Four Goals Not Enough in 5-4 SetbackApr 13, 2021
The Bridgeport Islanders (3-12-1-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, scored four times from four different players but suffered a 5-4 loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack (9-6-1-0) at Webster Bank Arena on Tuesday.
Patrick Khodorenko scored twice including the game-winner with less than five minutes remaining, while Bode Wilde and Tanner Fritz each had a goal for the second straight game. Arnaud Durandeau recorded a goal and one assist for his first AHL multi-point game since Dec. 18, 2019 against Syracuse.
Following a scoreless opening period, opportunities for both teams drastically picked up in a seven-goal second frame that saw the Wolf Pack lead 4-3 entering the intermission. Hartford opened the scoring 61 seconds into the second period when Morgan Barron earned his team-leading ninth goal on a shot that snuck under Jakub Skarek’s glove from the left circle and tucked itself just inside the right post.
Wilde answered just 1:53 later with his second professional goal that tied the game 1-1. Durandeau and Dmytro Timashov battled against the end-boards deep in the Hartford zone before the puck bounced to Wilde on the right wing, where he fired a wrist shot that was altered in front and sailed past goalie Tyler Wall. Wilde’s second goal in as many games came at 2:54 of the second period.
Hartford quickly responded 52 seconds later to grab a 2-1 advantage, courtesy of Justin Richards’ second pro goal. Ty Ronning settled Tarmo Reunanen’s pass above the right circle and delivered a cross-ice feed to the left wing where Richards converted on a one-time slap shot at 3:46. Ronning pushed his point streak to six games (five goals, six assists) with the primary helper.
Bridgeport got back even at 9:42 of the second period when Fritz converted his third goal of the season from Kyle MacLean and Grant Hutton. While up against the half-wall, MacLean advanced the puck to center from his own zone and Fritz raced onto it before scoring from a sharp angle on the right wing.
Hartford earned its largest lead of the afternoon with back-to-back goals just 4:30 apart beginning with Austin Rueschhoff’s fourth tally of the season 47 seconds after Fritz tied the game. He capitalized on Alex Whelan’s backhand centering pass from behind the goal line at the 10:29 mark before Khodorenko made it 4-2 at 14:59.
Durandeau got the Sound Tigers back within one in the final minute of the second period, tapping home Seth Helgeson’s shot from the right wing that was pinned between Wall’s left skate and the goal post. No whistle sounded after Helgeson’s opportunity and Durandeau forced it home for his second goal of the year.
Wotherspoon’s first goal of the season in the final seven minutes knotted the game at 4-4, giving Bridgeport life in its hopes of snapping a five-game winless streak. He filtered a shot through a screen and past goaltender Adam Huska, who replaced Wall to start the third period, assisted by Jeff Kubiak and Tom Kuhnhackl.
Khodorenko’s game-winner at 15:02 of the third period beat Skarek’s blocker on the short side after the Wolf Pack forward snuck behind Bridgeport’s defense on a late breakaway. It was his first professional multi-point game.
The Sound Tigers went 0-for-3 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill. Bridgeport outshot the Wolf Pack 24-23 and Skarek (1-8-0) finished with 19 saves.
Hartford pushed its winning streak to a season-high six games, which is also the longest active stint in the AHL. It was the first time Bridgeport has scored at least four goals since Mar. 18th, but the fifth time in its last eight games the Sound Tigers have allowed at least five.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers face the Wolf Pack in a 1 p.m. rematch on Thursday at Webster Bank Arena. Fans can follow all of the live action via AHLTV or the Sound Tigers Radio Network, beginning with the pre-game show at 12:45 p.m.