BRIDGEPORT, CT - Defenseman Tomas Kundratek netted his second goal of the night with 24.6 seconds left in overtime to give the Hershey Bears a 4-3 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Wednesday night. With the win, Hershey improves to 17-16-1-1. The Sound Tigers earn a point with the overtime loss and their record moves to 17-14-2-2.
The Sound Tigers got on the board just 3:39 into regulation. Nino Niederreiter carried the puck down beneath the left circle in the Hershey zone, then sent a centering feed towards the crease. Johan Sundstrom deflected Niederrieter’s pass through Hershey goaltender Dany Sabourin for his 10th goal of the season, and the Sound Tigers had the early 1-0 lead.
However, Hershey responded with two quick goals late in the opening frame. Ryan Stoa jammed a loose puck past Sound Tigers goaltender Kevin Poulin at 13:20 to knot the score at one, and Kundratek sent a one-timer off of a faceoff win from Jon DiSalvatore for his first goal of the game just 45 seconds later to put the Bears ahead 2-1.
Bridgeport responded courtesy of its captain with 2:57 remaining in first period. Aaron Ness carried the puck deep along the left half-wall and sent a pass on net which Casey Cizikas redirected through the top of the crease. Colin McDonald grabbed the loose changed and sent the puck over the goal line for his sixth goal of the season to tie the score at two.
Neither side was able to score in the middle period, and the score remained deadlocked at two until Brandon DeFazio gave the home team the lead with 12:11 remaining in the third period. McDonald tipped a pass in the Sound Tigers zone past the Hershey defense, and chased the loose puck down to earn a partial breakaway. McDonald was denied by Sabourin on his first attempt, but got the puck behind the goal line in the right corner and sent a sharp-angle shot back into the crease. After a mad scramble in front, DeFazio was able the force the puck in for his seventh goal of the season and the Sound Tigers led 3-2.
Hershey would answer on the very next shift to tie the score at three just 32 seconds later. Jeff Taffe sent a pass through the Sound Tigers defense to Evan Barlow, and Barlow flipped a backhand shot over Poulin’s glove to bring Hershey even.
Both sides had opportunities to score late in the third period and early in overtime, but Kundratek’s aggressive play paid off in the final moments of the extra session. The Hershey defenseman pokechecked the puck free at the Hershey blue line, then raced to the puck in front of the Sound Tigers bench and avoided a Jon Landry check. Kundratek got to the puck in the Sound Tigers zone, deked to his backhand and slid the puck under Poulin’s left pad to win the game for Hershey.
Sabourin made 35 saves to earn the win for the Bears, while Poulin stopped 24 shots in the overtime loss.
The Sound Tigers return to action Friday night when they travel to Providence to face the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center at 7:05 p.m.
NOTES: The Sound Tigers were 0-for-5 on the power play, while Hershey did not have a power play opportunity … It was just the second time in Sound Tigers history the Sound Tigers did not give up any power play opportunities; the first time was Dec. 19, 2003 against the Worcester IceCats, a 3-2 win in Worcester … Aaron Ness and Nathan McIver both left the game in the third period, and the Sound Tigers played with four defensemen for the remainder of the game … David Ullstrom had eight shots on goal, the most from any player in one game this season … Nino Niederreiter’s assist gives him 34 points this season in 34 games played.
1. HER: Tomas Kundratek
2. BRI: Colin McDonald
3. HER: Dany Sabourin
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
23 John Persson – 11 Casey Cizikas (A) – 13 Colin McDonald (C)
24 David Ullstrom – 28 Johan Sundstrom – 22 Nino Niederreiter
42 Brandon DeFazio – 14 Matt Watkins – 20 Blair Riley
44 Brett Gallant – 4 Scott Campbell – 16 Sean Backman
46 Matt Donovan – 6 Ty Wishart
27 Aaron Ness – 8 Nathan McIver
25 Jordan Hill – 7 Jon Landry (A)
38 Kevin Poulin (starter)
45 Anders Nilsson