BRIDGEPORT, CT - Ross Johnston broke a scoreless deadlock nearly midway through the second period on Sunday, but the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (38-23-2-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, couldn’t hold off the Hershey Bears (36-18-8-3), who scored the last three goals, en route to a 3-1 decision at Webster Bank Arena.
The loss kept Bridgeport in fifth place in the Atlantic Division standings, but dropped the club two points behind the fourth-place Providence Bruins for the final playoff spot.
After a scoreless opening frame, Johnston broke the ice and put the Sound Tigers on top at 7:33 of the second. Ben Holmstrom created the chance when he gathered the puck and left it for Johnston at the top of the left circle. Johnston skated down the wing and gathered the puck before lifting a wrist shot over Pheonix Copley’s left shoulder from the bottom of the circle. Devon Toews also recorded an assist on the play and now leads all league rookies with 35 helpers this season. Toews has 11 assists in his last 11 games.
Hershey tied the game less than seven minutes later with a power-play goal courtesy of Paul Carey, his sixth tally overall this weekend. With Kyle Burroughs in the box for interference, Christian Djoos received a pass from Chris Bourque and snuck a diagonal feed to the right post from the top of the left circle. Carey was positioned there and knocked it across the goal line at 14:04.
It wasn’t until the final two minutes of the third period that the Bears took their first lead on a power-play goal from Travis Boyd. With Kane Lafranchise in the box for high-sticking, Djoos dropped the puck for Boyd, who skated to the left circle and snapped a pin-point shot into the top right corner, over Jaroslav Halak’s glove, at the 18:37 mark.
The Sound Tigers pulled Halak soon after in an attempt to draw back even, but Garrett Mitchell sealed Hershey's fifth straight victory with an empty netter, his 10th goal of the season, at 19:02.
Bridgeport went 0-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-4 on the penalty kill, while Halak (16-7-3) made 18 saves in the setback. Copley (20-7-3) turned back 33 shots for the Bears.
Bridgeport outshot Hershey 34-21.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers open a six-game road trip on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. ET matchup against the Albany Devils at Times Union Center. Fans can follow all of the action via the team's online broadcast at www.ahllive.com, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m. ET.
For details or to reserve seats for any of the 2016-17 giveaway and theme nights, please call the Sound Tigers’ front office at (203) 345-2300.
Executive suites and premium seat packages are also available by calling the team’s front office at (203) 345-4841. If you are interested in group outings with your friends, family, co-workers, or clients an unforgettable experience at a discounted rate, call the group sales hotline at (203) 345-2300 Ext. 7.