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Simon Holmstrom scored the winner on his first professional shootout attempt to propel the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (16-26-4-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, to a 3-2 win against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (23-16-3-5) at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Saturday.
Oliver Wahlstrom and Josh Ho-Sang got the goals in regulation as the Sound Tigers battled back from two different deficits in the come-from-behind victory. Ho-Sang’s first of the season came in the final three minutes of the third period to force overtime.
The victory snapped Bridgeport’s four-game slide and ended Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s five-game win streak.
Penguins forward Joe Blandisi got the scoring started during the game’s first power play at 11:13 of the opening frame. Following an interference minor to Mike Cornell, Kevin Roy settled a pass on the right wing and fed the puck to Blandisi in tight at the right post, where the latter turned and roofed a top-shelf shot over Jared Coreau’s glove.
It took more than a full period for the night’s next goal, but Wahlstrom answered at 15:15 of the second period with his fifth of the season. Wahlstrom collected Parker Wotherspoon’s pass on a delayed penalty and skated to the left circle, where he ripped a wrist shot off the post and in.
Jake Lucchini’s seventh goal of the season just 3:03 later put the Penguins back on top nearing the end of 40 minutes. Zach Trotman moved down the right wing and attempted to cut towards the crease, but he was held to the outside by Parker Wotherspoon’s good positioning. However, Trotman guided a diagonal pass back to the slot where Lucchini filtered a shot just inside the near post. It was his third goal in the last two nights and put the Penguins on top 2-1.
The Sound Tigers hadn’t won all year when trailing after two periods, but the club was extra eager to get back in the win column and pulled the game back even with Ho-Sang’s goal at 17:33 of the third. Parker Wotherspoon skated down the right wing and directed a pass to the back post, where Ho-Sang banged it home for the 2-2 tie.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had a late chance to win the game in regulation when Travis St. Denis was called for slashing at 18:16 of third. Despite heavy pressure in the offensive zone, Coreau and the Sound Tigers held strong and forced overtime, where shots were even at three apiece.
Holmstrom, St. Denis and Matt Lorito each scored in a season-long seven-round shootout, and Coreau (8-12-1) stopped five of the seven shots he faced. Coreau made 25 saves on 27 shots through the first 65 minutes of work for his team-best eighth win of the year.
The game also included one fight when Cornell and Jordy Bellerive dropped the gloves at 12:01 of the first period. Bridgeport finished the night 0-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers return to action on Wednesday morning with a 10:30 a.m. puck drop against the Syracuse Crunch at Webster Bank Arena. It’s the annual Winter Fun school-day matchup presented by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Fans can follow all of the live action of the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHLTV, beginning with the pregame show at 10:15 a.m. ET.