Sound Tigers Outlast T-Birds in 4-3 WinDec 28, 2018
The Bridgeport Islanders (20-9-4-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, scored on both of their power plays and Otto Koivula broke a third-period deadlock with his eighth of the year in a 4-3 victory against the Springfield Thunderbirds (15-11-2-3) at MassMutual Center on Friday.
Mike Sislo, Mitch Vande Sompel and Parker Wotherspoon also found the back of the cage, while Michael Dal Colle led all players with three assists. Christopher Gibson (10-4-4) backstopped the effort with 29 saves one day after his 26th birthday as the Sound Tigers opened a six-game road trip, and closed to within three points of the Charlotte Checkers for the top spot in the AHL (by points).
Sislo opened the scoring with a power-play tally just 4:44 into the first period, snapping his 17-game stretch without a goal. Following a high-sticking penalty accessed to Sebastian Repo, the Sound Tigers set up in the offensive zone and Travis St. Denis guided a pass to Dal Colle. The third-year forward continued the puck to the left circle where Sislo pulled up below the face-off dot and blasted a one-timer short side on goaltender Samuel Montembeault. It was Sislo's sixth goal of the season and his second on the power play.
Springfield tied the game at the 15:28 mark when Dryden Hunt forced home a rebound while the Thunderbirds enjoyed a five-on-three power play. With Yannick Rathgeb (tripping) and Kyle Burroughs (boarding) both serving minor penalties, Ian McCoshen hammered a slap shot from the top of the left circle that Gibson turned back with a pad save. However, Matt Marcinew jammed away near the doorstep and Hunt finished the play by flipping the puck top shelf past Gibson's reaching glove. It was Hunt's 12th goal of the season, which made it 1-1.
Joel Lowry put the T-Birds on top for the first time with another power-play strike at 9:22 of the second period. With Sislo in the box for hooking and Springfield operating on its fourth man advantage, Jacob MacDonald sailed an initial shot from the blue line that Gibson deflected back, but Lawry dove to the rebound and completed his sixth goal of the season.
Bridgeport answered less than five minutes later to tie the game at 2-2 courtesy of Vande Sompel's fifth goal of the year, which capped a stretch of four straight power-play tallies to begin the contest. After Harry Zolnierczyk took an interference penalty, Vande Sompel received Sislo's pass at the high slot, reached back, and rifled a shot past Montembeault's glove at the 14:05 mark.
Thirty-five seconds later, Thomas Schemitsch made it 3-2 Springfield with a fortunate bank shot in front that led to his fourth goal of the season. MacDonald found Schemitsch moving through the left circle and the later fired a shot off of a Sound Tiger in front, which deflected past Gibson's glove at 14:40.
A clutch goal from Wotherspoon with just 0.2 seconds left in the middle frame changed the entire complexion of the contest and tied the game for a third time heading into the second intermission. With time running out, Wotherspoon stepped into a lengthy shot from the left point that sailed through traffic and past Montembeault to make it 3-3. Koivula and Chris Bourque (one of two assists) aided in the game-tying effort.
Koivula notched the eventual game-winner at 7:13 of the third period when he capitalized on an odd-man rush in transition to beat Montembeault for Bridgeport's fourth and final goal. Dal Colle grabbed a loose puck in the neutral zone and charged the other way, creating a three-on-one attack across Springfield's blue line. He centered a pass to Bourque who continued it over to the right side for Koivula, whose one-timer sailed in glove side.
The Sound Tigers are now 14-2-4-1 in one-goal outcomes and lead the league with 21 one-goal decisions this season. They finished the game 2-for-4 on the penalty kill and were outshot 32-23. Montembeault (11-6-2) made 19 saves on 23 shots in Springfield's setback.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers continue a six-game road trip tomorrow night with a 7 p.m. puck drop against the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL 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]