Trail native Travis St. Denis scored the game-winning goal as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers clinched their first postseason berth in three years on Saturday with a 4-3 win against the Providence Bruins at Webster Bank Arena.
The victory ensures the 41-23-6-3 Tigers will make their first Calder Cup Playoff appearance since 2016 and its ninth overall in team history. It was also the first time the N.Y. Islanders affiliate solidified a playoff spot at home since 2012.
Ryan Bourque scored twice for the second time this season and St. Denis notched his fifth game-winning goal, while Paul Carey had two first-period tallies for the P-Bruins.
St. Denis has 16 goals and 40 points in 72 games and is in his third season with the Tigers. Montrose native Connor Jones also plays for the Atlantic Division’s second-place team, compiling six goals and five assists in his fifth AHL campaign.
The top-four seeds in each division earn a playoff spot with the top seed playing the fourth seed, and no. 2 vs no. 3 seed. If the season ended today, the Tigers would play the Hershey Bears in the first round of the AHL playoffs.
Trail’s Jake Lucchini and his Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are five points out of a playoff spot with three games remaining. Mathematically, the Penguins have a shot if they win out and the Bears lose all three of their remaining games. However unlikely, Lucchini has made the most of his time in Wilkes-Barre netting four goals and an assist in 12 games with the Pens.
In Springfield, the Thunderbirds are out of playoff contention, but Nelson product Dryden Hunt scored 22 goals and 41 points in 43 games this season, while also seeing time with the NHL Florida Panthers. Hunt played in 31 games with the Panthers this year, tallying three goals and 10 points.