The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (17-14-0-0), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, scored twice in a span of 3:11 late in the third period on Sunday, but suffered a 3-2 loss to the Albany Devils (19-13-0-1) at the Times Union Center in their first game of 2017.
Ex-Devil Steve Bernier delivered his team-leading 11th goal of the season, and second in as many games, while Andrew Rowe also found the back of the net. With the loss, Bridgeport fell to 2-1-0-0 against Albany this season.
The Devils took command early with two goals in the first 11 minutes of the afternoon, leading 2-0 at the first intermission. Ben Sexton opened the scoring just 1:32 into the game with his third goal in as many days on a delayed penalty. From the bottom of the left circle, Sexton lifted a sharp-angle shot over Eamon McAdam’s glove and into the top right corner of the cage.
Vojtech Mozik added his third goal of the season at the 10:32 mark on the power play. Following a tilt between Sexton and Connor Jones, and an additional two-minute minor to Jones for charging, Mozik got a pass from Kevin Stollery at the top of the left circle and cranked a one-timer past McAdam’s glove, chasing the rookie from between the pipes.
Blake Coleman extended Albany’s lead to 3-0 with another power-play tally at 7:59 of the middle frame. With Tanner Fritz in the box for boarding, Stollery slid a pass to the left wing for Mozik who ripped a one-timer on target. Coleman redirected the shot past Stephon Williams from the doorstep for his 10th goal of the season.
The Sound Tigers made it close late in the third period when Bernier and Rowe provided the only two blemishes against goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood and the Devils. Bernier put Bridgeport on the board with a power-play goal at 15:05 when he finished a rebound from the doorstep. After a hooking minor to Stollery, Bracken Kearns won the ensuing faceoff to Ryan Pulock at the blue line, where he smashed a one-timer on goal that Bernier cleaned up. In addition, Pulock extended his point-streak to a season-best five games (three goals, two assists) with an assist.
Just over three minutes later, Tanner Fritz and Kane Lafranchise teamed up to allow Rowe space on the left wing. Rowe charged onto the puck and fired a blast over Blackwood’s glove for his fifth tally of the season as Williams came to the bench for the extra attacker.
The Sound Tigers continued to pull Williams for the majority of the final two minutes, but the visitors were unable to even the score.
Bridgeport finished the game 1-for-4 on the power play and 1-for-3 on the penalty kill. McAdam made two saves on four shots in 10:32, while Williams (4-12-0) stopped 14 of 15 shots and suffered the loss in 48:25. Blackwood (7-6-1) turned back 30 of the 32 shots he faced in Albany’s win.
The Sound Tigers outshot the Devils 32-19.