BRIDGEPORT, Conn.- Travis St. Denis stayed red hot with his fourth goal of the weekend and Bracken Kearns added a tally, but the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (15-7-0-0), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, came up short in a 3-2 setback to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (15-6-1-0) at Webster Bank Arena on Sunday.
The loss snapped Bridgeport’s five-game win streak on home ice, and the team’s three-game win streak overall. The Phantoms’ victory was their first against the Sound Tigers this season.
Lehigh Valley took command midway through the first period, scoring twice and outshooting Bridgeport 14-3 in the frame. Taylor Leier made it 1-0 at the 8:51 mark with a breakaway tally for his sixth goal of the season. From the Phantoms’ goal line, Corban Knight threw a long stretch pass ahead to Leier in the neutral zone, who got behind defenseman Devon Toews and skated in alone on goaltender Stephon Williams. As Leier approached the hash marks, he went high blocker on Williams for the even-strength goal.
Just over three minutes later, Lehigh Valley doubled its lead on Colin McDonald’s 11th goal of the season, tied for the league lead. Knight created yet another attack when he skated below the goal line and slipped a pass to McDonald at the right hash marks. There, the former Sound Tiger ripped a quick shot over Williams’ glove at 12:07.
The Sound Tigers bounced back in the middle frame with a pair of goals 51 seconds apart to even the score after 40 minutes. St. Denis made it 2-1 at the 10:17 mark when he fought his way to the crease and cleaned up Scott Mayfield’s blast from the right circle. The Quinnipiac product turned a backhand shot past Martin Ouellette’s leg pads, assisted by Mayfield and Michael Dal Colle.
Less than a minute later, the Sound Tigers tied the game on a power-play goal from Kearns. With Chris Connor in the box for hooking, Ryan Pulock made a diagonal pass to Kearns between the circles, where the veteran funneled a shot over Ouellette’s glove at the 11:08 mark.
Danick Martel recorded the go-ahead goal at 7:40 of the third period with his fifth tally of the season. Robert Hagg controlled the puck on the left wing and faked a shot to get Williams out of position. He instead found Martel open in the slot, where the second-year pro brushed home the game-winner.
Bridgeport finished the game 1-for-6 on the power play and a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. Williams (3-7-0-0) stopped 25 shots in the loss.
The Phantoms outshot the Sound Tigers 28-21.