MANCHESTER, NH - For the second straight game, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers scored two third-period goals to force overtime, but Manchester’s Jordan Weal scored 2:36 into the extra session to give the Monarchs a 3-2 win at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Wednesday night. With the win, the Monarchs improve to 27-24-3-3. The Sound Tigers have lost back-to-back games in overtime as their record moves to 23-24-5-4.
A relatively uneventful first period resulted in no goals for either side. The Monarchs edged the Sound Tigers in shots on goal by an 11-10 margin, but Sound Tigers goaltender Rick DiPietro and Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones combined to turn aside 21 shots over the first 20 minutes.
The Sound Tigers killed off a Brandon DeFazio penalty that carried into the second period, but the Monarchs broke the scoreless tie soon after. Ian O’Connor found a loose puck in the slot and sent a low backhand shot through traffic past DiPietro for his first AHL goal to give Manchester a 1-0 lead. The Sound Tigers outshot the Monarchs 14-9 in the second period, but Jones continued to stymie Bridgeport as Manchester carried its one-goal lead into the third period.
Mike Halmo tied the game 3:21 into the final stanza, deflecting Matt Donovan’s drive off of the post and past Jones for his fourth goal of the season to even the score at one. Manchester reclaimed the lead at 12:49 when Colton Yellow Horn cut into the slot on a brief 2-on-1 and fired across his body past DiPietro’s left pad to give the Monarchs a 2-1 advantage. However, Bridgeport worked hard on the ensuing forecheck and tied the game once again when Nino Niederreiter beat Jones from point-blank range for his team-leading 23rd goal of the season to knot the score at two.
Weal’s game-winner came midway through overtime. The Monarchs’ rookie snuck in behind the Sound Tigers defense along the right half-wall, cut above the crease after receiving a pass from Andy Andreoff and flipped the puck over DiPietro as he stacked the pads to give Manchester the extra point.
DiPietro made 24 saves in the overtime loss, while Jones stopped 32 shots to earn the win for Manchester.
The Sound Tigers return to action this Friday when they travel to the Times Union Center to face the Albany Devils at 7:00 p.m.
NOTES: The Sound Tigers have lost back-to-back games in overtime, and have lost their last three games that have gone past regulation … Brock Nelson assisted on both Sound Tigers goals … Matt Watkins dropped the gloves with Manchester’s Andrew Bodnarchuk in the first period for his third fighting major of the season; two of them have come in Manchester … The Sound Tigers wore their white jerseys on the road while the Monarchs donned commemorative jerseys with purple and gold trim, mimicking the old Los Angeles Kings sweaters … The Sound Tigers went 0-for-3 on the power play, and are 0-for-40 on the man-advantage over the last 10 games; Manchester went 0-for-4 on the power play.
1. MCH: Jordan Weal
2. MCH: Ian O’Connor
3. MCH: Colton Yellow Horn
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
22 Nino Niederreiter – 29 Brock Nelson – 77 Kirill Kabanov
40 Mike Halmo – 14 Matt Watkins (C) – 16 Sean Backman
42 Brandon DeFazio – 4 Scott Campbell – 20 Blair Riley
32 Adam Huxley – 5 Jack Combs – 18 Chad Costello
46 Matt Donovan – 7 Jon Landry (A)
27 Aaron Ness – 2 Dallas Jackson
25 Jordan Hill – 8 Nathan McIver (A)
39 Rick DiPietro (starter)
30 Kenny Reiter