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The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (18-27-5-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, picked up a point for the third straight game on Friday, but suffered a 3-2 overtime loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (22-23-1-5) at PPL Center.
Travis St. Denis and Simon Holmstrom scored back-to-back goals to give the Sound Tigers a third-period lead, but Mikhail Vorobyev ended the night at 1:38 of overtime. Christopher Gibson (6-6-4) was impressive with 40 saves on 43 shots.
Andy Welinski put the Phantoms on top with the only first-period tally at 11:16. Welinski was denied by Gibson’s pad on an initial attempt, but the rebound skipped below the goal line where it was collected by Kyle Criscuolo. He immediately fed it back in front and Welinski floated a shot past Gibson’s shoulder to make it 1-0.
St. Denis converted on the Sound Tigers’ first power-play chance of the night and tied the game at 8:51 of the second period. Otto Koivula entered the zone and worked his way down the right wing before guiding the puck between the circles for a one-time finish. It was St. Denis’ eighth goal of the season and third on the power play, assisted by Koivula and Parker Wotherspoon.
The game remained knotted until 9:17 of the third when Holmstrom’s long-range wrist shot sailed into the back of the net to make it 2-1. Robert Carpenter won a faceoff back to Grant Hutton and he faked a slap shot before guiding a pass to Holmstrom. From the blue line, Holmstrom filtered a shot through Steve Bernier’s screen and past Alex Lyon’s glove for his second goal in three games.
Bridgeport’s only advantage lasted just 1:50 as Tyler Wotherspoon recorded his fourth goal of the season on a rebound shortly after. Max Willman tested Gibson with a sharp-angle try that was turned back in front and Wotherspoon stepped to the rebound and tied the game at 2-2.
The Sound Tigers outshot Lehigh Valley 14-11 in the third, but couldn’t retake the lead and headed to overtime for the second straight contest. Vorobyev put the game to bed within the first two minutes, cutting in towards the crease and scoring his 10th goal of the season.
Bridgeport finished the evening 1-for-2 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill. Special teams has been a bright spot for the Sound Tigers in the season series, now 4-for-8 on the man advantage and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill against the Phantoms. Lyon (10-13-2) made 24 saves, while Lehigh Valley outshot the Sound Tigers 43-26.
Bridgeport is 1-2-0-0 in three meetings against Lehigh Valley.