 39 points (13 goals, 26 assists)... He has 17 points (three goals, 14 assists) in his last 17 games.

Playoff Picture (Atlantic Division)
1. Wilkes-Bare/Scranton Penguins (46-18-3-0) = 95 points - Magic #: 5
2. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (43-20-4-0) = 90 points - Magic #: 11
3. Providence Bruins (39-19-5-4) = 87 points - Magic #: 14
4. Hershey Bears (38-19-8-3) = 87 points - Magic #: 14
5. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (39-24-3-1) = 82 points - Magic #: 22
6. Springfield Thunderbirds (27-29-9-2) = 65 points - Eliminated
7. Hartford Wolf Pack (22-39-4-2) = 50 points - Eliminated

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