Hartford snaps Bridgeport's franchise-record 15-game point streak at home
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (22-12-4-2), proud affiliate of the New York Islanders, received goals from defensemen Mitch Vande Sompel and Kyle Burroughs on Saturday, but were unable to extend their point streak at home beyond 15 games in a 4-2 loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack (18-17-2-2) in front of 6,622 fans at Webster Bank Arena.
In net, Jeremy Smith (12-7-2) stopped 25 of the 29 shots he faced, while Hartford's Marek Mazanec (7-6-2) made 22 saves on Military Appreciation Night. The Sound Tigers dropped nine points behind the Charlotte Checkers for the Atlantic Division's top spot following their first regulation loss at home in nearly three months (since Oct. 13).
The opening minutes of play were skated at a high tempo and the scoring began early in the first period. Just 3:35 into the contest, Hartford's Peter Holland broke out of his team's own zone along the left half-boards. He skated across the Sound Tigers' blue line and through the left circle before wristing a shot past Smith's blocker to put the Wolf Pack up 1-0. The goal was Holland's team-leading 15th of the season and pushed his point streak to seven games.
The Sound Tigers answered with offensive-zone pressure from the Stephen Gionta, Kieffer Bellows and Steve Bernier unit, but the closest they came to tying the game was off of Bellows' wrister from the shot that rang iron at 13:17.
Hartford doubled its lead at 16:58 of the opening period after Lias Andersson muscled his way to the front of the net and Tim Gettinger shoveled home his ninth goal of the season. Then with just 40 seconds remaining in the period, Bernier received a match penalty for a check to the head of Steven Fogarty and Connor Jones hit Bridgeport's second post of the period (shorthanded) as time expired.
Hartford continued to pressure the Sound Tigers in the middle frame and grabbed a 3-0 lead at the 10:06 mark. Ryan Gropp stole the puck from Yannick Rathgeb in the neutral zone and wheeled over the blue line, beating Smith's right shoulder for his third tally of the season.
The Sound Tigers answered less than two minutes later to make it 3-1 on Vande Sompel's sixth tally of the season. Tanner Fritz found Vande Sompel at the point and the second-year defenseman directed a shot towards the net as he was hit up high. Although it initially looked more like a pass to the slot, the puck stayed flat on the ice and carried through traffic to squeak under Mazanec's pads. The goal extended Vande Sompel's point streak to three games.
Bridgeport picked up right where it left off to begin the third period when Burroughs made it a 3-2 contest just 58 seconds in. After Parker Wotherspoon gloved down a clearing-attempted puck in the offensive zone, Travis St. Denis found Burroughs at the right hash marks. Stephen Gionta created a screen in front and Burroughs wristed a shot past both the screen and Mazanec's glove, for his second of the season.
On the ensuing shift, Ryan Lindgren took a holding penalty to put the Sound Tigers on the power play, but it was Hartford that found the back of the net while shorthanded. Gabriel Fontaine stripped the puck at his own blue line, carried into the offensive zone and fired a shot off the bar and in to give the Wolf Pack a 4-2 lead at 2:43.
The Sound Tigers were a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill, but went 0-for-5 on the power play.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers take to the road next week where they will face Charlotte in back-to-back games starting on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at Bojangles Coliseum. The pucks at 7 p.m. on Tuesday from the Queen City. Fans can follow all of the live action online via the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHLTV, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.
Packed Promotional Lineup: The Sound Tigers boast one of their most extensive and wide-ranging promotional schedules ever for the 2018-19 season. The fan-friendly calendar includes the return of popular themes like Hockey and Hops (Mar. 17), Star Wars Night (Jan. 19) and Princess Night (Mar. 30). Regional hockey fans will also be elated for the addition of Hockey Weekend in Connecticut (Feb. 23-24). View the full 2018-19 promotional schedule.
For additional details or to reserve a group outing for any giveaway or theme night, please call the Sound Tigers' front office at (203) 345-2300 ext 7.
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