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Christopher Gibson made a season-high 44 saves on 46 shots to backstop the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (17-27-4-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, to a 4-2 win against the Providence Bruins (26-18-2-3) at Webster Bank Arena on Saturday.
Colin McDonald, Mason Jobst and Robert Carpenter each scored once and added an assist, while Simon Holmstrom earned his first professional game-winning goal. The win snapped Bridgeport’s three-game slide at home and improved their record against the Bruins this season to 3-4-0-0.
Gibson’s (6-6-3) 44 saves were the most for any Sound Tigers’ goaltender this season and it was also the most shots that Bridgeport has seen in a game all year.
The Sound Tigers were buzzing from the start and scored three times in the opening frame to lead 3-0 after one. McDonald struck first at the 3:23 mark with this second goal of the season and first since Jan. 3. Jobst got to the puck quickly on a successful dump in and gained possession behind the Providence net. He immediately fed McDonald in front for a one-time blast that beat Bruins starter Max Lagace (17-7-3).
Less than three minutes later, those same two players reversed roles as McDonald set up Jobst for his fourth goal of the season. Captain Kyle Burroughs redirected the puck ahead and it skipped to the right corner, where McDonald immediately played it to the doorstep. Jobst raced towards it and went forehand-to-backhand in front to make it 2-0 at 6:11.
The Sound Tigers kept the peddle down as the first period progressed, and at the 16:38 mark, Holmstrom added a third tally. Carpenter settled the puck at center ice and raced into the offensive zone with a big burst of speed. He dropped the puck behind him and Holmstrom fit a perfectly-placed shot through Lagace for his fourth goal of the season, which ultimately ended Lagace’s night. He was replaced by Dan Vladar (no decision) to begin the second and Lagace made seven saves on 10 shots in the loss.
Providence outshot Bridgeport 16-9 in the second period, but Gibson remained stellar and took a shutout bid into the third. However, his blank sheet ended at the 7:14 mark when Jack Studnicka scored his league-leading sixth shorthanded goal of the year and his team-leading 18th of the season overall. Studnicka created a turnover near his own blue line and bolted the other way to finish off the chance. He scored a brilliant, one-handed goal going forehand-to-backhand in front to make it 3-1, but also caught Gibson up high following the play that drew blood from the Bridgeport goalie. Gibson showed his toughness by remaining in the game.
Brendan Woods made it interesting with a deflection past Gibson’s pads that made it 3-2 at the 16:41 mark. Just after Providence pulled Vladar for the extra attacker, Alex Petrovic sent a long blast from the blue line into a crowd that Woods redirected for his eighth goal of the season. However, the Bruins pulled Vladar again in an effort to tie the game and Carpenter sealed it with an empty-net tally from the neutral zone at 18:15.
The contest also included one fight when Woods and Seth Helgeson squared off at 3:22 of the second period. Helgeson connected several right-handed punches, including one that knocked Woods’ helmet off.
Bridgeport finished the game 0-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.