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Sound Tigers top Pirates, tighten East Division race

Sunday’s Boxscores

Bridgeport jumped to a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes and cruised to a 5-2 win over visiting Portland in a Sunday afternoon tilt before 5,575 fans at the Arena at Harbor Yard.

With the win, the Sound Tigers extended their points streak to seven games (5-0-0-2) – matching a season high – and moved within two points of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for second place in the East Division race. Bridgeport is five points back of division-leading Hershey.

Ben Walter scored a pair of goals for the Sound Tigers after entering with just two markers in his previous 16 games combined, and he extended his point-scoring streak to five games (3-3-6).

Pascal Morency opened the scoring with his first goal of the season just 2:18 into the contest, and Mike Iggulden’s 21st goal of the campaign made it 2-0 at 5:47.

Portland’s Colin Murphy cut the deficit in half at 15:42, but Walter’s first of the afternoon came just 1:57 later to regain the Sound Tigers’ two-goal edge.

Walter and Tyler Haskins added second-period tallies for Bridgeport, while the Pirates received a third-period marker from Felix Schutz, who along with Murphy finished with a goal and a helper on the afternoon.

Jesse Joensuu chipped in two assists for the Sound Tigers, and rookie goaltender Nathan Lawson earned the victory with 21 saves on 23 shots.

The Pirates are now winless in four straight games (0-3-1-0), their longest slump since dropping four straight in regulation from Nov. 22-29.

Rookie Michael Swift scored at 4:38 of overtime to send Lowell to a 4-3 win over visiting Worcester on Sunday at Tsongas Arena.

Rod Pelley scored twice and Matt Halischuk posted a goal and an assist in regulation for the Devils, who moved one point up on the Sharks for the Atlantic Division’s fourth and final playoff spot.

Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond chipped in two helpers for the Devils, and goaltender Jeff Frazee made 28 saves in the winning effort.

Riley Armstrong, Mike Moore, and Ryan Vesce all netted goals for the Sharks, who dropped to 1-5-1-0 in their last seven games.

Grand Rapids held off a late San Antonio rally to emerge with a 5-4 win over the visiting Rampage on Sunday at Van Andel Arena.

Mike Walsh and Aaron Gagnon each registered a goal and an assist for the Griffins, who also received markers from Jan Mursak, Darren Haydar, and defenseman Logan Myett.

Mattias Ritola, Justin Abdelkader, and Aaron Downey each chipped in a pair of helpers, and goaltender Jimmy Howard picked up the victory with 32 saves.

The Rampage fell behind by a 5-2 count in the third period, but Sean Sullivan and captain Jeff Hoggan scored to make it 5-4. But San Antonio could not get the equalizer and dropped to 3-5-2-2 on its marathon 13-game road trip, which ends on Tuesday in Iowa.

With the win, the Griffins moved within two points of Manitoba for first place in the North Division and the entire AHL.

Syracuse halted a three-game losing skid with a 3-1 road win over Hamilton on Sunday at Copps Coliseum.

Nick Holden snapped a 1-1 tie at 9:53 of the third period with his first career AHL goal, and Steve Kelly added an insurance marker at the 14:41 mark.

Ryan Kinasewich’s first goal of the season initially gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead 15:10 into the contest, but Derek MacKenzie tallied the equalizer for Syracuse on the power play at 19:57 of the second.

Crunch goaltender Dan LaCosta made 34 saves to earn his first AHL win since Jan. 23.

Brodie Dupont scored with 5.2 seconds left in regulation to break a 2-2 tie and give Hartford a 3-2 road win over Manchester on Sunday at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

The Wolf Pack took a 2-0 lead in the first period on the strength of goals from Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau (power play) and Mike Ouellette.

But the Monarchs rebounded in the middle frame, as Brian Boyle scored on the power play 4:03 into the frame, and Oscar Moller’s first goal of the season came at 19:53 to tie it.

Dupont’s third game-winner of the season was assisted by Artem Anisimov and Bobby Sanguinetti. Wolf Pack goaltender Matt Zaba earned the win with 35 saves in net.

Hartford (30-23-2-3, 65 points) matched a season high with its third straight win and moved two points up on Portland for second place in the Atlantic Division.

Julian Talbot netted a goal 3:01 into overtime to lift Peoria over visiting Quad City by a 2-1 count on Sunday at Carver Arena.

The Rivermen held a 1-0 lead for most of the afternoon, as Trent Whitfield gave them that advantage just 1:28 after the opening face-off, with assists going to newcomer Carl Corazzini and Steve Regier.

Quad City finally found the equalizer at 15:06 of the third frame, as Warren Peters scored shorthanded. It marked just the second shorthanded tally of the year for the Flames, a league low.

That set the stage for Talbot’s overtime goal, which made a winner of Peoria goaltender Ben Bishop, who made 20 saves on 21 shots.

The win pushed Peoria two points up on Quad City for sixth place in the West Division race. The Flames’ franchise-record six-game winning streak came to an end.

Chicago rallied from a 1-0 deficit to post a 2-1 win over visiting Manitoba on Sunday before 9,105 fans at Allstate Arena.

All three goals were scored in the second period. Defenseman Dylan Yeo’s first career AHL goal came on the power play to give Manitoba a 1-0 lead just 56 seconds into the stanza. Ex-Chicago forward Jason Krog picked up an assist on the score.

Rookie Spencer Machacek responded with a power play tally of his own for the Wolves at 2:54, and AHL All-Star Joe Motzko scored the eventual game-winner at the 10:12 mark.

Wolves goaltender Ondrej Pavelec earned the victory with a season-high 45 saves on 46 shots. With the win, Chicago (31-27-2-1, 65 points) moved into a tie with Houston for second place in the West Division, one point up on fourth-place Rockford, though the Aeros and IceHogs both have three games in hand on the Wolves.

Manitoba has now lost three straight games in regulation for the first time since Dec. 5-12 and will conclude its 10-game road trip on Tuesday in Milwaukee.

AHL All-Star defenseman Johnny Boychuk scored with 3:16 to go in regulation, snapping a 4-4 tie and sending Providence to a 5-4 win over visiting Springfield on Sunday at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Defenseman Jeff Penner registered a goal and an assist for the Bruins, while Kirk MacDonald, Zach Hamill, and Ned Lukacevic also lit the lamp. Wacey Rabbit and defenseman Kevin Schaeffer chipped in two assists apiece.

Springfield battled back from deficits of 1-0, 2-1, and 4-2, but ultimately could not recover from the final setback. Ryan Potulny and Shane Willis potted a goal and an assist for the Falcons, and Tim Sestito and defenseman Rob Bina also scored.

Bruins goaltender Kevin Regan earned the victory with 22 saves, helping Providence to its third win in as many days. The P-Bruins begin a season-high eight-game road swing on Tuesday in Manchester. 

Toronto ended a brief two-game losing skid with a 6-2 road win over Rochester on Sunday at the Blue Cross Arena, avenging a 3-2 loss to the Amerks at Ricoh Coliseum on Saturday.

Jiri Tlusty scored twice and added an assist for the Marlies, and Ben Ondrus also netted a pair of goals, his first tallies since Dec. 17.

Jeremy Williams and Bates Battaglia added markers in the winning effort, while Tim Stapleton and Alex Foster each chipped in a pair of assists.

Toronto goaltender Adam Munro earned the victory with 30 saves, helping the Marlies (28-21-2-5) maintain a six-point edge on Syracuse for fourth place in the North Division.

Michal Repik and Randall Gelech lit the lamp for the Americans, whose four-game points streak (3-0-0-1) came to an end.