SOUND TIGERS 4, BRUINS 3 (OT)
The Sound Tigers scored twice in the final 25 seconds of regulation to force overtime before Bracken Kearns won it on a penalty shot in the extra frame to steal two points from the Providence Bruins on Friday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Tanner Fritz tallied his first AHL goal with just under 25 seconds remaining on a shot that made its way through a maze of players in front. Then Justin Florek tipped home a Kyle Burroughs shot with 10.8 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.
In the overtime, the Bruins knocked the net off its pegs, giving the Sound Tigers a penalty shot in the process. Kearns took the shot, moving slowly in on Zane McIntyre before sneaking a shot five-hole and giving Bridgeport the win.
Both teams used the power play to get on the board early. The Sound Tigers got the first man advantage of the game and took just 21 seconds to find the back of the net. Kearns slammed home his 20th goal of the season, assisted by Mike Halmo and Kane Lafranchise to put Bridgeport up 1-0.
The Bruins got their first power play midway through the first period and converted as well. Seth Griffith used a powerful wrist shot from the left circle to beat Bridgeport netminder Christopher Gibson and tie the game at one. Much like Kearns, it was also Griffith’s 20th goal of the season.
The Sound Tigers were awarded a five-minute power play in the second period after Zac Rinaldo was given a match penalty for a hit to the head of Kane Lafranchise. Despite several quality scoring chances, Bridgeport could not convert on the major power play. Lafranchise did not return to the ice and Bridgeport was forced to play the rest of the game with five defensemen.
56 seconds after the Bruins got back to even strength, Frank Vatrano used his lethal shot to put Providence up one. Colton Hargrove put a perfect pass onto the stick of Vatrano, who gave Gibson no chance by ripping a one-timer short side to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead. Vatrano’s 26th of the season tied him for the league lead in goals with Mike Sislo, despite having played half as many games as the Devils forward.
The Sound Tigers earned another power play early in the third period, but it was the Bruins who scored the goal. Ben Sexton skated in on a breakaway and went five-hole on Gibson to give Providence a 3-1 lead while short-handed.
Coach Brent Thompson pulled Gibson for the extra attacker with over three minutes remaining. The Bruins hit the post twice before the Sound Tigers used their last minute heroics to win the game.
The Sound Tigers finished 1-for-4 on the man advantage while Providence went 1-for-3. Gibson finished with 30 saves in the win.
The Sound Tigers have Saturday off, but wake up early Sunday to face off against the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center. Puck drop is set for 1:00 p.m.
Verhaeghe – Kearns – Halmo
Wright – Quine – Fritz
Vaive – Holmstrom – Florek
Johnston – Jones – Markison
Czuczman – Carkner
Lafranchise – Burroughs
Cullity – Graham