Koivula scores Bridgeport's lone goal in Monday loss
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (23-15-4-2), proud affiliate of the New York Islanders, continued a five-game homestand with a 4-1 loss to the Hershey Bears (20-20-0-2) on Monday in a matinee matchup at Webster Bank Arena. Otto Koivula scored Bridgeport's lone tally on the power play late in the first period, while the Bears finished the game with four unanswered goals.
It was Hershey's fifth straight win and fourth in a row for goaltender Ilya Samsonov (9-11-0), while Jeremy Smith (11-8-4) suffered the loss with 25 saves on 29 shots for the Sound Tigers.
The contest began with an early penalty, as Bridgeport went to the kill only 15 seconds into the first period when Scott Eansor was called for tripping. The PK unit came up big and gave the Sound Tigers some early momentum, while game's physicality increased as Kyle Burroughs dropped the gloves with Hershey's Nathan Walker at the 4:24 mark.
Overall, the opening period was relatively even as Bridgeport outshot Hershey 9-8 and both teams scored once to take a 1-1 deadlock into the first intermission. Koivula's 13th goal of the season came in the back half of Tyler Lewington's interference penalty, in which he redirected Chris Bourque's pass to the slot after Bourque faked a slap shot from the top of the right circle. Sebastian Aho also earned an assist in his return to action after missing six games with an upper-body injury.
The Bears bounced back in the final 14 seconds of the first period when Riley Barber converted for the 17th time this year. Barber skated gracefully down the slot, settled a pass from Liam O'Brien, and snipped a wrister just over the glove of Smith at the 19:46 mark.
Hershey's strong play continued early in the second period and after successfully killing a penalty to Nathan Walker, the Bears capitalized again to make it 2-1. O'Brien sent a pass from the left wing to Jusso Ikonen in front, who was alone and scored his third goal of the season to give Hershey the lead at 4:24.
Less than five minutes later, Steve Bernier was called for interference and Hershey added to its lead when Aaron Ness sent a diagonal pass from the left point to Mike Sgarbossa at the bottom of the right circle. Sgarbossa slapped home his team-leading 19th goal of the season past Smith's reaching glove to make it 3-1.
The Bears extended their lead to 4-1 at the 2:53 minute mark of the final frame. After Beck Malenstyn's hard forecheck led to a Sound Tigers' turnover behind their own net, Malenstyn opened up and fired a shot that Smith kicked back, but Garrett Pilon buried the rebound for his third goal of the season.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 1-for-4 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill, while Hershey outshot Bridgeport 29-20.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Wednesday in a 10:30 a.m. school-day matchup at Webster Bank Arena. The game will air across the Sound Tigers Radio Network , and may be viewed live via AHLTV. Pre-game coverage is set to begin at 10:15 a.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) 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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