Late Bridgeport Goal Sinks Pack in OT
Bridgeport, CT - Otto Koivula's goal with 6.9 seconds left in overtime gave the Bridgeport Sound Tigers a 4-3 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack Saturday night at Webster Bank Arena, in the last of ten meetings on the year between the two Connecticut rivals.
The Wolf Pack took the lead three times in the game, on goals by Vinni Lettieri, Steven Fogarty and Tim Gettinger, but each time the Sound Tigers came back. Ryan Lindgren had two assists for the Wolf Pack, and Andrew Ladd had a goal and an assist for Bridgeport.
On the winning play, Chris Bourque fed the puck across to Koivula on left wing in the Wolf Pack zone, and he got past Lias Andersson before moving into the slot and backhanding the puck up under the crossbar behind Hartford goaltender Brandon Halverson (20 saves), on Bridgeport's only shot on goal of the OT.
"I thought we did a lot of things well in that game," Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said. "There were blocks where we needed to do a better job managing the puck, but overall, lots of good things in that game."
The two clubs traded goals in a first period that saw Bridgeport outshoot the Wolf Pack 8-3.
Lettieri opened the scoring for Hartford on the game's first power play at 13:35, with Kyle Burroughs in the penalty box for roughing. Peter Holland sent a perfect pass out of the left-wing corner to Lettieri driving the middle, and he easily beat Sound Tiger goaltender Christopher Gibson (25 saves) with a quick release on the forehand.
That goal was answered for Bridgeport at 17:20 by Ladd, who was playing his first AHL game since the 2007-08 season after being assigned to the Sound Tigers by the parent New York Islanders earlier in the day, on a conditioning stint.
After Halverson stopped a shot from the left side by Parker Wotherspoon, Yannick Rathgeb fed a slap pass from the right point, and Ladd got his stick free in the middle and deflected it perfectly past Halverson.
Fogarty put the Wolf Pack back in front only 58 seconds into the second period, with the teams skating 4-on-4. After Fogarty won a faceoff from Travis St. Denis in the circle to Gibson's left, Sean Day got the puck to Lindgren at the right point, and his fling toward the net was deflected out of the air and into the net by Fogarty, who was facing toward the middle at the left side of the slot.
That lead lasted until the 17:52 mark, when Josh Ho-Sang tied the game back up with a strong individual effort. After Sebastian Aho got the puck away from the Bridgeport net, Ho-Sang sped away on the left side. He put the puck past Lindgren and picked it back up in the Wolf Pack zone, before breaking in on Halverson and flicking a shot past his catching glove.
The Wolf Pack then scored an even earlier goal in the third period, as Gettinger made it 3-2 only 17 seconds in. Lindgren put the puck at the net from the left point, and Gibson slid to his right to stop the try, but the puck came off of him and right into the goalmouth. Gettinger was unchecked there, and he easily put the puck in, for his second goal in as many games and his 11th of the year.
The Sound Tigers got that one back just over three minutes later, though, at 3:30. Thomas Hickey, who, like Ladd, had just been sent to the Sound Tigers on a conditioning loan from the Islanders, found the net from the left point. He got a feed from the opposite side from Burroughs and fired a quick snap shot that made its way through a crowd of players and past Halverson
"To score the first goal is important on the road, this is a tough building for all teams to play in," McCambridge said. "Key moment, same thing, start of the third period, the same with the Fogarty goal at the start of the second. Just, again, the goals that were scored against us, turnovers and giving a little too much room on the Ho-Sang goal, coming through the neutral zone, those are ones that, whenever you're playing teams like this, you can't give them that kind of room, or they'll make you pay."
The Wolf Pack are back home at the XL Center Sunday, hosting the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 3:00 PM. That is another chance to take advantage of the Wolf Pack's "Click It or Ticket Family Value Pack", which includes two tickets, two hot dogs and two sodas, all for just $40.
Tickets for all 2018-19 Wolf Pack home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. Tickets purchased in advance for kids 12 or younger start at just $13 each, and all tickets will have a $3 day-of-game increase.
Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack's 2018-19 AHL season can be found on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com. To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack's many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451.
Hartford Wolf Pack 3 at Bridgeport Sound Tigers 4 (OT)
Saturday - Webster Bank Arena
Hartford 1 1 1 0 - 3
Bridgeport 1 1 1 1 - 4
1st Period-1, Hartford, Lettieri 14 (Holland, Beleskey), 13:35 (PP). 2, Bridgeport, Ladd 1 (Rathgeb, Wotherspoon), 17:20. Penalties-Burroughs Bri (roughing), 13:05; Leedahl Hfd (high-sticking), 19:44.
2nd Period-3, Hartford, Fogarty 13 (Lindgren, Day), 0:58. 4, Bridgeport, Ho-Sang 3 (Ladd, Aho), 17:52. Penalties-Koivula Bri (interference), 0:27; St. Denis Bri (interference), 4:14; Day Hfd (tripping), 6:40.
3rd Period-5, Hartford, Gettinger 11 (Lindgren, Gropp), 0:17. 6, Bridgeport, Hickey 1 (Burroughs, Bernier), 3:30. Penalties-Helgeson Bri (cross-checking), 4:01.
OT Period-7, Bridgeport, Koivula 17 (C. Bourque, Aho), 4:53. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Hartford 3-12-10-3-28. Bridgeport 8-8-7-1-24.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 1 / 4; Bridgeport 0 / 2.
Goalies-Hartford, Halverson 2-2-1 (24 shots-20 saves). Bridgeport, Gibson 15-9-4 (28 shots-25 saves).
Referees-Alex Normandin (65), Mackenzie Nichol (68).
Linesmen-Kevin Briganti (39), John Kiriakos (23).
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