By Travis Betts
BOX SCORE - SOUND TIGERS 4, BRUINS 2
Kevin Poulin made 29 saves, while four different Sound Tigers found the back of the net as Bridgeport skated to a 4-2 win over the Providence Bruins in their first home game of the 2012-13 season. The win brings the Sound Tigers record to 2-0-0-0, while Providence drops to 0-2-0-0.
“When you start a season, you want to start off on the right foot,” Head Coach Scott Pellerin said. “I thought we got contributions from our whole lineup, from the goaltending out. I couldn’t ask for anything better. The guys worked hard and stuck together.”
The Sound Tigers sustained pressure early on Providence goaltender Michael Hutchinson, but the first strike came from the Bruins’ Maxime Sauve just outside the crease to Poulin’s left at 7:39 of the first period. Ryan Spooner and Jamie Tardif assisted on Sauve’s goal.
The Sound Tigers had quality scoring chances throughout the opening frame, mustering 15 shots on goal. The home evened the score at 1-1 with a shorthanded marker when Brock Nelson and Brandon DeFazio broke through the neutral zone on a two-on-one. Providence goalie Michael Hutchinson dropped down to make the initial save on Nelson, but DeFazio knocked the rebound in at 17:34 for his second goal of the young season.
“I was just looking for something sitting around quick,” DeFazio said. “Obviously, I was more worried about getting back on defense. Lucky enough for me, Brock made a great play and it came right to my stick.”
The Sound Tigers killed off all six Bruins power plays, and went 1-for-4 on the man advantage. Pellerin said that he has been pleased with the special teams in both games this season.
“I think our power play has done a really good job working the puck around and getting a lot of time,” Pellerin said. “Our penalty kill last night statistically wasn’t very good, but I thought overall our fundamentals were there and it’s something that we’re really going to focus on this season.”
The Sound Tigers took a 2-1 lead during a power play four minutes into the middle frame. Nino Niederreiter redirected defenseman Calvin de Haan ’s shot from the top of the zone past Hutchinson. Ullstrom earned the secondary assist on the play.
The Bruins threatened to tie the game midway through the second in transition when Jordan Caron took a cross-ice feed in the right circle and rattled it off the post to Poulin’s right. Later in the period, David Ullstrom skated down the right wing and dangled around a defender to get an unobstructed shot on Hutchinson. The Providence goalie made the save at close range to keep the score 2-1.
Jon Landry gave the Sound Tigers an insurance goal at 5:51 of the third period on a wrap-around shot. The defenseman took the puck at the right point and skated down the boards and around the back of the net, where he lifted a backhander top shelf, making the score 3-1.
Providence got one back five minutes later on a give-and-go between Craig Cunningham and Carter Camper. Cunningham took the line and passed the puck to Camper on his left. Cunningham’s one-timed deflection of the return pass fooled Poulin, cutting the Sound Tigers’ lead to a single goal.
The Bruins had several opportunities late, but Matt Watkins added an empty-net goal with three seconds remaining, securing the victory for the Sound Tigers.
Poulin, who earned his second win in as many nights, was pleased with the Sound Tigers all-around performance.
“I think it was a great team effort and everyone played well tonight. The first goal didn’t matter. We kept going and created some great chances. It was great to get the first win at home following that first win on the road. It was good for me, and we just have to build on it. I know it’s the start of the season, but every point counts.”
The Sound Tigers are back in action next Saturday, Oct. 20, when they travel to take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 7:05 p.m.