Sound Tigers score four times on the power play and earn third straight win
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Travis St. Denis scored twice and Chris Bourque recorded three points on Wednesday, guiding the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (7-5-1-0), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, to their third straight win in a 7-3 victory over the Binghamton Devils (5-6-2-0) in front of 7,808 fans at Webster Bank Arena.
It was also Bridgeport's fifth straight win on home ice and it pushed the Sound Tigers' point streak to six in a row in the Park City (5-0-1-0). In addition, Bridgeport scored at least seven goals for the second straight game and now has 20 goals over its last three outings.
Special teams were one of the key catalysts Wednesday, as the Sound Tigers went 4-for-10 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill. It's the most goals Bridgeport has notched on the man advantage since Dec. 1, 2017 at Utica, and its most opportunities since Mar. 25, 2018 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Aside from St. Denis and Bourque, Otto Koivula (one goal, one assist), Devon Toews (two assists), Josh Ho-Sang (two assists), and Jeff Kubiak (one goal, one assist) also recorded multi-point efforts.
Despite Bridgeport's success during the middle contest of its five-game homestand, the Devils opened the scoring with a pair of tallies in the first 12 minutes to take a 2-0 lead. Nick Lappin struck first with his seventh goal of the season, on the power play, at the 9:47 mark. Following an interference minor against Parker Wotherspoon, Colton White wired a heavy shot from the high slot that Lappin deflected between the circles and past Jeremy Smith's glove.
Binghamton extended its lead with a shorthanded tally less than two minutes later to double its advantage. With Blake Speers in the box for tripping, John Quenneville stole the puck from Mitch Vande Sompel in the Sound Tigers' zone and he capitalized on the turnover with his first goal of the season. Blake Pietila played catch with Quenneville in the low slot and was credited with his fourth assist on the brief 2-on-0 breakaway.
The Sound Tigers recovered in a big way and scored seven straight goals en route to the 7-3 victory, including a trio in the first period and three more in the third. Koivula made it 2-1 at 15:56 of the opening frame when Sebastian Aho skated to the left circle and loaded, but didn't shoot. Instead, he passed it to Koivula at the back post and the latter nudged it across the goal line for his second tally in as many games.
Less than four minutes later, the Sound Tigers not only tied the contest, but they also took the lead with two goals in a span of 27 seconds. Binghamton's John Ramage was whistled for interference at the 18:00 mark and while he was in the box, Steve Bernier skated through the left circle and hammered a shot on target that Eddie Lack halted, but couldn't cover. Instead, the puck pinballed around in the slot before St. Denis forced it home at 19:08 for his forth goal of the season. Ho-Sang also collected an assist on the play.
Shortly after, Kubiak gave the Sound Tigers their first lead of the game at the 19:35 mark. Gionta and Koivula battled hard down low in the Devils' zone before Koivula grabbed it free and delivered a centering pass. Kubiak saw the puck slide in front and charged to the slot before firing a quick shot past Lack's glove.
The Sound Tigers padded their lead midway through the second period with the club's second power-play goal of the afternoon. Bourque was the beneficiary, scoring his 239th AHL goal and moving into a tie for 50th all-time in League scoring, after the play was set up by Toews moving left-to-right in the Devils zone. Toews eventually found Bourque in the left circle and the veteran forward ripped a one-time shot past Lack's blocker to make it 4-2 at 9:56. Tanner Fritz was also credited with his fifth assist on the year.
Bellows made it 5-2 at 3:26 of the third period when Toews recovered the puck in the neutral zone and he directed a pass to Bellows down the right wing. Bellows stepped into the circle and fired a shot pass Lack's glove for his third goal in the last two games, and Bridgeport's third power-play tally. It came with Quenneville in the box for high-sticking.
Less than three minutes later, St. Denis scored his second of the game, this time unassisted, following a turnover in Binghamton territory. St. Denis stole it away in the right circle and drifted to the slot before beating Lack with a low shot to make it 6-2 at 6:00.
Lack was replaced in net by Mackenzie Blackwood during the next stoppage (6:14 mark), but the damage was already done. Dal Colle added one more tally at 11:47 of the third period when he cleaned up a rebound from the doorstep following Bourque's drive from the left side. It was Dal Colle's team-leading seventh goal of the season, while Ho-Sang also logged an assist and is now tied for first in the AHL with 13 helpers this season.
Brandon Gignac capped the scoring at 18:53 of the third period with his second goal of the season, on his 21st birthday. Pavel Zacha created a rush into the Sound Tigers' zone and Gignac finished from the right post to make it 7-3.
Smith (3-2-1) earned the win with 17 saves on 20 shots in 58:18 of work. He was pulled for a brief 1:14 during the third period after getting cut on his forehand from a Pietila slap shot in the right circle. Christopher Gibson temporarily came on in relief.
"Wizards and Warlocks" This Saturday: The Sound Tigers will face Providence for the fourth time this season on "Wizards and Warlocks Night" at Webster Bank Arena, this Saturday at 7 p.m. Harry Potter fans will be elated with the Sound Tigers newest promotion, which includes a free "House of Storm" scarf to the first 1,000 fans in attendance. Your favorite characters will be roaming the concourse and fans are encouraged to try the Sorting Hat, Mix Potions during the contest. Get a ticket to the game and a Bowtie Cinemas movie pass to see the new movie, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, for just $25.
Veteran's Day This Sunday: The Sound Tigers will battle the first-place Charlotte Checkers this Sunday with several promotions on tap for Veteran's Day. All veterans and active duty personnel will receive a free ticket by visiting the Webster Bank Arena Click It Or Ticket Box Office and showing a valid military ID. In addition, receive a free set of Sound Tigers trading cards, which include notable New York Islanders draft picks and other top prospects sponsored by IBEW Local 488. Fifty-cent chicken wings and $5 16 oz. beers (drafts and cans) are available at the Masons Bar, located on the upper concourse level. Reserve your seats now!
Packed Promotional Lineup: The Sound Tigers will 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 (Nov. 23 and Mar. 17), Military Appreciation (Jan. 12), Star Wars Night (Jan. 19) and Princess Night (Mar. 30). Regional hockey fans will be elated for the addition of Hockey Weekend in Connecticut (Feb. 23-24), while other new headliners include Holiday Gift Weekend (Dec. 15-16) and a revamped Teddy Bear Toss (Nov. 23). 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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