Sound Tigers Defeated by Penguins 5-2
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (23-16-4-2), proud affiliate of the New York Islanders, received second-period goals from Chris Casto and Tanner Fritz on Wednesday, but suffered their second consecutive setback at the hands of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (21-18-4-1) in a 5-2 final at Webster Bank Arena.
Teddy Blueger and Ryan Haggerty each netted a pair of goals for the Penguins, while Tristan Jarry (13-8-3) made 25 saves on 27 shots in the crease. For Bridgeport, Christopher Gibson (11-8-4) and Jeremy Smith (no decision) combined for 22 saves on 27 shots in a split effort.
The Sound Tigers dropped to 2-7-0-1 in January and extended their winless in regulation streak to 11 games (3-7-0-1).
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton struck first early in the opening frame when Joseph Blandisi scored his first goal as a Penguin less than four minutes into his team debut. Following a scramble between the circles, Teddy Blueger won a battle and found Blandisi at the top of the slot, who wired one through Gibson's five-hole at 3:38. It was the sixth consecutive game in which Bridgeport allowed the opening goal.
Just over one minute later, Jeff Kubiak was hooked on a breakaway and sent to center ice for his first AHL penalty shot - and Bridgeport's first of the season. However, he was unable to convert as Jarry cut down the angle and stopped a wrister with his left shoulder.
Three more infractions followed Kubiak's penalty shot. First, the Sound Tigers killed off a tripping minor against Fritz, but struggled to score on consecutive power-play opportunities thereafter. On the best chance, Travis St. Denis' stick did not cooperate, exploding upon contact with a one-timer near the right circle.
At 12:53 of the first period, the Penguins extended their lead to 2-0 when Seth Helgeson's stretch pass was picked off by Blueger in the neutral zone. Once he crossed the blue line, his snapshot from the left side found twine underneath Gibson's glove. The goal gave Blueger – Wilkes/Barre-Scranton's leading scorer (37) – his fifth multi-point performance in his last 10 games.
The Penguins picked up right where they left off in the second period when Haggerty potted his seventh goal of the season at 1:57. Amidst a cycle, Haggerty curled from the bottom to the top of the left circle, and snapped a shot along the ice that eluded Gibson. Smith replaced Gibson (six saves on nine shots) following the tally.
Two minutes later, Ben Holmstrom and Anthony Angello dropped the gloves in a spirited bout. While Holmstrom decisively won the fight, the momentum was pulled back in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's favor when Fritz took a cross-checking penalty on the ensuing shift.
The Penguins followed up with two goals in 11 seconds, starting at the 6:40 mark. Blueger made it 4-0 when he secured his second of the afternoon, tracking down a blocked shot in the slot and making no mistake in beating a sprawled-out Smith. Then at even strength, Ryan Scarfo earned his first point of the season when he found Haggerty alone in front, who buried a back-door tap-in to make it a 5-0 contest.
However, the Sound Tigers recouped shortly after and found a major spark when head coach Brent Thompson called a timeout at 6:51.
The tides turned on the following shift, as Casto scored Bridgeport's first goal of the day (his third of the season) at 7:34. Sustained offensive zone time and a successful cycle from the Chris Bourque, Otto Koivula and Steve Bernier line, led to enough space for Casto to wind up above the right circle and blast a slap shot over Jarry's blocker.
Connor Jones then drew a roughing call to put the Sound Tigers on the power play at 8:32, and Fritz capitalized 42 seconds into opportunity. On the man advantage, Sebastian Aho found Fritz at the top of the right circle, where he fired a quick shot through Jarry's five-hole.
An energized Sound Tigers group returned in the third period, mustering nine shots on goal and limiting the Penguins to just six. However, the offensive efforts were all declined, and the game ended at 5-2.
The Sound Tigers went 6-for-7 on the penalty kill and 1-for-4 on the power play.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday in their final game before the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m. at Webster Bank Arena. The game will air across the Sound Tigers Radio Network , and may be viewed live via AHLTV. Pre-game coverage is set to begin at 6:45 p.m.
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) 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 TigersFounded 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.