Sound Tigers Survive Chippy Contest For 3-2 Win
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (40-24-3-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, endured a physical, penalty-filled battle on Wednesday and emerged with a 3-2 victory over the Springfield Thunderbirds (27-30-9-2) at the MassMutual Center.
Bracken Kearns, Josh Winquist and Kellen Jones each found the back of net, while Eamon McAdam (11-4-0) secured the Sound Tigers’ win with 19 saves. The game also contained 73 combined penalty minutes and three separate fights.
With the victory, the Sound Tigers moved to within three points of the Atlantic Division’s final playoff spot with eight games remaining in the regular season.
The first period alone featured two fights and 33 penalty minutes between the bitter rivals. It also contained a goal from each club forcing a 1-1 deadlock after 20 minutes. Bridgeport kicked off the scoring at the 5:23 mark when Kearns skated to the hash marks and redirected Devon Toews’ slap shot from the top of the left circle for a power-play tally. The goal, which beat the blocker of goaltender Adam Wilcox, came with Jared McCann in the box for cross checking. It was Kearns’ team-leading 23rd tally of the season and his ninth on the power play.
Springfield bounced back nearly four minutes later when Dryden Hunt notched his 12th goal of the season. Chase Balisy set up a 3-on-2 attack into the Bridgeport zone and found Paul Thompson at the high slot. Thompson delayed and filtered a pass between the circles to Hunt, who flipped a backhand shot over McAdam’s glove at 9:30.
Tempers escalated in the final four minutes of the opening frame as Kyle Burroughs dropped the gloves with Mike Downing at 16:14, followed by a scrap between Ross Johnston and Josh Brown at 17:55.
The Thunderbirds grabbed their only lead at 6:58 of the second period when Matt Buckles scored his first professional goal in his debut. Matt MacKenzie gathered the puck at the blue line and forced a skipping chance to the doorstep where Buckles corralled it and beat McAdam low to make it 2-1.
Winquist responded less than two minutes later to draw the game back even with his 13th goal of the season. Michael Dal Colle fed Tanner Fritz in the neutral zone and Fritz raced down the right wing to the bottom of the circle, drawing two defensemen towards him. It created an opening in front and the rookie forward proceeded to find Winquist at the doorstep, where he hammered a shot off the bottom of Wilcox’s blocker and in.
Jones registered the game-winning tally just 90 seconds later when he received Ben Holmstrom’s pass at the low slot and beat the glove side of Wilcox for his sixth tally of the season. Holmstrom and Andrew Rowe were credited with the helpers at 10:05 of the second period.
The final frame saw 38 more penalty minutes, including a five-minor major and game misconduct to McCann for slashing at the 2:12 mark, but no goals. It also contained a tilt between Patrick Cullity and Mackenzie Weegar.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 1-for-6 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. Wilcox (22-12-5) turned back 25 shots in Springfield’s setback.
Bridgeport outshot the T-Birds 28-21.
DC Comics Day: Meet your favorite Justice League and DC Comics superheroes at the Sound Tigers’ regular-season home finale on Sunday, Apr. 9 against the Hartford Wolf Pack. Two special ticket packages are available that include access to the game, concession vouchers, a drawstring bag and more! CLICK HERE for tickets and more information. Doors open at 2 p.m. and the puck drops at 3 p.m.
For additional details or to reserve seats for any of the 2016-17 giveaway and theme nights, please call the Sound Tigers’ front office at (203) 345-2300.
Executive suites and premium seat packages are also available by calling the team’s front office at (203) 345-4841. If you are interested in group outings with your friends, family, co-workers, or clients an unforgettable experience at a discounted rate, call the group sales hotline 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. Keep up with the latest Sound Tigers news on Facebook and on Twitter. For more team information, log on to soundtigers.com.