The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (0-1-1-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, bounced back from a pair of deficits to gain their first point of the season on Sunday, but fell in overtime to the Hartford Wolf Pack (2-0-0-0) in a 4-3 final at XL Center.
Ryan Bourque’s third-period tally tied the game at 3-3 and eventually forced the extra session, while Matt Lorito and Oliver Wahlstrom both scored in the opening frame. Lorito’s goal came on a penalty shot, which was Bridgeport’s first penalty-shot conversion since 2016.
Between the pipes, Christopher Gibson (0-0-1) made 26 saves on 30 shots as he opened his fifth season with the Sound Tigers.
Hartford struck first in the opening five minutes when Vinni Lettieri notched his second goal of the season. Sean Day, who ended the game at 1:28 of overtime, wristed a long shot on target that hit traffic in front and created a rebound for Lettieri. He put the bouncing puck home at the 4:46 mark.
Lorito tied the contest at 1-1 when he earned a penalty shot and converted against Adam Huska. Following a stellar pad save from Gibson, Lorito sprung the other way and was slashed across the hands as he approached Hartford’s crease on a breakaway. Lorito cut through the right circle and went forehand to beat Huska on the penalty shot at 11:41 of the first.
Just over two minutes later, Wahlstrom put the Sound Tigers out front with his first goal of the season at the 13:46 mark. Wahlstrom received a pass from Kieffer Bellows and wheeled down the left wing before he funneled a backhand shot inside the near post to make it 2-1. Otto Koivula also earned an assist on the go-ahead goal.
The Wolf Pack answered with two additional tallies in the final five minutes of the first period to lead 3-2 after 20 minutes. Joey Keane netted his second goal in as many nights with a fancy wrist shot from a sharp angle, nearly up against the right-wing wall, at the 15:30 mark. Ryan Lindgren followed with a rebound goal just 69 seconds later.
The tempo and scoring chances subsided in the middle frame as the game calmed down and remained 3-2 after two. Early in the third, Bourque eyed a bouncing puck just north of the crease and elevated it home past Huska’s blocker to square up the score. Colin McDonald and Cole Bardreau created the opportunity with hard work below the goal line before the puck skipped out in front.
Several key stops by Gibson down the stretch helped force overtime, but Day propelled Hartford to victory with his first goal of the season at distance. He skated to the high slot at the 1:28 mark and wristed a shot past Gibson’s glove for the 4-3 final.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 0-for-2 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. Huska (1-0-0) made just 16 saves in his season debut.
The Wolf Pack outshot the Sound Tigers 30-19. The game also featured one fight as Tanner Fritz squared off against Mason Geertsen at 11:17 of the second, following a high hit to Mason Jobst.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers continue a four-game road trip to begin their 2019-20 season with a 7 p.m. puck drop against the defending Calder Cup champion Charlotte Checkers next Friday at Bojangles Coliseum. Fans can follow all of the live action via the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHLTV, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m. Bridgeport's home opener is set for Saturday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Sound Tigers season tickets and flex plans are on sale now for the 2019-20 campaign, offering the greatest savings and ultimate flexibility of all ticket packages. Pick between a full-season, 20-game, or 10-game plan and you'll also be entitled to exclusive benefits, including the ticket holder exchange policy. Lock in your seats today by contacting Brad Dworin at 203-345-4813 or via [email protected].
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]. Follow the action all season long via www.soundtigers.com or by “liking” the Sound Tigers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.