BRIDGEPORT, CT - The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (35-27-5-3), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, scored twice on the power play Tuesday morning to earn a 3-2 win against the Providence Bruins (41-24-3-2) in front of 7,451 electric fans at Webster Bank Arena.
Travis St. Denis netted the game-winner midway through the third period in Bridgeport’s annual Spring Fun 102 contest, while Casey Bailey and Kellen Jones also beat goaltender Dan Vladar. Josh Ho-Sang added two assists and Eamon McAdam (5-1-0) made 23 saves to guide the Sound Tigers to their fourth win in the last five games.
With the victory, Bridgeport moved to within six points of a playoff spot behind the Charlotte Checkers with six games remaining. The Sound Tigers also have one game in hand on Charlotte. In addition, Providence failed to clinch a berth in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Bridgeport controlled most of the first period and outshot Providence 15-7 in the opening 20 minutes, but Vladar stood strong for the Bruins. His most notable save occurred when Ryan Hitchcock raced down the left wing and centered a pass that Bailey deflected off Vladar’s reaching glove to keep it scoreless. Anton Blidh also had a golden opportunity for Providence, skating in on a breakaway late in the first period, but McAdam forced a shot wide on the backhand.
Adam Payerl gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead just shy of the midway mark when he converted his eighth goal of the season at 9:57 of the second period. Colton Hargrove chipped the puck towards McAdam from the red line and it slid straight at the third-year netminder, but McAdam mishandled it with his stick down and a charging Payerl forced it home.
Less than five minutes later, Payerl was called for cross-checking and the Sound Tigers cashed in to level the score at 14:11 of the middle frame. Ho-Sang guided a pass to Bailey on the left wing and the fourth-year forward played catch with Sebastian Aho at the blue line before Bailey one-timed a return feed over Vladar's glove. It was Bailey's 16th goal of the season and his ninth on the power play.
Jones put the Sound Tigers on top just two minutes into the third period when he waltzed down the right wing and backhanded a low shot past Vladar. Jones' attempt from the right circle rattled off a skate and through traffic for his third goal of the season, which made it 2-1. Connor Jones and Ryan MacKinnon each logged an assist, giving MacKinnon a helper in his AHL debut.
Hargrove tied the game for a second time at 6:12 of the third period following a faceoff win to McAdam’s left. Trent Frederic won a right-circle draw to Hargrove at the half boards, where the Bruins forward beat McAdam with a hard wrist shot for his 15th goal of the year.
St. Denis capped the scoring at the 10:15 mark and notched the eventual game-winner on a Cameron Hughes tripping penalty. Bailey created the opportunity from the left circle where he snapped a shot on target that Steve Bernier redirected to Ho-Sang below the left circle. Ho-Sang gathered the loose puck and quickly filtered it through the crease where St. Denis fell to a knee and slammed in his team-best 23rd goal of the season.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 2-for-5 on the power play, but failed score on a five-minute boarding major against Sena Acolatse in the final four minutes. Acolatse was also given a game misconduct for an illegal check to MacKinnon. Bridgeport’s penalty kill went 1-for-1.
Vladar (2-2-0) turned back 31 shots for Providence, while the Sound Tigers outshot the Bruins 34-25.