ALBANY, NY – Jason Pitton has had his role spelled out for him this season by the coaching staff and tonight he played it perfectly, getting into a scrap and earning the decision and then scoring a shorthanded goal in the final two minutes of the game to help the Sound Tigers to a 4-2 victory over the Albany River Rats. Nathan Lawson was once again stellar in goal for the Sound Tigers, earning his tenth win of the season, making 21 saves. Mike Iggulden and James Sixsmith had first period tallies for the Sound Tigers while Trevor Smith padded his team lead in goals with his 21st in the third period. Pat Dwyer and Bryan Rodney had the goals for Albany. With the win, the Sound Tigers improve their record to 26-13-2-2, giving them 56 points and claim to second place in the East Division.
Both teams used their first shot on goal to break the net-minders shutout bids early in the first period. Iggulden broke the scoreless tie only 54 seconds into the first period with his 18th goal of the season. Tomas Marcinko dumped the puck deep into the River Rats’ zone where Jesse Joensuu beat Albany defenseman Tim Conboy to the loose puck. Joensuu turned and quickly fed a pass to Iggulden cutting in from the right circle where he one-timed the puck under River Rats’ starting goalie Daniel Manzato, giving the Sound Tigers the 1-0 lead. Four minutes later, Albany would get their first shot on Sound Tigers’ starter, Nathan Lawson. Dwyer received a pass at the back post from Jerome Samson where he blasted a shot past Lawson to tie the score at 1-1. Dwight Helminen also had an assist on Dwyer’s 10th goal of the season. The Sound Tigers would regain the one-goal lead at the halfway mark of the period when the team’s All-Star defenseman, Andrew MacDonald, fired a point that Sixsmith redirected at the top of the crease for his first goal of the season. Vladimir Nikiforov had the second assist on the goal giving the Sound Tigers a 2-1 lead.
Smith had the Sound Tigers best chance of the second period when he grabbed a loose puck along the left-wing boards and came in alone on Manzato. Smith took the puck to his backhand and tried to slide the puck under the River Rats’ net-minder but was unsuccessful, as the Sound Tigers headed into the third period with a 2-1 lead.
The Sound Tigers would add to their lead while on the power-play 4:51 into the final period of regulation. Chris Lee snapped a point shot on net that Manzato stopped but could not control the rebound. After scrambling for the loose puck, Smith was able to poke it through the Albany goaltender to give the Sound Tigers the 3-1 lead. Ben Walter also had an assist on Smith’s team-leading 21st goal of the season. Bryan Rodney would draw the River Rats back within a goal with about four minutes to play in the game but Pitton’s snap shot over Manzato’s blocker while the Sound Tigers were shorthanded with 1:45 to play sealed the win for the Sound Tigers at 4-2.
Lawson earned his tenth win of the season while his counterpart, Manzato suffered the loss, stopping 14 of the 18 shots he faced. The Sound Tigers were 0-for-1 on their man-advantage and a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty-kill.
Tonight, the Sound Tigers will pack the bus and travel up to Portland, ME in preparation for their two games this Friday and Saturday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center. The puck will drop on both games at 7 p.m. The Sound Tigers next home game is scheduled for Saturday, January 31 when the Pirates come to Arena at Harbor Yard for the first time this season. Face-off is set for 7 p.m. For tickets or information on you can receive a group discount for any of the team’s home games, contact the front office at (203) 334-GOAL or e-mail [email protected].