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The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (12-7-3-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, took the Providence Bruins (10-8-3-0) to overtime on Saturday, but suffered a 2-1 loss after Ryan Fitzgerald scored on a penalty shot in the extra frame at Webster Bank Arena.
Despite the setback, the Sound Tigers extended their unbeaten in regulation streak at home to 11 games (8-0-2-1). It was also the third time in five meetings that overtime was needed between the Atlantic Division rivals. Bridgeport is 2-2-1-0 against Providence this season.
Parker Wotherspoon netted his third goal of the season and Josh Ho-Sang earned his league-leading 19th assist, while Christopher Gibson (7-3-3) made 27 saves on 29 shots between the pipes.
While both teams traded posts in a scoreless first period, Wiley Sherman opened the scoring for Providence at 5:48 of the second period. After Anton Blidh centered a pass, Sherman threw a shot on net from the weak-side half wall that hit Kyle Burroughs' skate and found its way past Gibson. Sherman, who grew up in nearby Greenwich, Conn., recorded his second goal of the season and his first since Nov. 11 against Lehigh Valley.
Although the Sound Tigers outshot Providence 9-7 in the second period, they were unable to find the back of the net. Mike Sislo was the closest to beating Dan Vladar when his left-side shot rang off the iron halfway through the period.
Wotherspoon drew the game even just 1:54 into the third period when he finished a brilliant feed from Ho-Sang. Burroughs left a drop-pass in the offensive zone and Ho-Sang picked it up before evading Desmond Bergin. He skated up and down the left-wing wall and eventually dished a no-look, cross-ice feed to Wotherspoon, who made no mistake one-timing it home.
Ho-Sang's assist gives him 19 helpers this season, tied for most in the AHL with Rochester's Lawrence Pilut.
Bridgeport used its momentum to nearly take the lead in the following minutes. The Sound Tigers drew consecutive penalties to gain a five-on-three powerplay opportunity, but they were unable to find twine. Bridgeport's closest effort was from Sislo, who hit his second post of the night after his one-timer got by Vladar's blocker side.
In the other crease, Gibson stood tall and stopped all eight shots he faced in the third, including an acrobatic save on Anders Bjork at 13:09. After the P-Bruins entered the zone on a three-on-one break, Gibson moved laterally and robbed Bjork on a one-timer to keep the game tied at 1-1.
While Bridgeport outshot Providence 14-8 and maintained the bulk of possession in the third period, the contest was settled in through extra frame.
Fitzgerald was awarded a penalty shot at 3:04 of overtime after Ryan Bourque was called for hooking. Fitzgerald went backhand-to-forehand before he beat Gibson with a quick snapshot below the blocker. His game-winning goal was also his seventh of the season and team-leading 18th point.
Despite not converting on five power-play opportunities, Bridgeport was a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill. Vladar (4-4-1) made 29 saves for the Bruins.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers face the Springfield Thunderbirds tomorrow afternoon with a 3:05 p.m. matchup at MassMutual Center. Fans can follow all of the live action via the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHLTV, beginning with the pre-game show at 2:45 p.m.
Packed Promotional Lineup: The Sound Tigers will boast one of their most extensive and wide-ranging promotional schedules ever for the 2018-19 season. The fan-friendly calendar includes the return of popular themes like ComiCONN Night (Dec. 1), Hockey and Hops (Mar. 17), Military Appreciation (Jan. 12), Star Wars Night (Jan. 19) and Princess Night (Mar. 30). Regional hockey fans will be elated for the addition of Hockey Weekend in Connecticut (Feb. 23-24), while another new headliner includes Holiday Gift Weekend (Dec. 15-16).
For additional details or to reserve a group outing for any giveaway or theme night, please call the Sound Tigers' front office at (203) 345-2300 ext 7.
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]