Four-Goal Second Not Enough For Sound Tigers

ALLENTOWN, PA – The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (16-9-0-0), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, fought back from a four-goal deficit in the second period on Wednesday, but dropped a high-scoring, 8-6 decision, to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (18-7-1-0) at the PPL Center.

Devon Toews (one goal, two assists) and Connor Jones (one goal, one assist) each recorded multi-point efforts as the Sound Tigers scored a season-high six goals in the setback. Lehigh Valley’s Radel Fazleev notched the game-winning goal in the final five minutes of the roller-coaster affair.

The Phantoms dominated the first period from start to finish, scoring four goals and outshooting the Sound Tigers 21-8. Chris Connor opened the scoring just 84 seconds into the game with a strong individual effort down the right wing, in which he entered the zone, skated through the circle and cut towards the net. From the doorstep, he finished a right-to-left move past goaltender Eamon McAdam for his sixth tally of the season.

Travis Sanheim followed with two goals less than six minutes apart, including a power-play strike assisted by Will O’Neill and Colin McDonald at the 14:52 mark. With Michael Dal Colle in the box for interference, Sanheim set up in the right circle and sent a heavy wrist shot off the left post and in past McAdam’s blocker. His goal prior to that, at the 9:05 mark, was funneled between McAdam’s leg pads from the left wing.

The Sound Tigers got one back at 15:21 when Travis St. Denis cleaned up a loose puck below the right circle for his fifth goal in the last five games, assisted by Josh Ho-Sang and Toews. However, the Phantoms answered at the 18:11 mark courtesy of Mark Zengerle. From the right side, Zengerle skated across the blue line, slowed at the hash marks and wristed a shot over McAdam’s blocker for his sixth goal of the season. That tally ultimately chased McAdam from the crease, as Stephon Williams entered the game to begin the second period.

The middle frame was a completely different story as the Sound Tigers outscored the Phantoms 4-1 to even the game after 40 minutes. Lehigh Valley’s Greg Carey got the first tally of the second with a 5-on-3 power-play goal just 1:53 in. With Ho-Sang and Bracken Kearns both in the box, Jordan Weal directed a pass to the right side for Carey, who slammed home a one-timer for his league-leading ninth power-play tally.

Bridgeport stormed back with four straight goals in a span of less than eight minutes to make things interesting entering the third period. Connor Jones made it 5-2 with his team-leading second shorthanded goal of the season, intercepting a pass in the neutral zone and beating Lyon’s glove hand at the 8:35 mark. The Sound Tigers continue to rank second in the AHL with six shorthanded goals scored this season.

Tanner Fritz followed at 11:35 by capping a brilliant rush into the offensive zone by Scott Mayfield. Mayfield created the attack down the right wing when he crossed the blue line, danced past a pair of Phantoms and forced a sharp feed to Fritz at the far post. It was Fritz’s seventh goal of the season. Just over three minutes later, Toews added his second goal in the last three games when Jones set up his former Quinnipiac University teammate at the top of the left circle. From there, Toews wristed a pin-point shot over Lyon’s glove for his fourth goal of the season overall.

Steve Bernier added his team-leading ninth tally of the season at the 16:15 mark on a backhand shot from the slot that squeezed through Lyon’s leg pads to tie the game.

Lehigh Valley grabbed the lead for good with a pair of goals in the third period from T.J. Brennan and Fazleev. Fazleev’s game winner, scored at the 15:08 mark, was the product of a 2-on-1 rush as Zengerle slipped a cross-ice pass from the right wing to the left circle, where the rookie forward delivered the game-winner.

Andrew Rowe logged Bridgeport’s final tally with a 6-on-5 goal at 18:55, but Cole Bardreau sealed the 8-6 final with an empty netter in the final four seconds.

The Sound Tigers finished the game 0-for-4 on the power play and 6-for-8 on the penalty kill. McAdam made 17 saves on 21 shots in 20 minutes of work, while Williams (3-9-0) stopped 12 shots in the loss. Lyon turned back 30 shots in the win.

Lehigh Valley outshot Bridgeport 37-36.

Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers return to action on Friday with a 7 p.m. matchup against the Providence Bruins in Providence, RI. Fans can follow all of the live action via the team’s official online broadcast at, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m. ET.

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