SOUND TIGERS 4, SHARKS 3
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers broke a 10-game losing streak on Saturday night, defeating the Worcester Sharks 4-3 at the DCU Center.
Harry Zolnierczyk and Dustin Jeffrey had a goal and an assist each, while Sebastian Collberg and Carson McMillan also tallied. It was the first win in exactly a month for the Sound Tigers.
Not even two minutes into the game, the Sound Tigers found themselves down a man. Colton Gillies was called for kneeing and subsequently given a five-minute major along with a game misconduct. Bridgeport killed the penalty, allowing several shots but ultimately holding off the Sharks’ attack.
It took until the end of the first period for either team to break through. It was the Sound Tigers striking first, thanks to some slick puck movement. Adam Pelech slipped a pass out to Zolnierczyk in the high slot and the alternate captain one-timed a shot over the glove of Troy Grosenick to give Bridgeport a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The Sound Tigers were short-handed to start the second period, as Zolnierczyk was called for hooking. After the penalty expired, Zolnierczyk dashed out of the box and towards the net on a 2-on-1 with McMillan. Zolnierczyk’s shot was stopped, but McMillan followed up the play and backhanded home his first as a Sound Tiger to make it 2-0.
Just over a minute after the goal, the Sound Tigers were penalized again and paid for it. Willie Coetzee walked off the half-wall and found former Sound Tiger Michael Haley in front of the net, who tapped it through Kevin Poulin’s five-hole to make it a one-goal game. The power play goal was Haley’s 18th tally of the season and third in two games.
It looked as if the period would end with the Sound Tigers up 2-1, but Jeffrey had other ideas. After a Sharks defenseman fell down leading to a 2-on-1, John Persson found Jeffrey with a perfect feed and the new addition to the Sound Tigers popped the puck into the back of the net to make it 3-1.
Bridgeport added to its lead six minutes into the third period. Right off an offensive zone face off, Jeffrey worked his way to the net and got it to Collberg, who jammed home his fourth of the season to make it 4-1. Collberg’s marker would end up being the game-winning goal, but not before some late game craziness.
First it was Chris Crane, who snuck a shot through Poulin on the power play to make it a 4-2 game with just under five minutes left to go. Two and a half minutes later, Willie Coetzee cut the Sound Tigers lead to one with the Sharks up a man again. Worcester threw everything they could at the Sound Tigers net in the final minutes, but Bridgeport held on for the victory.
Poulin put in another fantastic performance, stopping 39 of the 42 shots he faced. All three of the Sharks goals came on the man advantage, including the Coetzee goal that came with Grosenick pulled.
The Sound Tigers will welcome in the Sharks for the first time this season next time out on Wednesday, March 11. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m.
Notes: Bridgeport broke a franchise-high 10-game losing streak…The victory was the first in regulation since January 18 against the Syracuse Crunch…Matt Carkner was a team-high +3 on the night.
Persson – Jeffrey – Collberg
Zolnierczyk – Quine – Vaughan
Gillies – Sundstrom – McMillan
Courtnall – Langkow – Stevenson
Ness - Pulock
Pelech – Reinhart
Czuczman – Carkner
Goalies (Starter in Italics)