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The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (15-25-4-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, scored twice in the second period on Saturday, but headed into the All-Star break with a 6-2 loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds (25-19-2-0) at MassMutual Center.
Cole Bardreau scored his first goal with the Sound Tigers and Grant Hutton added his fourth of the season, while Springfield All-Star Owen Tippett recorded a game-high three points (one goal, two assists). Bridgeport fired 43 shots on target, but Samuel Montembeault (5-5-1) turned back 41 chances in the Sound Tigers’ third straight setback.
Following more than 27 minutes of scoreless play, Jake Massie put Springfield on top 1-0 with the night’s first goal at 7:12 of the middle period. Joel Lowry connected a pass to Massie at the perimeter, where Massie skated to the high slot and beat Jared Coreau (7-12-1) with a perfect wrist shot for his third goal of the season.
Bridgeport bounced back just 2:01 later when Bardreau netted his first goal of the year and first with the team. Mike Cornell sent a shot off the end wall that jumped back to the side of the crease, where Montembeault misplayed it creating chaos in front. Robert Carpenter and Bardreau both sniffed the puck out and Bardreau forced a shot over the goal line just as the whistle sounded. After several minutes of confusion in the crowd and conversation between officials, the initial call was confirmed at the 9:13 mark.
Tippett made it 2-1 Springfield at 12:32 of the second period with his team-leading 19th goal of the season. He received a stretch pass from Daniel Audette and raced down the left wing, where he snapped a shot between Coreau’s wickets.
Hutton kept the Sound Tigers close with an unassisted tally less than five minutes later. The rookie defenseman settled a loose puck and stepped to the left point, where he floated a shot through traffic and past Montembeault’s glove to tie the game at 2-2 at the 17:00 mark.
Hunt gave the Thunderbirds their third one-goal lead in the final 50 seconds of the period and ultimately notched the game-winner with his eighth tally of the season. He opened up space and began a two-on-one rush before Coreau turned back an initial shot from the hash marks. Coreau also denied Adam Rockwood on a rebound chance before Hunt cashed in on another rebound from a tight angle. His goal made it 3-2 at 19:10 of the second frame and was the first of four straight for the T-Birds to end the night.
Springfield scored three more times in the third period to seal the outcome. Jack Rodewald beat Coreau between the circles at the 4:00 mark for his third goal of the season, and Audette followed with his 10th of the year exactly nine minutes later. Aleksi Saarela put the cherry on top with his 11th goal of the season at 19:13, finishing an odd-man rush over the Bridgeport line and Tippett’s cross-ice pass from the right wing.
Bridgeport finished the game 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and did not have a power-play opportunity for the second time this season. Coreau made 32 saves on 38 shots.
The loss dropped Bridgeport to 4-5-1-0 in 10 meetings against Springfield this season.
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.