WOLF PACK 5, SOUND TIGERS 4
The Sound Tigers mounted a furious comeback, scoring two goals late in the third period, but the Hartford Wolf Pack hung on 5-4 on Saturday night at XL Center.
Bridgeport scored twice with less than four minutes remaining and had a chance with seconds remaining to tie the game, but somehow the puck stayed out of the net.
Joe Whitney put the Sound Tigers on top just five and a half minutes into the game. After receiving a pass from James Wright, Whitney skated through the slot and fired a shot over the blocker of Magnus Hellberg to make it 1-0 Sound Tigers. Wright and Kyle Burroughs got the assists on Whitney’s team-leading 14th goal of the season.
Not to be outdone, Luke Adam had the answer midway through the opening frame. Adam walked out from in back of the net and beat Christopher Gibson short side to tie the game up at 1-1. Hartford had a pair of power plays late in the first, but failed to score on either, as Bridgeport’s penalty kill remained strong.
After a rather uneventful 16 and a half minutes to start the second period, things ramped up when the teams went to 4-on-4. First it was Nicklas Jensen, beating Gibson off a pass from Marek Hrivik to make it 2-1. Then just over a minute later, Adam notched his second of the game from a great pass off the stick of Mat Bodie to make it 3-1.
Just as they did last night, the Sound Tigers scored late in the second to cut their opponents lead to 3-2. This time it was Bracken Kearns off a perfectly executed 3-on-2, receiving a pass from Mike Halmo who brought Hellberg way out of the crease. All Kearns had to do was put it into the empty net for his 12th of the season with just 1:11 remaining in the period.
Parker Miner replaced Gibson to start the third and was thrown right into the fire. After a turnover right in front of the Sound Tigers net, Adam Tambellini was left all alone and beat Milner to make it 4-2 Hartford just 1:12 into the period.
25 seconds later, Ryan Bourque scored to make it 5-2 Hartford. Bourque brought the puck in down the left wing and wristed a shot past Milner to give Hartford a three goal advantage. Tambellini got an assist on the goal.
Bridgeport couldn’t find the back of the net until the 3:34 mark of the third period. Burroughs found Wright wide open in front of the net and Wright deflected a shot past Hellberg to make it 5-3 Hartford.
After Tommy Hughes took an interference penalty 20 seconds later, the Sound Tigers got a chance on the power play. Having gone 0-for their last 31, Ryan Pulock broke the drought with a blast off the pass from Wright to make it 5-4. The goal came with Milner on the bench and the Sound Tigers with a 6-on-4 skater advantage.
Bridgeport pulled Milner again with just over a minute remaining, but could not beat Hellberg. A mad scramble ensued near the Hartford goal line with 10 seconds on the clock, but the puck stayed out and Hartford got the win.
The Sound Tigers went 1-for-4 on the power play, while the penalty kill went 6-for-6. Gibson made 14 stops while Milner made 10 in relief.
The Sound Tigers return to the ice on Friday, January 15 when they travel to Portland to face the Pirates. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.
Verhaeghe – Kearns – Beck
Florek – Holmstrom – Halmo
Whitney – Wright – Collberg
Gomes – Jones – Markison
Burroughs – Pulock
Cullity – Graham
Czuczman – Leduc