SOUND TIGERS 5, WOLF PACK 2
Joe Whitney’s hat trick propelled the Bridgeport Sound Tigers past the Hartford Wolf Pack to a 5-2 win on Saturday night at Webster Bank Arena.
The strong defense prevailed with a perfect 4-for-4 penalty kill and the Sound Tigers also dominated in shots 39-26. Christopher Gibson played stellar with 24 saves.
The scoring started early on with a 2-on-1 opportunity in the Bridgeport zone that resulted in a tap in by Luke Adam at 3:30 with helpers by Brian Gibbons and Brady Skjei which gave Hartford the 1-0 lead.
Bridgeport came right back 15 seconds later to tie it up. James Wright notched his third of the season when he beat Mackenzie Skapski with a wrister while Mike Halmo set him up from behind the net. Ben Holmstrom also earned an assist on the play.
Taylor Beck came very close to taking the lead shortly after but Skapski’s glove found the puck and kept the game tied.
The first trip to the sin bin went to Ross Johnston for tripping but Bridgeport’s strong defensive efforts only allowed Hartford one shot on goal. The first period continued with a few extremely close chances but the Sound Tigers led in shots 14 to 5.
Bridgeport received their first power play of the night when Skjei had to sit for hooking. At the very last few seconds of the power play, Whitney scored his sixth of the season at 2:38 of the second to give the Sound Tigers their first lead on the game.
The momentum kept rising a few minutes later when Halmo came close with a slap shot but it was saved. Halfway through the game, Bridgeport continued to dominate, leading in shots this time a whopping 23-9.
With the strangest play of the game, Justin Vaive wacked the puck in when Skapski left the net open after the previous save. This goal put the Sound Tigers up 3-1. Vaive sixth of the season came against his former team and was his second point of the night.
The Wolf Pack struck right back with another wacky goal when Jayson Megna somehow wrapped in the puck past Gibson to trail by only one goal to make the score 3-2.
The Sound Tigers kept rolling in the third period when Whitney found himself right in front of the net with the puck and was able to confuse Skapski to allow a opening to score his seventh of the season.
Bridgeport continued to dominate the third frame. A huge opportunity arose when Tanner Glass had to sit for roughing with just 3:09 left to go in the game. Whitney was able to further seal the win with a wrist shot for the hat trick. This was Whitney’s first hat trick since 2012. The game is Whitney’s first home contest back since the birth of his daughter and his hat trick ties him for the league lead in points with 23.
The Sound Tigers take on the Syracuse Crunch for the first time this season tomorrow at Webster Bank Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 5:00 p.m.
Whitney – Kearns – Collberg
Vaive – Quine – Beck
Halmo – Wright – Holmstrom
Johnston – Jones – Florek
Czuczman – Pulock
Finn – Mayfield
Graham – Carkner