PROVIDENCE, RI - The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (4-4-1-0), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, allowed a season-high four goals in the second period on Sunday and suffered a 6-1 loss to the Providence Bruins (3-5-1-0) at Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Cameron Hughes recorded his first professional hat trick and Zach Senyshyn also scored twice for the Bruins, while Seth Helgeson netted the Sound Tigers’ lone tally. It was Bridgeport’s fifth straight setback in Rhode Island dating back to Feb. 16, 2017.
The loss also snapped Bridgeport’s two-game win streak and Christopher Gibson’s personal three-game win streak overall.
Providence scored four straight goals to begin the game with two in the first 16 minutes, including Senyshyn’s first of the afternoon (on the power play) that opened the scoring at the 1:40 mark. Following an interference minor to Connor Jones just 23 seconds into the contest, Senyshyn grabbed a pass from Hughes in the neutral zone and wheeled down the right wing. He skated through the circle and drove the net before filtering a shot between Gibson’s legs for his third tally of the season.
Trent Frederic doubled the Bruins’ lead at 15:01 of the first period with his third goal in the last two games against Bridgeport. Emil Johansson and Anton Blidh created space and set up Frederic on the right wing, where the rookie forward wristed a shot on target that clipped the post and found its way past Gibson’s blocker.
The Sound Tigers nearly got one back at 2:20 of the middle frame when Helgeson lofted a shot from the right point that was deflected past goaltender Dan Vladar. Travis St. Denis was camped out in the slot and got his stick on it, but the third-year forward was called for a high stick and the contest remained 2-0. Instead, Providence went up by three at the 3:39 mark when Jones broke his stick on a clearing attempt, and Jan Kovar found Hughes in front for a back-door tap in.
Hughes’ second of the game and third of the season came nearly three minutes later when the Bruins won several battles in a row to maintain heavy pressure in the offensive zone. The Sound Tigers failed to clear and Colby Cave forced the puck to Austin Fyten, who set up Hughes at the 6:41 mark. That goal chased Gibson from the crease and Jeremy Smith entered the contest in relief.
Helgeson made it 4-1 at 12:12 of the second period with his first goal of the season. Parker Wotherspoon played the puck along the blue line where Helgeson settled it at the right point and lifted a long, parameter shot that angled off the left point and banked in past Vladar’s right arm. Jeff Kubiak also earned a helper on the goal.
Hughes polished off his three-goal and four-point performance at 12:43 of the second period on a penalty shot of all things. The University of Wisconsin product stole the puck in the neutral zone and charged ahead on a breakaway, before he was hooked by Yannick Rathgeb from behind while getting a shot off in the low slot. Hughes stayed on the forehand during his first pro penalty shot and beat Jeremy Smith glove side to make it 5-1. All four of Hughes’ goals this season have come against the Sound Tigers.
Senyshyn finished the scoring at 19:00 of the second period to complete the 6-1 final - Bridgeport’s first five-goal loss since a 5-0 setback to the Springfield Thunderbirds last March. Wotherspoon and Blidh got tangled up in the Providence zone and the Bruins rushed ahead before Cave backhanded a shot that Smith turned back, but the rebound hit Senyshyn while standing at the left post and went in.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 0-for-6 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill. Gibson (3-3-0) made 14 saves on 18 shots in 26:41 of playing time, while Smith turned back 18 of the 20 chances he faced in 33:19 of relief. Vladar (1-2-1) earned his first win of the year with 28 saves for the Bruins.
Providence outshot Bridgeport 38-29. The game also included one fight when tempers spilled over midway through the second period, resulting in a tilt between St. Denis and Cody Goloubef at the 10:36 mark.
Next time Out: The Sound Tigers conclude a three-game road trip next Friday with a 7:05 p.m. matchup against the Springfield Thunderbirds at MassMutual Center. It will be their first of 10 meetings this season. Fans can follow all of the live action via AHLTV and the Sound Tigers Radio Network, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.