The Sound Tigers were the only Eastern Conference team idle tonight, which gave the rest of the conference a chance to catch up in games played. It didn’t turn out to be a particularly great night for Bridgeport, though with everybody playing everybody else, it’s not going to be often that these nights go particularly well. At any rate, the only teams in the mix that still have a game in hand on Bridgeport are Portland, Rochester and Utica. (This should be fully updated shortly; you’ll know it has when Hershey has 67 games played and 87 points.)
The Sound Tigers’ closest pursuers, Portland, never trailed in annihilating Springfield, the Pirates’ second win in a row against the Falcons (Mike McKenna becomes the Pirates franchise’s winningest goalie). Bridgeport did get a bit of help in Allentown, though, with the thing the Sound Tigers couldn’t do themselves last night: the Phantoms held on for a 2-1 win over Hartford.
The Sound Tigers still lead Portland by two points for fourth in the Atlantic, but the Pirates still have a game in hand and, at the moment, would have the tiebreaker, 34 non-shootout wins to 33. (You knew that Tuesday-morning game was going to be big, anyway, and so will be the game up in Maine.) Hartford is four points behind Bridgeport, both with nine games remaining.
Providence shut out Wilkes-Barre in Pennsylvania, so the Bruins move three points ahead of Bridgeport for third place. The Penguins stay six points ahead of the Sound Tigers in second, but Hershey’s shootout win over Albany slides the Bears into first place, two points up on the Penguins, now seven ahead of the Sound Tigers.
Crossover fun: Fourth North Syracuse beat Rochester 3-1 to move six points ahead of the Amerks, two behind third-place Utica, whose handy win over Binghamton included goals for Kellen Jones and Jon Landry. So that’s 73 points for the Crunch, four behind Portland, six behind Bridgeport. Syracuse, though, is one of the few teams with more games played than the Sound Tigers (and now most of the other teams), with eight games left.
St. John’s, meanwhile, is eight points behind Portland with seven games to play with four teams to jump (though it finishes with two games against one of them, Hartford). The hour’s growing late on the Rock.
Speaking of, it’s almost: Happy Easter. More Monday.