The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (1-1-0-0), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, scored twice on the power play for the second straight night and defeated the Hershey Bears (0-2-0-0) for their first win of the season on Sunday at Giant Center.
Former Bear Chris Bourque notched his first goal with the Sound Tigers and Steve Bernier collected the game-winner early in the third period, while Jeremy Smith (1-0-0) backstopped the effort with 20 saves in his Bridgeport debut. Michael Dal Colle also chipped in with his second consecutive two-point night (two assists).
Dal Colle’s four points (1g, 3a) lead the club through two games.
Both teams traded chances in the first period and the Sound Tigers outshot the Bears 13-10, but the goaltenders were strong and took a scoreless draw into the middle frame. Kieffer Bellows had Bridgeport’s best opportunity with a partial breakaway on Hershey’s Vitek Vanecek, but was denied his second goal in as many nights.
Instead, Bourque put the Sound Tigers on top for the first time this season with a 5-on-3 power-play tally at 6:56 of the second period. Beck Malenstyn (tripping) and Liam O’Brien (goaltender interference) went to the box 34 seconds apart and Bridgeport made them pay with Bourque’s first goal of the season from between the circles. Bourque and Dal Colle played catch on the right side before Bourque wound up but didn’t shoot from above the circle. The veteran opted to move to his left and fired a slap shot past Vanecek to make it 1-0. Devon Toews also earned an assist.
Michael Sgarbossa tied the game at 13:51 of the second period when he converted on a breakaway for his second goal of the season. Shane Gersich angled a stretch pass off the wall to Sgarbossa and the latter skated directly at Smith before scoring stick-side from the hash marks.
Bridgeport grabbed the lead for good at 2:56 of the third period with his first goal of the season, from Dal Colle and Vande Sompel. With Jonas Siegenthaler in the box for tripping, Dal Colle fed a diagonal pass to Vande Sompel, but the second-year defenseman flubbed a one-time shot in the right circle. The puck bounced to the doorstep where Bernier netted a rebound to make it 2-1.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 2-for-6 on the power play and are now 4-for-11 on the season. In addition, the penalty kill went 4-for-4 and Bridgeport won the shot battle 22-21.
Vanecek (0-1-0) made 20 saves in his second debut for the Bears.
Home Opener: The Sound Tigers celebrate their 2018-19 home opener next Saturday with a 1 p.m. matchup against the Rochester Americans at Webster Bank Arena. The first 2,500 kids (14 years of age or younger) will receive a Sound Tigers backpack presented by All Electric Construction and Communication. In addition, Big Y will feature a pre-game Kids Zone on the plaza with food and beverage specials. Single-game tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster and the Webster Bank Arena Click It or Ticket Box Office.
Packed Promotional Lineup: The Sound Tigers will boast one of their most extensive and wide-ranging promotional schedules ever for the 2018-19 season. The fan-friendly calendar includes the return of popular themes like Hockey and Hops (Nov. 23 and Mar. 17), Military Appreciation (Jan. 12), Star Wars Night (Jan. 19) and Princess Night (Mar. 30). Regional hockey fans will be elated for the addition of Hockey Weekend in Connecticut (Feb. 23-24), while other new headliners include Holiday Gift Weekend (Dec. 15-16) and a revamped Teddy Bear Toss (Nov. 23). View the full 2017-18 promotional schedule.
For additional details or to reserve a group outing for any giveaway or theme night, please call the Sound Tigers’ front office at (203) 345-2300 ext 7.