Steve Bernier and Ben Holmstrom each scored an early goal in the first and second periods respectively, but the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (3-5-0-0), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, suffered a 5-2 loss against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (6-2-0-0) on Saturday night at Webster Bank Arena.
Penguins’ forward Ryan Haggerty notched a pair of goals in his season debut, including the game-winner late in the middle frame, which led the visitors to their fifth consecutive win. Between the pipes, Kristers Gudlevskis (2-2-0) made 20 saves on 24 shots, but suffered his second loss of the season.
Offensively, Bernier now has five goals in eight games during the 2017-18 campaign, putting him second behind Scott Eansor for the team lead.
Bernier got things going early in the contest when he capitalized on a breakaway, following a beautiful stretch pass from Ryan Bourque. The veteran winger was able to go five-hole on goaltender Tristan Jarry just 1:19 into the first period. Bridgeport had an opportunity to go up 2-0 when Alan Quine was awarded a penalty shot past the 13-minute mark, but failed to convert on the chance. Quine went forehand-to-backhand from the doorstep, but Jarry got his glove stretched over just in the nick of time.
Instead, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Tom Sestito got the Penguins on the board and tied the game at 13:27 of the third period. The forward capitalized on a 2-on-1 rush, in which Thomas DiPauli centered a pass that Sestito redirected off the post and into the back of the net. It was his second goal of the season.
Before fans could get back into their seats as the middle frame got underway, Holmstrom netted his third goal of the season just 52 seconds in to make it 2-1. Bridgeport’s captain shot the puck at the bottom of the right circle from a tight angle, but banked it off a Penguins’ body in front and behind the pads of Jarry. However, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tied the game once again at 7:33 of the second period on a power-play goal by Adam Johnson, his first professional goal. With Seth Helgeson in the box for cross-checking, Johnson cleaned up a rebound and banged it in off a blocked shot that bounced to the glove side of Gudlevskis.
That wasn’t it for the Penguins who scored three more times in a row, including the go-ahead tally in the middle frame as Haggerty beat Gudlevskis on a wrister, which went top shelf at 17:01. Haggerty used his body to protect the puck and skated right across the crease before getting firing a wrist shot giving the Penguins a 3-2 lead heading into the final period.
Christian Thomas put the visitors up by two late in the third period when he tipped in a shot off Johnson’s wrister in the final three minutes. Johnson was open in the slot and put on a move to get Gudlevskis out of position, which made the tip by Thomas possible from the crease at 17:08.
Haggerty capped the scoring at 19:14 of the third period with an empty-netter, his second of the night in his season debut.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 0-for-4 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton outshot Bridgeport 25-20, while Jarry (3-2-0) made 18 saves in the Penguins win.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers return to action next Friday with a 7:05 p.m. puck drop against the Providence Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Fans can follow all of the live action on the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHL Live, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.
Hottest Tickets in Town: The Sound Tigers will boast one of their most extensive and exciting promotional lineups in team history this season. This year’s calendar will feature the return of Star Wars Night (Dec. 2), meet-and-greets with the Justice League (Nov. 11) and Marvel (Jan. 27) superheroes, and all-new promotions like a camouflage baseball cap (Jan. 13) and a kid’s lunch box giveaway (Feb. 11). Click here to tickets.
Guarantee Your Seats: Season tickets and flex plans are on sale now for the 2017-18 campaign, offering the greatest savings and ultimate flexibility of all ticket packages. Pick between a full-season, 20-game, 15-game or 10-game plan and you’ll also be entitled to exclusive benefits, including the ticket holder exchange policy, which means any unused tickets can be traded for future games. Seating options are broken down into six different pricing sections, giving you the flexibility to fit Sound Tigers’ hockey into any kind of budget. Please contact Brad Dworin at 203-345-4813 or via brad.dw[email protected] with questions or to guarantee your seats.
About the Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Founded in 2001, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Hockey Club is the top minor league affiliate of the New York Islanders. Don’t miss your chance to take part in the family fun that occurs during home games at Webster Bank Arena. For further information on ticket or sponsorship opportunities, call our office at (203) 345-2300 or e-mail [email protected]. For more team information, log on to soundtigers.com.