BRUINS EDGE SOUND TIGERS 3-1
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Mar. 22, 2013) – Sound Tigers forward Sean Wiles scored in his AHL debut to tie the game with 11:16 left in regulation, but Craig Cunningham’s second goal of the night with 8:11 remaining proved to be the game-winner as the Providence Bruins defeated Bridgeport 3-1 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Friday night. With the win, the Bruins improve to 39-19-0-5 overall. The Sound Tigers fall to 26-26-6-4 with the loss.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the first period, although the Sound Tigers came close midway through the period when Brock Nelson’s deflection from the high slot fluttered and caromed off of the right post. Kenny Reiter made big saves on both of Providence’s power play chances, while Providence goaltender Michael Hutchinson made a pair of big saves on Bridgeport odd-man rushes to keep the game scoreless through 20 minutes.
The Bruins dictated play in the second period, outshooting the Sound Tigers 8-4 and netting the only goal in the middle stanza. The Sound Tigers struggled to clear their zone, and Graham Mink found Craig Cunningham all alone in the slot to beat Reiter and give the Bruins a 1-0 lead with 10:37 left in the second period.
The Sound Tigers were unable to score on a 5-on-3 power play opportunity early in the third period, but cashed in on their next man-advantage to tie the score. Jon Landry worked the puck through the slot to Johan Sundstrom for a shot from the top of the left circle, and Sean Wiles’ redirection beat Hutchinson for his first career AHL goal in his first game to tie the score at one at 8:44 of the final period.
However, Ty Wishart was called for delay of game after dislodging the Sound Tiger net while Providence attempted to score, and the Bruins converted on the ensuing power play. Reiter made a blocker save on Zach Trotman’s point shot, but the puck shot right onto the stick of Cunningham, who fired past Reiter for his second goal of the night with 8:11 left in regulation.
The Sound Tigers had an opportunity to tie the score when Trotman was sent off for cross-checking Kirill Kabanov in front of the Providence net with 1:09 to play. The Sound Tigers pulled Reiter in favor of the extra-attacker for a 6-on-4 advantage, but Brock Nelson and Matt Watkins missed on opportunities in front, and Justin Florek scored on the open net in the final seconds to clinch the win for Providence.
Reiter made 27 saves and earned third-star honors, while Hutchinson stopped 26 of 27 shots to earn the win for the Bruins.
The Sound Tigers continue their three-in-three weekend tomorrow evening when they return to Webster Bank Arena to host the Springfield Falcons at 7:00 p.m.
NOTES: The Sound Tigers have played in five straight scoreless first periods … Anders Nilsson dressed and served as Kenny Reiter’s backup; Rick DiPietro was the goaltending scratch (illness) … It was the first time Nilsson dressed since he played in the team’s 5-0 loss in Norfolk on Jan. 26 … The Sound Tigers have been held scoreless through two periods in four straight games … Nino Niederreiter left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return.
1. PRO: Craig Cunningham
2. PRO: Michael Hutchinson
3. BRI: Kenny Reiter
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
14 Matt Watkins (C) – 29 Brock Nelson – 16 Sean Backman
22 Nino Niederreiter – 28 Johan Sundstrom – 77 Kirill Kabanov
42 Brandon DeFazio – 4 Scott Campbell – 20 Blair Riley (A)
40 Mike Halmo – 25 Jordan Hill – 9 Sean Wiles
27 Aaron Ness – 7 Jon Landry
46 Matt Donovan – 6 Ty Wishart (A)
2 Dallas Jackson – 8 Nathan McIver
30 Kenny Reiter (starter)
45 Anders Nilsson