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Bentivoglio’s trick leads Sound Tigers to playoff berth


BRIDGEPORT 5, ALBANY 3

Sean Bentivoglio, who hadn’t tallied a multiple-goal game all season, netted his first professional hat trick to pace Bridgeport to a 5-3 road win over Albany on Tuesday at the Times Union Center. The Sound Tigers officially clinched a Calder Cup Playoff spot with the victory and will return to postseason play for the first time since 2006.

Bentivoglio scored two of Bridgeport’s three first-period goals, with Michael Haley picking up the other. A 23-year-old second-year pro, Bentivoglio then completed the hat trick at 4:46 of the second period, a goal that stood up as the game-winner.

Jon Sim added a goal and two helpers for the Sound Tigers, and 2009 AHL All-Star defenseman Andrew MacDonald chipped in three assists.

Bridgeport goaltender Nathan Lawson stopped 34 of 37 shots to pick up the 18th victory of his rookie season (18-9-2).

Cory Quirk and defenseman Jamie McBain scored their first career AHL goals for the River Rats, and Bobby Hughes also found the back of the net.

The Sound Tigers halted a season-high three-game regulation losing skid and moved two points up on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for second place in the East Division, though Bridgeport has played two more games.


HOUSTON 6, IOWA 2
Six different players netted goals as Houston captured a 6-2 road decision over Iowa on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Arena.

The Aeros took leads of 1-0 and 2-1 on a pair of shorthanded goals, with Jason Ryznar and Benoit Pouliot doing the honors.

Iowa responded to tie it on both occasions. Troy Bodie and Petteri Wirtanen scored for the Chops, the latter also a shorthanded marker, and new defenseman Mark Mitera assisted on both scores in his professional debut.

Maxim Noreau’s power play goal 17:40 into the second period gave Houston the lead for good, and Tony Hrkac, Corey Locke, and Danny Irmen added third-period scores to pad the lead. Irmen’s tally went into an empty net and also came shorthanded, the third of the night for an Aeros team that entered with five shorthanders on the season.

Locke, who assisted on Noreau’s game-winner, established a new career high with 73 points (25-48-73) on the season, eclipsing the 72 that he registered with Hamilton last season.

The victory lifted the Aeros (37-27-1-9, 84 points) two points up on Peoria for second place in the West Division race.