SOUND TIGERS 7, BEARS 6 (SO)
Andrew Rowe tied the game with 1:37 remaining, then scored the only goal of the shootout, as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers won a wild 7-6 game over the Hershey Bears at Giant Center on Wednesday night.
The game saw two power play goals, one short-handed tally, a penalty shot goal and nearly everything else a hockey game could feature. It was the seventh straight victory for Bridgeport and ended a five-game winning streak for the Bears.
The goals came fast and furious, with four in total being scored in the first period. Connor Carrick started the scoring, just throwing a shot on net and beating Christopher Gibson over the glove to make it 1-0 Hershey. Riley Barber and Christian Djoos nabbed the assists on Carrick’s 10th of the season.
Bridgeport had a pair of responses midway through the first period. First it was Kevin Czuczman who tried to center a puck in front of the net but it was deflected off a Hershey stick and into the net. Czuczman’s third of the season was his first goal since he scored at Hershey back on November 14.
Two minutes later, Colin Markison was slashed on a breakaway, giving him a penalty shot. Markison rifled a shot past Justin Peters’ blocker to give the Sound Tigers a 2-1 lead. It was the first Bridgeport penalty shot since February 15, 2014 at Springfield when Ryan Strome scored on the Falcons.
The Sound Tigers took three penalties in the opening period, but none as costly as the last penalty with four minutes remaining in the frame. The Hershey power play went to work, with Jakub Vrana cashing in off a Travis Boyd rebound to make it 2-2 after 20 minutes. It was Hershey’s fifth power play goal in its last four periods.
The teams combined for five more goals in the second period, with Bracken Kearns wasting no time for the Sound Tigers to start the second period. Kearns made a nifty move around the Hershey defense, then roofed a shot over Peters to make it 3-2 just 10 seconds into the period.
Hershey scored three straight goals less than four minutes apart to take a 5-3 lead 5:10 into the second period. Boyd, Zach Sill and Barber all tallied, with Boyd’s coming on the man advantage. Gibson was pulled in favor of Parker Milner after the fifth Hershey goal.
The Sound Tigers got one back short-handed when Kearns tallied his second of the game on a breakaway to make it 5-4 with only seven minutes gone by in the second period. No scoring occurred for the rest of the frame despite numerous chances for both teams.
The Bears made it 6-4 just two minutes into the period, but Scott Mayfield closed the gap to one with 14 minutes left in regulation, somehow banking the puck off the Hershey defense and past Peters from behind the goal line to make it a one-goal game.
Then it was Rowe, with the Sound Tigers up a man on a delayed penalty. Taylor Beck threw the puck in front of the net and Rowe stashed it home, tying the game with less than two minutes to go.
After a wacky overtime that had posts, 2-on-0’s and a delay of game penalty on Peters, the game miraculously made it to a shootout where Rowe scored the only goal and Milner stopped all three shots he faced for the victory.
Scott Gomez finished the game with four assists for Hershey while Kearns was named the number one star with his two markers. Milner made 16 saves in relief and got the win.
Bridgeport looks to make it eight in a row when they host the Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday, February 13 for Frozen Night at Webster Bank Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.
Verhaeghe – Kearns – Beck
Wright – Quine – Halmo
Vaive – Holmstrom – Holmstrom
Rowe – Gomes – Markison
Cullity – Pulock
Czuczman – Mayfield
Lafranchise – Burroughs