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Tanner Fritz scored twice on the power play Wednesday afternoon as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (9-5-2-0), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, logged one point in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack (6-8-1-2) at the XL Center.
Jeff Kubiak also found the back of the cage and Christopher Gibson (5-3-1) tied a franchise record with two assists to go along with 19 saves between the pipes. However, the Sound Tigers saw their five-game win streak come to an end in the first of three road games this week.
Bridgeport extended its point streak to a season-high six games (5-0-1-0).
For the second straight meeting, Bridgeport and Hartford were never separated by more than a single goal on the scoresheet. The back-and-forth affair saw the Wolf Pack strike first just 46 seconds into the first period when Boo Nieves netted his first goal of the season. Ville Meskanen directed the puck in front and Nieves banked home a second effort to make it 1-0.
The Sound Tigers bounced back less than three minutes later with Fritz's first of two goals in the opening period. With Chris Bigras in the box for holding, Fritz converted from the crease after a menacing slap shot from Kieffer Bellows was knocked down in front. The rookie forward guided his blast directly at goaltender Alex Georgiev from the top of the left circle, where it was deflected down just ahead of the goal line. Fritz reached out and poked it across for his first goal of the season at 3:14.
Bellows and Toews each collected an assist, extending Bellows' point streak to a career-high five games (five goals, one assist) and giving Toews 16 points (four goals, 12 helpers) this season - tied for third among all AHL defensemen.
John Gilmour responded at the 4:26 mark to put Hartford on top 2-1 with a long shot from the point. Peter Holland found Gilmour at the blue line and the 2018 AHL All-Star floated the puck through traffic and past Gibson's glove for his fourth of the season.
Fritz potted another power-play goal at 9:29 of the opening frame and completed his fifth career two-goal performance in the AHL. The end-to-end attack began with a Gibson save in the Sound Tigers' zone and resulted with a rush down the right side. Toews found Fritz who raced down the right wing and snapped a sharp-angle short inside of the near post to make it 2-2. For Gibson, it was the first of two helpers in the contest.
Kubiak put Bridgeport out front for the first time with a highlight-reel tally at 13:37 of the first period. Otto Koivula bumped the puck to Kubiak at center ice and the rookie forward skated across the blue line, dragged in the circle, and deposited a wrist shot glove-side on Georgiev. It was his second goal of the season and third in the AHL, while Gibson earned the secondary assist. Gibson now has four helpers with Bridgeport, tying Wade Dubielewicz. In addition, Koivula extended his point streak to a career-best five games.
Bridgeport carried its one-goal advantage through the second period and well into the third before Gilmour made it 3-3 in the final four minutes of regulation. Following a cross-checking penalty accessed to Travis St. Denis, Gilmour converted another lengthy shot for his second tally of the afternoon. Nieves and Ryan Gropp teamed up to find Gilmour at the left point, where he lofted a long attempt that sailed through a screen and past Gibson.
Bobby Butler won the game for the Wolf Pack just 23 seconds into overtime when he redirected a backhand-centering feed from Gilmour during three-on-three play. It was Butler's fourth goal of the season, which snapped Hartford' three-game losing streak.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 2-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill. Georgiev (2-1-0) stopped 26 of the 29 shots he faced.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers return to action this Friday and continue a three-game road trip with a 7:30 p.m. matchup against the Laval Rocket at Place Bell. Fans can follow all of the live action via AHLTV and the Sound Tigers Radio Network, beginning with the pre-game show at 7:15 p.m.
Packed Promotional Lineup: The Sound Tigers will boast one of their most extensive and wide-ranging promotional schedules ever for the 2018-19 season. The fan-friendly calendar includes the return of popular themes like Hockey and Hops (Nov. 23 and Mar. 17), Military Appreciation (Jan. 12), Star Wars Night (Jan. 19) and Princess Night (Mar. 30). Regional hockey fans will be elated for the addition of Hockey Weekend in Connecticut (Feb. 23-24), while other new headliners include Holiday Gift Weekend (Dec. 15-16) and a revamped Teddy Bear Toss (Nov. 23).
For additional details or to reserve a group outing for any giveaway or theme night, please call the Sound Tigers' front office at (203) 345-2300 ext 7.
About the Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Founded in 2001, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Hockey Club is the top minor league affiliate of the New York Islanders. Don't miss your chance to take part in the family fun entertainment happening every home game at Webster Bank Arena. For further information on ticket or sponsorship opportunities, call our office at (203) 345-2300 or e-mail [email protected]