Sound Tigers Roll Past Wolf Pack 5-1
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (14-12-2-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, scored five goals for the eighth time this season, including at least once in every period, and earned a 5-1 victory against the Hartford Wolf Pack (13-13-3-3) at the XL Center on Saturday.
Casey Bailey and Devon Toews led the way with one goal and one assist each, and Michael Dal Colle also recorded a pair of helpers, while Christopher Gibson (10-6-1) made 22 saves on 23 shots and tied Anders Nilsson for sixth place on the team's all-time wins list with his 35th career victory for Bridgeport.
Sebastian Aho, Connor Jones and Ross Johnston also found the back of the cage and helped the Sound Tigers collect their first regulation win since Nov. 24 against the Wolf Pack.
Saturday's game began with a gritty and physical tone, and both teams combined for 32 penalty minutes before the first goal was scored. Rising tempers also translated into a pair of fights in the first period, as Travis St. Denis challenged Peter Holland at the 2:31 mark before Kyle Burroughs and Anthony DeAngelo dropped the gloves at 13:05.
Later in the opening frame, Aho got the scoring started and converted a power-play goal with just 61 seconds remaining when he slammed home his ninth tally of the season at the right post. With Joe Whitney in the box for tripping, Tanner Fritz sent a pass to the side of the net, where Bailey settled it, turned, and opened up at the doorstep. As he attempted to pull the trigger, the puck slid free and across the crease, which allowed Aho to force it home with goaltender Alexandar Georgiev out of position. Aho is second among AHL defensemen in goals this season.
The Sound Tigers added to their lead with two goals on 10 shots in the second period to take a 3-0 advantage. Bailey converted for his own tally at the 13:56 mark when he cleaned up a scramble between the circles for his eighth goal of the season. Dal Colle created the opportunity with a snap shot from the high slot that Georgiev turned back while standing up, but the rebound fell in the slot and Bailey filtered it home.
Less than two minutes later, Johnston charged in on a breakaway and secured his second tally of the season at 15:34 of the middle frame. Following a turnover in the neutral zone, Devon Toews stretched a pass ahead to Johnston, who settled it at the blue line and turned on dime to get behind Hartford's defense. The third-year forward then skated straight at Georgiev and flipped a backhand shot glove side.
Another breakaway at 12:52 of the third period extended Bridgeport's lead to 4-0. At almost exactly the same time as a slashing penalty to Jones expired, the fourth-year forward exited the penalty box and skated onto a loose puck to set up the breakaway. Jones charged straight at Georgiev and fired a forehand shot glove side for his third tally of the season.
Ryan Sproul ended Gibson's shutout bid in the final 90 seconds when he received a drop pass from Gabriel Fontaine and hammered a shot past the Sound Tigers netminder at even strength. It was Sproul's third goal of the season at the 18:32 mark.
Toews capped the 5-1 final at 19:35 of the third period when he blasted home a slap shot from the top of the right circle. Dal Colle recorded his second assist of the afternoon as he skated to the right half wall and slid a pass back to Toews for the hard shot.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 1-for-4 on the power play and 6-for-6 o the penalty kill. Bridgeport is now 15 for its last 15 on the penalty kill against Hartford.
The Sound Tigers also outshot the Wolf Pack 30-23 – the seventh straight game that Bridgeport has outshot its opponent. Georgiev (4-8-5) made 25 saves for the home team.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers return from their holiday break on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. matchup against the Hershey Bears at Webster Bank Arena. Take advantage of great concession specials throughout the game, including $1 hot dogs presented by Hummel Brothers and $5 draft beers courtesy of Budweiser. 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.
Guarantee Your Seats: Flex plans are on sale now for the 2017-18 campaign, offering the greatest savings and ultimate flexibility of all ticket packages. Pick between a full-season, 20-game, 15-game or 10-game plan and you'll also be entitled to exclusive benefits, including the ticket holder exchange policy, which means any unused tickets can be traded for future games. Please contact Brad Dworin at 203-345-4813 or via firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to guarantee your seats.
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.