Sound Tigers Win Third Straight with OT VictoryDec 29, 2018
Travis St. Denis scored with less than 34 seconds left in overtime on Saturday as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (21-9-4-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, earned a 3-2 victory against the Hartford Wolf Pack (14-15-2-2) at the XL Center.
It was Bridgeport's third straight win overall and its third in a row against the Wolf Pack as well. Kieffer Bellows and Otto Koivula also found the back of the cage, while Jeremy Smith (11-5-1) made 31 saves, including several timely stops in the third period.
With the win, the Sound Tigers moved one game above .500 on the road for the first time this season and remained three points behind the Charlotte Checkers for the top spot in the AHL (by points).
Bellows' second goal in the last three games put the Sound Tigers on top just 94 seconds into the first period, giving Bridgeport the opening goal for the 11th time in its last 12 games. Ryan Bourque turned along the right-wing boards and opened up space for Bellows, who gathered a pass at the high slot and converted a quick wrister past goaltender Dustin Tokarski for his ninth of the season. Ryan Hitchcock also registered an assist.
It stood as the game's only goal through the first 41 minutes until Hartford answered at 1:41 of the third period courtesy of defenseman Chris Bigras. Following a couple of close calls in the Sound Tigers' zone, the puck skipped out to the top of the left circle where Bigras stepped into a slap shot and wired it over Smith's glove and into the top right corner of the cage. It was Bigras' third goal of the season.
Koivula collected his first of two points on the night when he scored for the second straight game at 9:28 of the third. Chris Bourque jarred the puck free in the neutral zone and St. Denis raced ahead, and over the blue line. He set up a two-on-one rush with Koivula, who finished the play by hammering home a one-timer on a cross-ice feed to make it 2-1.
Seventeen seconds later, Bobby Butler tied the game for a second time with his sixth tally of the season. Bigras earned his second point of the contest with a brilliant diagonal pass across Bridgeport's zone that found Butler near the bottom of the left circle. He guided home a one-time shot to make it 2-2 at the 9:45 mark.
Unable to convert again in regulation, the Sound Tigers went to overtime for the 12th time this season and the third time against Hartford. The contest remained scoreless until the 4:26 mark when Koivula sprung St. Denis for a breakaway, in which the third-year forward made no mistake. He sped straight towards the crease and beat Tokarski's blocker with a forehand shot for his team-leading second overtime winner this season.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 0-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill. Hartford outshot Bridgeport 33-32, while Tokarski (7-4-2) made 29 saves in Hartford's second straight setback.
It was Bridgeport's third consecutive one-goal decision and its league-leading 22nd of the year (15-2-4-1).
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers continue a six-game road trip next Wednesday with their first contest of 2019 - a 7:05 p.m. puck drop against the Rochester Americans at Blue Cross Arena. Fans can follow all of the live action online via the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHLTV, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.
Packed Promotional Lineup: The Sound Tigers 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 Hockey and Hops (Mar. 17), Military Appreciation (Jan. 12), Star Wars Night (Jan. 19) and Princess Night (Mar. 30). Regional hockey fans will also be elated for the addition of Hockey Weekend in Connecticut (Feb. 23-24).
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]