HARTFORD, CT - The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (39-24-2-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, scored three times in the third period, including two from Andrew Rowe, but suffered a 4-3 setback to the Hartford Wolf Pack (22-38-4-2) at the XL Center on Saturday.
Kellen Jones also found the back of the net as the Sound Tigers nearly fought back from a three-goal deficit in the final frame, but it wasn’t enough as the Wolf Pack snapped a nine-game losing streak.
Carter Verhaeghe chipped in two assists for Bridgeport.
Following a scoreless first, Hartford built a 2-0 lead in the middle frame with a pair of goals from Michael Joly and Ryan Graves. Joly opened the scoring at the 8:49 mark when he received Marek Hrivik’s pass between the circles and sniped a quick shot past Eamon McAdam’s blocker for his third goal of the season.
Graves doubled Hartford’s advantage when he notched his eighth tally of the season at 13:57. Hrivik created yet another chance when he traveled across the blue line and found Joly in the left circle. The rookie forward gathered the puck and immediately sent a pass across the low slot to Graves who finished at the back door.
Ty Ronning made it 3-0 at 3:45 of the third period with his first professional goal in his pro debut. Dan Catenacci walked the puck in across the Bridgeport stripe and set up a tic-tac-toe sequence between Taylor Beck and Ronning, who finished the play by beating McAdam’s right leg with a one-timer from the left post.
The Sound Tigers stormed back to make it a one-goal game when Rowe scored twice on goaltender Mackenzie Skapski in a span of less than two minutes. The first came at 9:07 as Kyle Burroughs and Michael Dal Colle teamed up to find Rowe in the left circle, where the seventh-year forward wristed a shot past Skapski’s glove with Bracken Kearns providing traffic in front.
Rowe made it 3-2 at the 11:04 mark when Carter Verhaeghe gathered the puck below the goal line and filtered a pass to the doorstep for Rowe. There, the former Wolf Pack winger knocked home a one-timer for his 12th goal of the season.
Joly collected his second tally of the night, the eventual game-winner, with another assist from Hrivik in the final four minutes. Nicklas Jensen brushed a pass to Hrivik on the right wing where the latter forced the puck to the hash marks for a hard-charging Joly. McAdam moved from his left to his right, but it wasn’t enough as Joly guided a one-timer past the goaltender’s glove to make it 4-2.
Just 40 seconds later, Kellen Jones pulled the Sound Tigers back within one when he scored his fifth goal of the season. Verhaeghe found Pulock in the deep slot before the third-year defenseman walked to the left wing. From the circle, Pulock directed a cross-ice pass to the right side where Jones went down to a knee and scored to make it 4-3.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 0-for-4 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill. McAdam (10-4-0) made 25 saves in the setback, while Skapski (2-8-0) stopped 27 chances in Hartford’s win.