The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (9-14-3-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, allowed four goals in the third period on Monday and fell to the Utica Comets (14-9-1-2), 6-3, at Webster Bank Arena. Quinnipiac University product Brogan Rafferty had a four-point night for the Comets (1g, 3a), while Kieffer Bellows, Nick Schilkey and Jeff Kubiak all scored for Bridgeport.
The loss snapped the Sound Tigers’ three-game win streak at home and dropped them to 1-1-0-0 against the Comets this season.
Justin Bailey put Utica on top at 11:16 of the first period with his ninth goal of the year, which extended his goal-scoring streak to five games – the longest current stretch in the AHL. It also came on the power play with Bode Wilde in the box for tripping. The Comets took advantage when Sven Baertschi zipped a cross-ice pass to the back post for Bailey’s tap in to make it 1-0.
The Sound Tigers got an early response to begin the second period as Colin McDonald guided a pass to the crease for Bellows, who poked it home past Zane McIntyre. It was Bellows’ fourth goal in the last six games, while McDonald extended his point streak to four games at the 2:46 mark. Matt Lorito also notched an assist and improved his point streak to five games (3g, 2a).
Utica answered immediately with another power play opportunity, capitalizing just 46 seconds later with Kole Lind’s first of two goals on the night. Baertschi dropped the puck off for Reid Boucher and he sent it effortlessly from circle to circle where Lind connected on a one-timer to give Utica a one-goal lead at 3:32. It pushed Boucher’s point streak to a team-best seven games.
After a dangerous breakaway for Baertschi about five minutes later, Parker Wotherspoon sprung Ryan Bourque in stride the other way for a scoring chance that made it 2-2. Bourque dished the puck to Jeff Kubiak for a breakaway, beating McIntyre low for his second goal of the season.
With just 3:15 left in the middle frame, Schilkey extended his goal streak to three straight games to give Bridgeport its first lead. Otto Koivula found Schilkey in the right circle, where his wrist shot did not miss to make it 3-2. Tom Kuhnhackl also added an assist for his second point of his conditioning loan.
However, Utica handed the Sound Tigers their first loss when leading after two periods this season (6-1-0-0) by scoring four unanswered goals to win 6-3. Three of those goals came in a span of 2:03, including Nikolay Goldobin’s ninth of the year at 4:37. Lukas Jasek followed with his fifth of the season at 6:05 and Lind netted the Comets’ third power-play goal just 35 seconds later.
Rafferty put the exclamation point on the contest at 11:06 of the third period when he wacked home his third goal of the season from an impossible angle, directly along the extended goal line, assisted by Boucher and Jasek.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 0-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-6 on the penalty kill. Jared Coreau (2-7-1) made 27 saves on 33 shots, while McIntyre stopped 28 of 31.
The game also included one fight when Koivula dropped the gloves with Guillaume Brisebois at 6:12 of the third period.