PIRATES 5, SOUND TIGERS 1
Carter Verhaeghe scored his first American Hockey League goal, but the Bridgeport Sound Tigers dropped a 5-1 decision to the Portland Pirates at Cross Insurance Arena Friday night.
Verhaeghe’s tally tied the game at one midway through the second period, but the Pirates scored four unanswered to get the win.
Portland got off to the quick start, scoring just three and a half minutes into the contest. Greg McKegg made the pass, finding defenseman Cameron Gaunce joining the rush in front of the net. Gaunce chipped the puck over Christopher Gibson’s glove and into the net to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
Things got nasty at the end of the first period, as Joe Whitney laid a hit on Shane Harper in front of the Portland bench. The two teams threw some punches, as Matt Carkner and Mackenzie Weegar each got five minutes for fighting while Whitney received five minutes for boarding and a game misconduct. Whitney had to be helped off the ice after the play.
Bridgeport killed the full five minutes, getting momentum from the strong kill. With just nine minutes gone in the second period, the Sound Tigers got a puck to McKenna and after a couple of tries, Verhaeghe batted home his first career AHL goal. Taylor Beck and Bracken Kearns had the assists on the goal that made it 1-1.
Not even a minute after the goal, the Sound Tigers found themselves down a man with Beck off for elbowing. Shortly into the power play, Garrett Wilson found a loose puck on the doorstep and flicked it by Gibson to give Portland its second lead of the game. Gibson and the Sound Tigers tried to argue the puck was played with a high stick, but the goal stood and Portland led 2-1 after two periods.
It was all Portland in the third, as Greg McKegg made it 3-1 three and a half minutes into the period. With Garrett Wilson setting a screen in front of Gibson, the Sound Tigers netminder never saw the shot and McKegg scored his seventh of the season. The Pirates were not done there.
Portland used a pair of quick strikes midway through the third to put the game out of reach. First it was Shane Harper on a breakaway to make it 4-1, then Wayne Simpson on an odd man rush to make it 5-1. That was all the scoring for the game, as Bridgeport outshot Portland 30-27.
Gibson made 22 saves in a losing effort while McKenna stopped 29 for the win. The Sound Tigers power play went 0-for-5 and the kill went 2-for-3.
The two teams are right back at it tomorrow night at Cross Insurance Arena, with puck drop set for 7:00 p.m.
Verhaeghe – Kearns – Beck
Whitney – Wright – Gomes
Florek – Holmstrom – Halmo
Vaive – Jones – Markison
Czuczman – Leduc
Burroughs – Pulock
Cullity – Carkner