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Ontario native Mitch Vande Sompel had two points and Scott Eansor (pictured) scored his first goal of the season on Saturday as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (11-5-2-0), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, won their second straight game in Canada with a 2-1 victory against the Belleville Senators (8-9-0-0) at CAA Arena.
Vande Sompel also helped Bridgeport preserve its lead in the closing stages of regulation by kicking a loose puck off the goal line, while Christopher Gibson (6-3-1) made 28 saves for his third win in his last four starts.
The Sound Tigers have now earned points in eight straight games (7-0-1) dating back to Nov. 3 against Springfield. The club remains three points behind the Charlotte Checkers for the Atlantic Division's top spot.
Vande Sompel got the scoring started at 10:03 of the first period with his second goal of the season, and first at even strength. Chris Bourque fed the puck to Sebastian Aho in the high slot and the defenseman looked towards the net, but didn't shoot. Instead, he kept it on the forehand and directed a pass to the left circle, where Vande Sompel went short side on goaltender Jake Paterson and tucked a wrist shot between the left post and Paterson's blocker.
The Senators bounced back less than eight minutes later when Adam Tambellini scored a power-play goal with Seth Helgeson in the box for delay of game. Paul Carey curled in the left circle and fired a shot that was turned back by Gibson, but Carey regathered the rebound and guided a pass to Tambellini in front. The brother of former Sound Tiger Jeff Tambellini settled the pass and beat Gibson with a wrist shot for his seventh goal of the season at the 17:54 mark.
Despite 23 combined shots in the middle frame, both Gibson and Paterson stood tall and took a 1-1 deadlock into the third period.
Eansor potted the game-winner at 10:03 with a deflection between the circles for his first tally of the season. Jeff Kubiak found Vande Sompel at the blue line and the Islanders prospect ripped a long wrist shot while leaning to his left. Eansor redirected it from the hash marks and past Paterson's reaching glove to make it 2-1. It was Vande Sompel's second point of the evening, while Kubiak now has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last seven games.
Despite heavy pressure down the stretch, Gibson and the Sound Tigers took care of business en route to their fourth win on the road this season. Belleville outshot Bridgeport 9-8 in the third period and produced several key scoring chances in the final two minutes specifically, after Paterson was brought to the bench for the extra attacker. One knuckling shot was blocked down in the crease and behind Gibson, but Vande Sompel kept it out with his skate. Belleville's Chase Balisy also hit the crossbar with five seconds remaining.
Bridgeport finished the game 0-for-3 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill, while Paterson (0-1-0) stopped 25 shots for the Senators.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers return to Webster Bank Arena on Friday with a 7 p.m. matchup against the Hartford Wolf Pack, headlined by popular promotions “Hockey and Hops” and “Teddy Bear Toss.” Fans can also follow all of the live action via AHLTV and the Sound Tigers Radio Network, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m. In addition, Friday's game will be streamed live on the AHL's Official Facebook page as the “Game of the Week”.
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 Hockey and Hops (Nov. 23 and 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 other new headliners include Holiday Gift Weekend (Dec. 15-16) and a revamped Teddy Bear Toss (Nov. 23).
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]