PIRATES 6, SOUND TIGERS 3
The Portland Pirates used five special teams goals to end the Sound Tigers’ winning streak at five games, defeating Bridgeport 6-3 on Wednesday night at Cross Insurance Arena.
The Pirates scored two short-handed and three on the power play to win its first game at home in five tries. The Sound Tigers still have a five-point advantage over Portland.
Neither team could score in the first period, but the opening frame had some signs of things to come. 38 penalty minutes were doled out in the opening stanza, including fighting majors to Ross Johnston and Josh Brown. There were a pair of big hits in the first as well, with Scott Mayfield getting hit by Tony Turgeon who was tagged with a hitting to the head penalty.
With the Sound tigers down a man to start the second period, Sena Acolatse was going to be called on a delayed penalty before he slammed Mayfield into the boards from behind. Mayfield went to the locker room for the second time in the game and Acolatse was hit with two for slashing, five for boarding and a game misconduct. Despite over six minutes of power play time, the Sound Tigers could not convert on the man advantage.
In fact, it was the Pirates getting the goal with Bridgeport on the power play. Connor Brickley had the initial try off a pass from Wade Megan, firing a shot off the post. Megan picked up the loose change and beat a sprawling Stephon Williams to give Portland the lead.
Not even a minute after the penalties to Acolatse expired, the Sound Tigers got themselves on the board. Justin Vaive took a bad angle shot that somehow beat Mike McKenna and tied the game up for Bridgeport. Vaive’s 11th of the season was his first point in 16 games.
The rest of the period was all Pirates, as Portland received five power plays to close out the second. First Wayne Simpson scored on a shot from the slot to put Portland up again, but the Sound Tigers were called for two penalties immediately after the goal, putting them down two men for a full two minutes.
Portland cashed in, as Rob Schremp blasted a one-timer on a 6-on-3 with another delayed penalty coming on the Sound Tigers. Michael Matheson put one right in the wheelhouse of Schremp, who beat Williams over the glove to put Portland on top by two.
The Pirates couldn’t score on their second 5-on-3, but Matheson did get a goal during the 5-on-4. Matheson walked in from the point and backhanded a shot past Williams to put Portland up three going into the third period. Matheson’s seventh of the season was his second in as many games against the Sound Tigers.
Bridgeport got a goal back early in the third period, as Mike Halmo scored just 1:27 into the third to bring the game back to 4-2. However, the damage was already done. Portland added a short-handed empty netter and the teams traded goals as Connor Jones scored on the power play but Bridgeport dropped its first in six games.
Williams made 21 saves in the loss. The Sound Tigers power play went 1-for-5 while the Pirates went 3-for-8.
The Sound Tigers head to Hartford for their final game against their in-state rivals the Wolf Pack for a 7:15 p.m. game on Friday.
Jones – Kearns – Wright
Halmo – Quine – Fritz
Vaive – Holmstrom – Florek
Johnston – Gomes – Markison
Czuczman – Carkner
Cullity – Mayfield
Finn – Lafranchise