ROCHESTER, NY - Travis St. Denis beat Linus Ullmark less than 90 seconds into overtime on Wednesday as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (26-22-5-3), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, opened a four-game road trip with a 2-1 victory against the Rochester Americans (27-15-9-6) at Blue Cross Arena.
Michael Dal Colle also contributed to Bridgeport’s offense with his seventh goal of the season, which began the scoring, while Kristers Gudlevskis (8-10-5) provided confidence in the crease with 25 saves on 26 shots. The Latvian netminder has stopped 64 of 65 shots over the last two games – both wins.
With the victory, the Sound Tigers moved to within five points of the Charlotte Checkers for the Atlantic Division’s final playoff spot. Bridgeport has 20 games remaining in the regular season. It also snapped the Sound Tigers' six-game slide on the road (0-4-1-1), dating back to Jan. 16.
Dal Colle put the Sound Tigers on top at 13:49 of the first period when he capitalized on a long rebound in the slot. Rochester native Stephen Gionta created the chance when he received John Stevens’ pass in the neutral zone and charged down the right wing before firing a shot from the circle. Ullmark made a pad save on Gionta, but kicked the rebound between the circles where Dal Colle forced it home.
The Amerks bounced back less than six minutes later and evened the game with just 39 seconds left in the period. Alexander Nylander carried the puck to the doorstep and attempted to juke past Gudlevskis, but settled for a tough-angle shot just outside of the crease. Although Nylander didn’t get much on the initial shot, it was enough to tilt Gudlevskis off balance and Sean Malone nudged a loose puck over the goal line. It was Malone’s eighth tally of the season.
The Sound Tigers outshot Rochester 18-10 in the final 40 minutes, but Gudlevskis and Ullmark each kept their composure to force an extra frame. However, overtime lasted less than 90 seconds as St. Denis netted his 14th goal of the season, and his third game-winner, following a Josh Ho-Sang breakaway. The second-year forward got his feet moving in the neutral zone and charged ahead before the puck was poked away by a back-checking Taylor Fedun. It slid to the corner where Ho-Sang recovered it, guided a pass to the slot, and St. Denis did the rest, beating Ullmark's glove at the 1:23 mark.
Bridgeport finished the game 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and 0-for-5 on the power play. Ullmark (18-11-9) made 25 saves for the Amerks, while Bridgeport outshot Rochester 27-26.
The Sound Tigers improved to 1-1-1-0 against the Americans this season.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers continue a four-game road trip on Friday with their inaugural visit to Place Bell in Laval, Que. Bridgeport will face the Laval Rocket at 7:30 p.m. for the second and final time this season following a 6-3 loss in the team's home opener on Oct. 21. Fans can follow all of the live action via the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHL Live , beginning with the pre-game show at 7 p.m.