SYRACUSE, N.Y. (April 12, 2013) – Defenseman Matt Donovan assisted on all three Sound Tigers goals, including Brock Nelson’s game-winner with 2:18 left in overtime as Bridgeport came back to beat the Syracuse Crunch 3-2 at the Onondaga County War Memorial at Oncenter on Friday night. With the win, the Sound Tigers improve to 31-30-6-5 overall. The Crunch fall to 41-20-6-5 with the loss.
Nelson won the game for the Sound Tigers in the extra session after Nino Niederreiter scored on the power play midway through the third period to tie the score. Nelson took a feed from Donovan, skated across the Crunch blue line and fired a shot over Desjardins’ glove for his 24th goal of the season, tying the Sound Tigers single-season record for goals by a rookie set by Rhett Rakhshani during the 2010-11 campaign.
The Crunch got on the board just 2:09 into the game, when Dan Sexton deflected Tanner Richard’s drive past goaltender Rick DiPietro for his ninth goal of the season to give Syracuse an early 1-0 lead.
The Sound Tigers responded at the 7:25 mark of the opening frame to tie the score. Donovan intercepted a clearing feed from the Crunch zone and found Scott Campbell, who sat all alone in front of Syracuse goaltender Cedrick Desjardins and backhanded the puck in for his sixth goal of the year to tie the game at one.
Syracuse regained its lead with 7:15 remaining in the period, when Ondrej Palat snuck behind the Sound Tigers defense and backhanded the puck through DiPietro’s pads, and the Crunch carried a 2-1 lead into the locker rooms after 20 minutes.
Syracuse outshot the Sound Tigers 14-7 in the first period, but the Sound Tigers shifted the momentum following the drop of the puck to open the second period and dictated the action from that point on. Bridgeport heavily outshot the Crunch 13-2 in the middle 20 minutes, but Desjardins was stellar between the pipes for Syracuse, and stopped all 13 shots to maintain the lead for the home team.
Niederreiter finally solved Desjardins 7:27 into the third period to even the score at two. Niederreiter found the rebound from Donovan’s left-point shot, held the puck on his backhand and fired past Desjardins as he fell to the ice for his team-leading 27th goal of the season.
DiPietro made 28 saves to earn the win as his record improves to 9-7-0. Desjardins made 31 saves in the loss.
The Sound Tigers return to action next Tuesday when they host the Portland Pirates at 7:00 p.m.
NOTES: The Sound Tigers are 7-1-0 in their last eight games against Syracuse dating back to the 2009-10 season … Rick DiPietro made his ninth straight start in net … This marked the second time in nine days Donovan registered a three-assist game; he had a goal and three assists in a 6-3 win vs. Worcester on Apr. 4 … The Sound Tigers went 1-for-4 on the power play; Syracuse went 0-for-1 … The Sound Tigers are currently tied for 10th place in the Eastern Conference, four points behind Norfolk for the eighth playoff spot with four games remaining.
1. BRI: Brock Nelson
2. BRI: Nino Niederreiter
3. SYR: Ondrej Palat
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
32 Joey Diamond – 29 Brock Nelson – 18 Ryan Strome
23 John Persson – 28 Johan Sundstrom – 22 Nino Niederreiter
24 David Ullstrom – 14 Matt Watkins (C) – 16 Sean Backman
42 Brandon DeFazio – 4 Scott Campbell – 20 Blair Riley (A)
46 Matt Donovan – 6 Ty Wishart (A)
27 Aaron Ness – 10 Scott Mayfield
7 Jon Landry – 19 Andrey Pedan
39 Rick DiPietro (starter)
45 Anders Nilsson