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Hot Team: Binghamton Senators
Robin Lehner built on a strong October with an even stronger November, posting a 5-0-0-1 record with a 1.48 goals-against average and .958 save percentage. His consistency has helped the Senators to a winning streak that reached eight games when they defeated division-leading Syracuse 5-2 on Sunday.
Stephane Da Costa, playing in his sixth game of the season, led the way with four points against Syracuse, including a hat trick. Rookie Shane Prince had three assists, giving him six points in 10 games.
Binghamton trails the Crunch by two points with two games in hand in the East Division. The Senators host Portland and Norfolk this weekend with a chance to run their streak to 10 games.
Cold Team: Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Bridgeport is winless in five and trail Springfield by seven points in the Northeast Division after going 10-4-0-0 to start the season. As a team that relies on physicality, the Sound Tigers are tied for the league lead in penalty minutes, but that style necessitates good penalty killing, which is something Bridgeport hasn’t had recently.
The Sound Tigers have allowed eight goals on 37 opportunities during their slump, a penalty-killing rate under 80%. They were shorthanded at least seven times in four of the six games.
Nino Niederreiter (20 points) and rookies Brock Nelson (16 points) and Johan Sundstrom (12 points) continue to produce on offense, but without a reliable penalty kill, their contributions aren’t enough to turn Bridgeport around.
Giant Killers: Hamilton Bulldogs
The Bulldogs may be mired in an injury-riddled lost season, sitting at the bottom of the North Division and 3-7-0-0 in their last 10, but on Saturday night, they did something no other team has done this season: they beat the Abbotsford Heat at home in regulation.
The Heat looked comfortable extending their home record to 9-0-1-1 with a 5-1 victory over Hamilton on Friday night, but Cedrick Desjardins made 24 saves on Saturday as the Bulldogs shut down an Abbotsford’s potent offense and earned a 3-0 win.
The Heat should regain their winning ways with a doubleheader against San Antonio this week, while Hamilton continues its road trip with games against Syracuse and Hershey this weekend.
Surveying the schedule:
- The Charlotte Checkers host Lake Erie twice on Thursday and Friday before Milwaukee comes to town on Sunday. The Checkers have lost four in a row and are in danger of losing the South Division lead to the Oklahoma City Barons or the surging Houston Aeros.
- The Rockford IceHogs host Milwaukee on Friday and Chicago on Saturday before travelling to Grand Rapids on Sunday. It’s a week of games against opponents who all have their eye on Rockford’s tenuous Midwest Division lead.