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The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (19-29-5-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, scored five times on Wednesday night but suffered a 8-5 loss in a high-octane affair against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (23-24-1-6) at Webster Bank Arena. Five players notched a multi-point effort, while the Sound Tigers allowed eight goals for the first time since April 5 at Providence.
Travis St. Denis, Grant Hutton, Otto Koivula, Jeff Kubiak and Robert Carpenter each scored once and added an assist on the offensive side, helping Bridgeport record at least five goals for the fourth time this year. Greg Carey and Carson Twarynski both had two goals for Lehigh Valley.
The Phantoms struck first just 1:18 into the game courtesy of an impressive individual effort from David Kase. The undersized forward cut in from the left corner and charged to the crease prior to stuffing the puck under Christopher Gibson’s pads. It was Kase’s sixth goal of the season and second this month, which came on the first shot of the night.
A few shifts later, Maxim Sushko went to the box at 3:18 for cross-checking and the Sound Tigers cashed in to tie the young contest. Koivula charged down the left wing and lifted a wrist shot above Alex Lyon to make it 1-1 at the 3:35 mark – Bridgeport’s first shot of the night.
Nineteen seconds later, the Sound Tigers earned their first lead of the game thanks to Grant Hutton’s lengthy blast. The rookie defenseman fired a hard shot from the blue line that filtered through traffic and past Lyon for his sixth goal of the season. The back-to-back tallies also led to Lyon getting yanked, replaced in goal by former Sound Tiger Jean-Francois Berube.
The momentum shifted once again less than five minutes later when Carey made it 2-2 with his first of two goals on the night. Cal O’Reilly sent a puck to the crease where Carey deflected it in for his team-leading 14th of the season at 8:38. The game remained tied entering the first intermission.
The second period started just like the first with the Phantoms striking quickly just 2:04 in. Morgan Frost collected his third goal in as many games with a lightning-quick wrist shot from the right circle to give Lehigh Valley a 3-2 lead. Following the tally, Gibson was replaced by Jared Coreau and ended the night with 10 saves on 13 shots.
The Phantoms built a three-goal lead for the first time with each of the next two tallies as well, both from Twarynski. Bridgeport had trouble clearing the puck near the midway mark and Lehigh Valley made them pay. Twarynski picked up the garbage and scored his third goal of the season at 10:45 for a 4-2 Phantoms lead. Twarynski followed with another one at the 14:52 mark after driving down the left wing and around a falling Parker Wotherspoon who had lost his footing.
Bridgeport got two back to quickly make it 5-4 in the final three minutes of the second period, beginning with Carpenter’s second goal of the season. Carpenter collected Simon Holmstrom’s pass and skated below the goal line where he banked a shot into the back of the net at 17:32. Exactly 70 seconds later, Koivula dropped the puck off at the high slot and Oliver Wahlstrom fired a shot that was kicked back by Berube, but St. Denis finished the rebound for his ninth goal of the season.
However, Carey became the second Lehigh Valley player with multiple tallies at 19:29 of the second frame and pushed his team-lead to 15 goals on the year. He beat Coreau’s blocker to make it 6-4, which eventually became the Phantoms’ game-winner. It’s Carey’s first multi-goal game since Jan. 18.
Kubiak gave the Sound Tigers more life with his fourth goal of the season at 9:48 of the third period. After failing to score on a recent power play, Kubiak deflected a shot from Carpenter over Berube’s shoulder to put Bridgeport back within one. It was Kubiak’s first goal since Jan. 5.
The Phantoms put the game to bed with two more goals just 2:07 apart in the final five minutes. Andy Welinski found a hole with a wrist shot, short side on Coreau, to put the Phantoms up 7-5 at the 15:38 mark. Andy Andreoff added an empty-netter at 17:45 for the 8-5 final.
The Sound Tigers ended the game 1-for-2 on the power play and were not shorthanded at all during the contest.
Coreau (no decision) made 17 saves on 21 shots in 36:59 of work, while the Sound Tigers outshot Lehigh Valley 38-35.