Sound Tigers Score Many Different Ways in 5-1 Win
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (34-27-5-3), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, scored once shorthanded, twice on the power play and twice at even strength on Saturday in a 5-1 victory against the Hartford Wolf Pack (31-31-6-3) at XL Center.
Kyle Schempp, Mitch Vande Sompel, Connor Jones, Ben Holmstrom and Steve Bernier all found the back of the cage as the Sound Tigers completed their 10-game season series against Hartford with a 7-1-1-1 record. In addition, Eamon McAdam (4-1-0) made an AHL season-high 32 saves on 33 shots, while Sebastian Aho led all scorers with three points (three assists).
With the win, Bridgeport remained eight points behind the Charlotte Checkers for a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division with seven games remaining. Charlotte defeated the Syracuse Crunch in New York this evening, 3-1, which pushed the Sound Tigers' elimination number “six.” However, Bridgeport's victory mathematically eliminated Hartford from playoff contention.
The Sound Tigers struck first for the third time in four games when Schempp netted his third goal of the season on a redirection from the slot. Casey Bailey fed the puck to Aho at the blue line, where the young defenseman fired a shot towards the crease that Schempp deflected past goaltender Marek Mazanec (9-6-1). It was Schempp's third AHL goal and his first since Jan. 20, which came at 2:55 of the opening period on Saturday.
Cristoval Nieves used a power play to level the score at the 10:03 mark, assisted by Scott Kosmachuk and Chris Bigras. Nieves entered the zone with speed and weaved his way through traffic before handing the puck to Kosmachuk for a shot in the right circle. McAdam blocked the initial chance with his shoulder, but the rebound fell in the crease where Nieves stayed with it to cash in on Vande Sompel's holding penalty.
Vande Sompel made up for it nearly eight minutes later when he scored his fifth goal of the season, and first on the power play, to give Bridgeport a 2-1 lead. With Kosmachuk in the box for tripping, Andre Benoit grabbed Ryan Hitchcock's pass at the left point and navigated a cross-ice feed to the top of the right circle for Vande Sompel. The rookie defenseman picked his lane and stepped into a heavy snap shot that beat Mazanec through Ryan Bourque's screen.
Jones made it 3-1 just 34 seconds into the middle frame when he redirected another parameter shot from Aho. The Quinnipiac University product won a left-circle faceoff back to Aho at the blue line, who walked the stripe before firing a wrist shot that Jones redirected low, blocker side for his eighth tally of the season.
The Sound Tigers pushed their advantage to 4-1 in the opening half-minute of the third period with the club's fourth shorthanded goal of the season, and Holmstrom's second. Jones and Holmstrom teamed up on a sequence of back-and-forth passes over the blue line that set up Jones in the slot, but he failed to convert on a backhand shot from the doorstep. Mazanec caught the puck with a toe-pad save, but the rebound came to Holmstrom who forced home his 10th goal of the season just 28 seconds in.
Bernier completed the scoring at the 3:55 mark with Bridgeport's second power-play goal of the night. With Brenden Kotyk in the box for cross-checking, Bailey launched a shot from the left circle that Mazanec kicked back, but Bernier tucked in the rebound for his 18th goal of the season. It also chased Mazanec from the game after he made 13 saves on 18 shots in 43:55 of work. Alexandar Georgiev came to his rescue and stopped all seven shots he faced in 16:05 of relief.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 2-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill. Hartford outshot Bridgeport 33-25.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers return to Webster Bank Arena on Tuesday morning for a 10:30 a.m. puck drop against the Providence Bruins – the annual Spring Fun 102 school-day contest. Fans can follow all of the live action on the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHL Live, beginning with the pre-game show at 10:15 a.m.
Don't Go It Alone: Whether it's a corporate outing, a fundraiser, or just friends getting together, a group outing with the Sound Tigers will guarantee an unforgettable experience filled with fast-paced action on the ice, great music, promotions and contests at an affordable price. The Sound Tigers have a variety of packages and promotional events to offer. Please call the team's front office at 203-345-2300 ext. 7 for more information on the benefits of bringing your group to a future game!
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 email@example.com. Keep up with the latest Sound Tigers news on Facebook and on Twitter. For more team information, log on to soundtigers.com.