Sound Tigers Edged by Wolf Pack in Final GameMay 4, 2021
The Bridgeport Islanders (8-14-2-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, completed their 2020-21 season with a 4-3 setback to the Hartford Wolf Pack (14-8-1-0) at the XL Center on Tuesday.
Bode Wilde scored once and added an assist, while Cole Coskey also collected multiple points with two helpers. It was the first professional multi-point performance for both rookies.
Simon Holmstrom and Arnaud Durandeau also found the back of the net, but Tim Gettinger lifted Hartford to its third straight victory with the game-winning goal at 8:07 of the final frame. Ken Appleby (4-3-0) made 24 saves in Bridgeport’s season finale.
For just the second time in eight games, the Sound Tigers allowed the opening tally when Anthony Greco scored his third goal of the season at the 3:46 mark. With Erik Brown in the box for interference, Jonny Brodzinski curled at the left point and moved to the circle where he fed a cross-ice pass to the slot for Greco’s one-timer. It was the first of two power-play goals for the Wolf Pack.
Less than four minutes later, Simon Holmstrom evened the contest with his fourth goal of the season and his third against the Rangers’ affiliate. Samuel Bolduc missed the net on a slap shot from the blue line, but the puck jumped off the end wall and bounced back in front where Holmstrom elevated the rebound over Adam Huska’s glove at the 7:38 mark.
Mason Geertsen regained the lead for Hartford when he scored his third goal of the season and second in as many games at 14:12 of the first period. At even strength, Austin Rueschhoff dug the puck out of a pile in the right corner and skated behind Bridgeport’s net before centering a pass for Geetsen, who tapped it under Appleby. The Wolf Pack headed into the closing minutes of the period with a 2-1 lead until Hunter Skinner was called for holding and the Sound Tigers cashed in on the power play.
Otto Koivula settled Coskey’s feed on the right side and directed a cross-ice pass to Wilde, where the 21-year-old defenseman went skate-to-stick and picked the bottom left corner through Erik Brown’s screen. It was Wilde’s third goal of the season at the 18:00 mark.
The contest remained knotted at 2-2 until the start of the third period when Paul Thompson put Hartford ahead for a third time. With just three seconds remaining on Felix Bibeau’s slashing penalty, Thompson tucked the puck inside the right post and past Appleby’s glove for his fifth goal of the season. The go-ahead tally came at 4:52 of the frame.
Gettinger gave the Wolf Pack their largest lead of the day with the eventual winner at 8:07. He raced through center and down the left wing of the Sound Tigers’ zone before flipping a backhand shot over Appleby’s glove to make it 4-2. Bridgeport got one back in the final two minutes with Durandeau’s fourth goal of the season, on a rebound from Bode Wilde, but it wasn’t enough to extend the team’s six-game point streak.
The Sound Tigers finished the afternoon 1-for-2 on the power play and 2-for-4 on the penalty kill. Huska (9-3-0) made 16 saves for Hartford.
Cole Bardreau was held quiet for the first time since Apr. 13th, snapping his scoring streak at a career-high seven games, but the veteran forward ended the season leading the Sound Tigers in both goals (10) and points (16) in 24 games. It’s the first time in his pro career that he’s led his club in scoring.
The contest also included one fight when Mike Cornell and Will Cuylle dropped the gloves at 14:58 of the first period.