Koivula Scores in Fifth Straight; Tigers Fall 3-2
Otto Koivula set a new career high with a goal in his fifth straight game on Saturday, but the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (21-11-4-2), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, fell to the Binghamton Devils (16-20-3-0) in a 3-2 decision at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena.
Travis St. Denis also scored on the power play and Jeremy Smith (11-6-2) made 31 saves, but the Sound Tigers suffered their second straight regulation loss and saw their winless streak hit three games for the first time this year (0-2-1).
John Ramage's two points (one goal, one assist) led the way for Binghamton, while Evan Cormier (1-1-0) turned back 26 of the 28 shots he faced and earned his first AHL win in net.
St. Denis put the Sound Tigers out front prior to the first intermission with his 10th tally of the year and second on the power play. With Ramage in the box for interference, Koivula fed the puck to Mitch Vande Sompel at the high slot and the defenseman faked a slapper before drifting to the left wing. He fired a wrist shot towards the crease that St. Denis deflected down and through Tanner Fritz's screen at 17:55 of the first period to make it 1-0.
Bridgeport outshot Binghamton 13-6 in the first 20 minutes, but the Devils responded with a convincing middle frame that paved the way to their first win of 2019. Binghamton scored three times on 18 shots, including Colby Sissons' first professional goal which made it 1-1 at the 2:51 mark. Sissons and Ramage played catch along the left-wing boards before Ramage dropped the return pass to the half-wall, where Sissons buried a wrist shot through traffic.
Michael Kapla gave the Devils a 2-1 lead less than six minutes later when he added a power-play strike for his first of the year. After Steve Bernier was accessed a cross-checking penalty seven seconds prior, Brandon Gignac played the puck to Nick Lappin at the doorstep, where he turned an opened up, but found little room to beat Smith. The puck slid to the back post and Kapla swooped in to beat Smith's reaching glove at 8:31.
Ramage capped Binghamton's stellar middle frame with his seventh goal of the season at 19:58. In fact, just 1.5 seconds remained on the clock when Ramage buried a backhanded rebound near the bottom of the right circle following Colton White's slap shot from the point. Marian Studenic also received an assist with a tip at the doorstep, but he clipped Smith in the process, who argued for goaltender interference on the play.
Koivula finished the scoring and put the Sound Tigers back within one at 18:03 of the third period, converting on a 6-on-5 attack with Bridgeport's net empty. It was arguably Koivula's most dynamic goal yet as he stickhandled over the blue line and past three Devils, including a move around White that turned him inside-out. Koivula proceeded to snap a forehand shot over Cormier's blocker for his 12th of the year. He is now tied for fifth among rookie goal-scorers in the AHL and fourth in scoring with 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists).
Both teams ended the game 1-for-6 on the power play, while Binghamton outshot Bridgeport 34-28.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers complete a six-game road trip next Friday with their first of two matchups against the Utica Comets this season. The pucks at 7 p.m. inside the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, N.Y. Fans can follow all of the live action online via the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHLTV, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.
Next Home Game: The Sound Tigers return to Webster Bank Arena on Saturday, Jan. 12 for Military Appreciation Night against the Hartford Wolf Pack, presented by the Better Business Bureau Serving Connecticut. The first 2,000 fans will receive a camouflage hat when doors open at 6 p.m. and fans are encouraged to look into a $25 ticket package (tickets at the box office are regularly $31 in this seating area) that includes a ticket to the game and a military themed Sound Tigers t-shirt! A portion of this ticket package will also be donated to the BBB Foundation to support scholarships for children of military members from Connecticut.
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), Military Appreciation (Jan. 12), Star Wars Night (Jan. 19) 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.
About the Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Founded in 2001, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Hockey Club is the top minor league affiliate of the New York Islanders. Don't miss your chance to take part in the family fun entertainment happening every home game at Webster Bank Arena. For further information on ticket or sponsorship opportunities, call our office at (203) 345-2300 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.