Samuel Bolduc and Cole Coskey each scored their first professional goal on Sunday afternoon, but the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, dropped a 5-2 decision to the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center.
The Sound Tigers (0-2-0-0) led by two in the middle frame and carried a one-goal advantage into the second intermission, but Hartford (1-0-0-0) answered with five straight tallies in its season opener. Bolduc finished with a goal on his only shot and an even rating, while Coskey had a goal on two shots and a plus-two rating.
After scoring just once on Friday against Providence, the Sound Tigers lit the lamp just 14:12 into Sunday’s matinee when Bolduc wired a slap shot past goaltender Keith Kinkaid from the left point. Erik Brown forced a pass to Felix Bibeau behind the net, where his wraparound chance didn’t go but the puck slid to the parameter, and Bolduc didn’t miss. It was also the first professional point for Brown and Bibeau (assists), which came on Bridgeport’s first even-strength marker of the season.
Coskey made it 2-0 in the opening seven minutes of the second period when he capitalized in his professional debut. Coskey created a turnover in Hartford’s right circle before flipping a picture-perfect backhand shot over Kinkaid’s glove at the 6:55 mark.
The Wolf Pack got one back less than three minutes later with Tarmo Reunanen’s first North American goal. Reunanen settled a Bridgeport turnover in the offensive zone and wristed a lengthy shot from the blue line that sailed past Jakub Skarek’s glove at 9:22.
From there, Hartford opened the floodgates and capped the contest with a four-goal third period to solidify a come-from-behind win. Jonny Brodzinski tied the game just 26 seconds into the period by cashing in on a turnover from the left circle, beating Skarek’s glove for his first with the Wolf Pack. Patrick Newell scored the eventual game-winner at the 4:23 mark with a forehand shot, in tight, after hustling behind the Sound Tigers’ defense.
Morgan Barron and Will Cuylle each added their first professional goals within a span of 34 seconds midway through the period to make it 5-2. Barron’s was on the power play at the 10:51 mark after Coskey was called for slashing to slow Tim Gettinger’s breakaway opportunity.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 3-for-4 on the penalty kill and 0-for-2 on the power play. Skarek (0-2-0) made 21 saves on 26 shots, while Kinkaid (1-0-0) turned aside 25 chances in his Hartford debut. The contest also included one fight when Seth Helgeson and Austin Rueschhoff dropped the gloves in the second period after a collision between Helgeson and Cuylle.