Bridgeport storms back with four goals in the third period to earn point on Wednesday
HARTFORD, Conn. - The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (23-17-5-2), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, scored four times in the third period and stormed back to force overtime against the Hartford Wolf Pack (22-20-4-3) on Wednesday, but suffered a 5-4 loss at the XL Center.
It was the first time Bridgeport has scored four goals in a frame this season and it helped the club capture one point in its second of three morning games. Mitch Vande Sompel, Ryan Bourque, Steve Bernier and John Stevens all scored against Hartford's Alexandre Georgiev, but the Sound Tigers fell to 5-1-0-2 against the Wolf Pack this season.
Hartford jumped out to an early three-goal lead after 20 minutes, scoring twice at even strength and once on the power play. Lias Andersson made it 1-0 at the 7:58 mark when the 19-year-old forward cleaned up a loose puck to the side of a stretched-out Christopher Gibson. Ryan Graves unleashed a slap shot from the left point that Gibson stopped with his left pad, but the rebound came free and Andersson nudged it home for his first pro goal in North America.
Scott Kosmachuk capitalized on a turnover in Bridgeport's defense zone just 57 seconds later and doubled Hartford's advantage with his 11th goal of the season. Kosmachuk telegraphed a pass between Kyle Burroughs and Parker Wotherspoon behind the blue line and skated below the right hash marks, where he fired a shot past Gibson's glove at 8:55.
The Wolf Pack made it 3-0 at the 11:37 mark with their first of two power-play tallies on the afternoon, and the first of two goals from Ryan Sproul. Just nine seconds after Ryan Bourque was called for hooking, Sproul wound up at the left point and wired a slap shot over Gibson's glove, assisted by Neal Pionk and Andersson. The tally chased Gibson from the crease and Kristers Gudlevskis was called upon in relief.
Hartford's power play continued its strong performance early in the second period and converted for the second time to make it 4-0. Following a holding penalty against Ben Holmstrom, Adam Tambellini slipped a cross-ice pass from the left wing to the right circle, where Filip Chytil went down to a knee and guided a one-time shot past Gudlevskis. It was his eighth goal of the season and second on the power play this year.
Aside from Chytil's tally, Gudlevskis limited the damage in the middle frame and helped Bridgeport turn the tides to generate a fierce offensive comeback in the third period. Vande Sompel began the rally at the 2:03 mark when he snuck to the back door and finished a diagonal pass from Kellen Jones below the goal line with a one-time shot.
Twenty-six seconds later, Bourque cut the deficit to a pair when he navigated his way between the circles while Bernier drew a substantial amount of attention down low. Bernier created an opening and fed a pass to the slot, where Bourque smashed it home for his seventh goal of the season.
The score remained 4-2 heading into the final 2:17 when head coach Brent Thompson opted to pull Gudlevskis for the extra attacker. His gamble paid off in a big way, as Bernier continued the comeback and made it 4-3 at the 18:29 mark. Shortly after a faceoff win to the left of Georgiev, Parker Wotherspoon fired a slap shot from the parameter that Bourque touched in the slot and redirected to Bernier below the left hash marks, where he notched his 12th tally of the season and first since Jan. 12.
Stevens knotted the game at 4-4 in the final minute with a wrist shot from the left circle that filtered between Georgiev's blocker and the near post for his third of the season. Jones and Michael Dal Colle each received an assist at the 19:11 mark.
Despite Bridgeport's impressive rally, Hartford bounced back and pocketed the extra point when Sproul completed a series of tic-tac-toe passes and beat a diving Gudlevskis for the 5-4 final. Andersson charged ahead and advanced a pass to the stick of Kosmachuk, who quickly continued it to Sproul on the left wing for a speedy wrist shot on the near side. It was Sproul's ninth goal of the season and second on the afternoon.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 0-for-3 on the power play and 1-for-3 on the penalty kill. Gudlevskis (6-8-5) made 16 saves on 18 shots in 50:32 of relief, while Georgiev (11-11-6) turned back 33 chances and helped the Wolf Pack to their sixth straight win at home.
Bridgeport outshot Hartford 37-24.
Pink in the Rink: The Sound Tigers return to action this Saturday with a 7 p.m. puck drop against the Providence Bruins at Webster Bank Arena. The overall theme of Saturday's contest is much bigger than the game itself as Bridgeport will partner with the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative and celebrate Pink in the Rink, benefiting breast cancer awareness and research, with a pre-game wine tasting party. A special ticket package is available now through Friday at 3 p.m. that includes a seat at the game, access to the tasting party and a wine glass for $30. Click here for more information.
Lunchbox Giveaway: The first 2,500 kids, ages 14 and younger, will take home a Sound Tigers' lunchbox this Sunday against the Syracuse Crunch when doors open at 4 p.m., courtesy of the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The weekend finale will feature the first of two meetings between the Sound Tigers and Tampa Bay's affiliate, and the only matchup at Webster Bank Arena this season. Great seats are on sale now.
Don't Go It Alone: Whether it's a corporate outing, a fundraiser, or just friends getting together, a group outing with the Sound Tigers will guarantee an unforgettable experience filled with fast-paced action on the ice, great music, promotions and contests at an affordable price. The Sound Tigers have a variety of packages and promotional events to offer. Please call the team's front office at 203-345-2300 ext. 7 for more information on the benefits of bringing your group to a future game!
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