Sound Tigers Open Weekend Series with 5-3 Loss
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (24-21-5-3), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, opened a three-game weekend series on Friday with a 5-3 loss to the Providence Bruins (31-17-3-2) at Dunkin' Donuts Center.
Connor Jones, Casey Bailey and Kane Lafranchise all found the back of the net, while Jones (one goal, one assist) and Josh Ho-Sang (two assists) each recorded a multi-point effort. It was Bridgeport's first regulation loss in five trips to Rhode Island this season (3-1-0-1) and kept the club seven points behind the Charlotte Checkers for fifth place in the Atlantic Division standings.
Jones began the scoring at 11:37 of the opening period when he beat goaltender Zane McIntyre from the doorstep. Ho-Sang created the opportunity with a pass to Kyle Burroughs down the right wing, and the third-year defenseman cut through the bottom of the circle and forced a centering-pass to the top of the crease, where Jones nudged it past McIntyre's right pad for his sixth goal of the season.
Less than four minutes later, Matt Beleskey knotted the game at 1-1 with his fourth goal in the AHL this year. The veteran forward received a stretch pass from Anton Blidh in the neutral zone, which created space, and Beleskey used it to skate to the right circle. With pressure coming, he fired a shot past Kristers Gudlevskis' blocker for the first of four straight Providence goals at the 15:27 mark.
Jordan Szwarz put the Bruins on top for good just 31 seconds into the second period with his team-leading 16th goal of the season. Austin Czarnik retrieved the puck in the left corner and quickly forced it to the point, where Jakub Zboril fired a long shot that Szwarz tipped in front past Gudlevskis' blocker.
Colton Hargrove made it 3-1 at the 6:57 mark when he scored the game's only power-play tally. Following an interference penalty to Mike Cornell, Hargrove finished a sequence of tic-tac-toe passes between himself, Szwarz and Ryan Fitzgerald to blow a one-time shot past Gudlevskis from the high slot. It was Hargrove's 13th goal of the season.
Emil Johansson took Gudlevskis out of the contest with his second goal of the season and Providence's third of the frame. Beleskey skated over the line and dropped the puck to Johansson above the right circle, where the rookie defenseman gained possession and weaved his way to the slot. Johansson proceeded to guide a low wrist shot under Gudlevskis' blocker to make it 4-1 at the 10:25 mark, which brought backup goalie Eamon McAdam into the game.
The Sound Tigers responded in the final two minutes of the second with Bailey's 12th tally of the season, set up by a highlight-reel pass from Jones. The two forwards played catch with the puck as they entered the Providence zone before Jones slipped a no-look, between-the-legs pass to Bailey at the left post where he finished to make it 4-2.
Lafranchise cut Bridgeport's deficit to one at 14:11 of the third period with his first tally of the season. Travis St. Denis charged to the right circle and slipped a backdoor feed for Lafranchise, and the defenseman converted to make it 4-3. With an assist, St. Denis now has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his last eight games. However, the Bruins capped the scoring with Josh Hennessy's empty-netter in the final 23 seconds, his 150th professional goal.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 0-for-3 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill. Gudlevskis (6-10-5) made 16 saves on 20 shots in 30:25, while McAdam stopped all 15 shots in 29:31 of relief during his AHL season debut. McIntyre (18-11-4) turned back 35 shots for the Bruins.
Bridgeport outshot Providence 38-36.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers return to Webster Bank Arena tomorrow night with a 7 p.m. puck drop against the Charlotte Checkers to continue a three-game weekend series. Great seats are on sale now and fans can also follow all of the live action on the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHL Live, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.
Brock Nelson Bobblehead Day: Former Sound Tigers star and current New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson will return to Webster Bank Arena this Sunday, Feb. 25, when the Sound Tigers host the Charlotte Checkers at 3 p.m. Nelson will meet fans and sign autographs beginning at 2:30 p.m. and the first 2,500 fans will receive his bobblehead when doors open at 2 p.m., courtesy of Nutmeg Bowl and Our Backyard Playplace of Fairfield. In addition, the first 2,000 fans will also receive one (1) free game of bowling at Nutmeg Bowl in Fairfield. Reserve your seats now!
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 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.