Kael Mouillierat scored the game-winner 3:36 into the overtime frame as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers topped the Syracuse Crunch 2-1 on Friday night at the Oncenter War Memorial Arena.
Mouillierat’s 16th of the season capped a back-and-forth game, filled with plenty of hits, saves and scoring chances between the two teams.
A scoreless first saw seven shots apiece and several scrums after the whistle. The highlight of the first was a fight between Justin Courtnall and Artem Sergeev after a hit on Aaron Ness. The two tussled late in the first period, throwing heavy lefts in a spirited bout.
The Sound Tigers outshot the Crunch 14-8 in the second period, but both David Leggio and Kristers Gudlevskis stayed strong, making big save after big save. The best chance of the middle frame came on an extended 5-on-3 for Bridgeport, but it could not convert as the teams went into the dressing rooms scoreless.
Jesse Graham finally broke the scoreless tie seven and a half minutes into the third period. After receiving a pass from Cory Conacher on the blue line, Graham walked from right to left and fired a shot through traffic that beat Gudlevskis to make it 1-0. Graham’s third of the season was his first since Oct. 25 when he tallied at St. John’s.
After no scoring in the first 47 minutes, the second goal of the game came just a minute later. Vladislav Namestnikov danced out from the right corner and threw a shot towards the net. The puck deflected off a Sound Tiger skate and past Leggio, knotting the game up at 1-1.
That completed the scoring for regulation, but there were scoring chances aplenty leading up to the overtime. Leggio continued his outstanding play in net, finishing with 29 saves for the game.
The two teams continued their non-stop action in the overtime. Then it was Mouillierat who was sprung for a breakaway and put a backhand-forehand move on Gudlevskis before slipping it five-hole to win the game.
Special teams were non-existent, as both teams went 0-for-4 on the power play. Gudlevskis made 30 saves in a losing effort.