BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (April 4, 2012) – David Ullstrom scored the game-winning goal with 4:45 left in regulation and Kevin Poulin made 33 saves to propel the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to a 3-2 win over the Springfield Falcons on Wednesday afternoon. With their sixth straight win, the Sound Tigers clinch a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs and improve to 38-24-3-6 overall. Springfield falls to 33-33-3-3.
The Sound Tigers opened the scoring 2:36 into the game courtesy of an awkward bounce in the Springfield zone. Steve Oleksy rimmed the puck along the right boards, but as Springfield goaltender Manny Legace came out to play the puck, it shot out towards the slot. Tony Romano got his stick on the puck, and John Persson collected it and sent it into the open net for his third goal in eight games as a pro to put the Sound Tigers up 1-0.
Romano put the Sound Tigers ahead by two with a power play goal midway through the opening frame. Rhett Rakhshani held the puck above the left circle and sent a pass to Romano by the left post. Romano spun quickly and fired the puck past Legace for his 10th goal of the season, and the Sound Tigers led 2-0. Bridgeport carried their two-goal lead into the second period, where Kevin Poulin stopped all 14 Springfield shots to preserve the Sound Tigers two-goal cushion.
However, a physical period culminated in a power play for Springfield to open the third period, when a scrum involving both sides as the horn sounded resulted in a Falcons man-advantage. Springfield scored on their power play chance just 21 seconds into the third period when Alex Giroux beat Poulin from the right circle to cut the Falcons deficit to one. Springfield evened the score at 6:04 as they forced a turnover in the Bridgeport zone and Wade MacLeod fired past Poulin to tie the score at two.
Ullstrom put the Sound Tigers ahead for good with 4:45 left in regulation. The second-year forward split the Springfield defense to create a brief 2-on-1 opportunity. Ullstrom sent a backhand pass through the crease that deflected off a Falcons skate and past Legace. It gave Ullstrom his team-leading 22nd goal of the season and the Sound Tigers re-took the lead 3-2.
The Falcons applied heavy pressure in the final minutes to try and even the score, but Poulin made key saves down the stretch to preserve the win for the Sound Tigers. Poulin improves to 23-17-4 and has been in net for each of the Sound Tigers past six wins.
The Sound Tigers now improve to 23-8-2-2 at home, including 17-2-0-2 in that span since Christmas. With the win, the Sound Tigers now hold a five-point lead over the Whale for the top spot in the Northeast Division with five games left in the regular season.
The Sound Tigers will look for their seventh straight win on Friday night when they host the Syracuse Crunch at 7:00 p.m. on Kids Free Day. All kids 12 and under will receive free admittance to Friday night’s game.
Persson – Romano – Rakhshani
Ullstrom – Mouillierat – DiBenedetto
McNeely – Frischmon – Backman
Halmo – Marcinko – Riley
Katic – Oleksy
Landry – Ness
de Haan – Wishart