The Sound Tigers got on the board just 1:54 into the game. Rookie forward Casey Cizikas freed the puck from below the Devils net and found DiBenedetto in front. DiBenedetto was able to get his stick on the bouncing puck, and tipped it past Albany netminder Keith Kinkaid for his first goal of the season to give the Sound Tigers the 1-0 lead. The Devils evened the score on a 4-on-4 at 14:14 of the first period. Albany defenseman Peter Harrold sent a pass from above the right circle to a streaking Chad Wiseman, who got to the back post and deflected the pass past Nilsson to tie the score at one.
The score remained even until the 5:17 mark of the middle frame when DiBenedetto put the Sound Tigers back in front. After a sustained shift in the Albany zone, Cizikas’ shot on net was initially stopped before DiBenedetto slid the rebound past Kinkaid for his second goal of the game. Nilsson stopped all 14 shots he saw in the frame. and also received some help with two shots caroming off of posts during an Albany power play. The Devils outshot the Sound Tigers 14-5 in the second period, but Bridgeport still held the 2-1 edge heading to the third period.
Albany responded after an Aaron Ness hook led to a Mike Sislo penalty shot. Sislo skated in and fired off the right post and in to even the score at two 4:10 into the third period. However, the Sound Tigers responded just 22 seconds later. Cizikas assisted on all three of DiBenedetto’s goals, and his third came from blocked shot in the Sound Tigers zone. The Maple, Ont. native carried the puck on a 2-on-1 on the right side and fired into the top left circle for his first pro hat trick to give the Sound Tigers the 3-2 lead.
Bridgeport killed a Sean Backman penalty in the final 2:30, and Backman ended up grabbing a loose puck at center ice and scoring an empty-netter to give head coach Brent Thompson the first win of his AHL coaching career.
The Sound Tigers return to action next Friday when they travel to Glens Falls, N.Y. to take on the Adirondack Phantoms. Gametime is scheduled for 7 p.m.
McNeely – Ullstrom – Wallace
DiBenedetto – Cizikas – Backman
Haley – Frischmon – Marcinko
Gallant – Langkow – Romano
Donovan – Reese
Ness – de Haan
Olson – Wishart