HERSHEY, PA - Josh Ho-Sang scored his first career playoff goal on a first-period breakaway Tuesday night, but the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, proud affiliate of the New York Islanders, suffered a 2-1 loss to the Hershey Bears in Game 3 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals at Giant Center. Hershey also took a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-five first-round matchup.
Christopher Gibson (1-1) kept the Sound Tigers close with 32 saves on 34 shots, including 17 stops in the opening frame, while Ilya Samsonov (1-1) turned back 26 of the 27 he faced. Liam O’Brien and Ryan Sproul had the goals for Hershey.
The Bears scored first for the third time in as many games, courtesy of O’Brien’s eighth career playoff goal. Samsonov made a save in his own crease and propelled the puck to O’Brien, who raced through center and converted a give-and-go with Riley Barber over Bridgeport’s blue line. Barber received a pass and returned it to O’Brien on the left wing, where he carved in and beat Gibson with a backhand shot at 11:22 of the first period.
Nearly six minutes later, Ho-Sang used his speed to tie the game at 1-1, darting straight at Samsonov after gathering a loose puck. Oliver Wahlstrom chipped a lead pass out of his own end and Ho-Sang sped onto the sliding puck, before banking a forehand shot off of Samsonov’s blocker at 17:38.
Bridgeport outshot Hershey 13-8 in the second frame, but neither team lit the lamp in Tuesday’s nail biter. The Sound Tigers also outshot the Bears 10-8 in the third, but Sproul scored the eventual game-winner at the 2:50 mark when he directed home a long shot from the blue line that Gibson never saw. Garrett Pilon guided a pass to the point where Sproul ripped the opportunity inside the right post from distance to make it 2-1.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 0-for-3 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill, while Hershey edged Bridgeport in the shot department 34-27.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers face the Hershey Bears on Thursday for Game 4 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals at Giant Center. The puck drops at 7 p.m. and fans can follow all of the live action via the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHLTV, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.