Eansor Scores Twice as Sound Tigers Grind Out WinDec 27, 2018
Scott Eansor scored twice on Thursday to lead the Bridgeport Islanders (19-9-4-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, to their league-best 12th home win of the season in a 3-2 victory against the Hartford Wolf Pack (14-15-1-2) at Webster Bank Arena.
Eansor has now scored in three straight games (four goals during that span), while Kieffer Bellows added his eighth goal of the season – all but one coming at home. Between the pipes, Jeremy Smith (10-5-1) made 23 saves on 25 shots to earn his third straight win.
The Sound Tigers remain second in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference (43 points), five points behind the Charlotte Checkers. In addition, Bridgeport extended its unbeaten in regulation streak at Webster Bank Arena to 15 games (12-0-2-1, team record).
Eansor got the ball rolling early and put the Sound Tigers out front just 2:17 into the opening period with his fourth goal of the season to make it 1-0. Tanner Fritz stole the puck in the neutral zone and charged ahead to set up a two-on-one rush towards Hartford goaltender Dustin Tokarski. He guided a cross-ice pass to Eansor on the left side where the second-year forward hammered home a one-timer to extend his goal-scoring streak to three games.
In what became a theme, Hartford answered just 91 seconds later when Ville Meskanen netted his seventh goal of the season on a long rebound. Chris Bigras forced a lengthy shot from the right point that Smith turned back, but Meskanen capitalized on the second chance from between the circles to even the game at 1-1.
Bellows took advantage of a four-on-four situation at 10:36 of the first period to regain Bridgeport's lead. Following penalties to both Mitch Vande Sompel (holding) and a too many men on the ice minor against the Wolf Pack, Kyle Burroughs circled behind Hartford's net and slipped a pass to the slot where Bellows slammed home a one-timer to make it 2-1. Parker Wotherspoon also earned an assist on the tally.
Vinni Lettieri drew the game back even at 13:20 of the second period with a pin-point shot off the crossbar and in. Steven Fogarty generated a turnover in the Bridgeport zone and found Lettieri at the high slot, where he ripped a shot over Smith's blocker, off the pipe, and in for his eighth goal and 16th point in 13 AHL games this season.
Eansor capped the 3-2 final with the game-winning goal, which came shorthanded, in the final 23 seconds of the middle frame. Polishing off a spectacular individual effort, Eansor forced a John Gilmour turnover near Hartford's slot and gathered the puck between the hash marks. He made a forehand-to-backhand move above the crease before slipping a shot under Tokarski's glove, all while drawing a delayed penalty.
Hartford outshot Bridgeport 11-9 in the third period, but couldn't come up with the equalizer, which pushed the Sound Tigers to 3-1-1-1 against the Wolf Pack this season.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 0-for-5 on the power play, 2-for-2 on the penalty kill, and outshot the visitors 31-25. Tokarski (7-4-1) suffered the loss and saw his personal six-game win streak come to an end with 28 saves.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers return to action tomorrow night with a 7:05 p.m. puck drop against the Springfield Thunderbirds at MassMutual Center. 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 Islanders
Founded in 2001, the Bridgeport Islanders 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]