WILKES-BARRE, PA = Carter Verhaeghe scored twice and added an assist on Saturday, but the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (44-27-3-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, suffered a 5-4 loss in their season finale at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Ryan Pulock (one goal, one assist) and Devon Toews (three assists) also recorded multiple points and Eamon McAdam (15-8-0) made 25 saves in his ninth straight appearance. Overall, the Sound Tigers completed their 16th AHL season in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but fell short of a playoff spot despite producing 92 points.
The night’s first three goals were all scored on the power play, helping Bridgeport to a 2-1 advantage after 20 minutes. Pulock opened the scoring at the 13:08 mark when Toews set him up at the left point for a one-time slap shot, which sailed through traffic and past the glove-hand of Sean Maguire. It was his 15th goal of the season, with Kevin Schulze in the box for holding.
Teddy Blueger answered with a power-play tally of his own less than three minutes later. Following a cross-checking minor against Ross Johnston, Ethan Prow settled the puck at the high slot and found Blueger on the left side for a wrist shot past McAdam’s blocker. It was Blueger’s seventh goal of the season at the 15:50 mark.
Verhaeghe made it 2-1 in the final minute of the frame with his 15th goal of the year. Just 11 seconds after Jean-Sebastian Dea was called for tripping, Toews forced a pass to Verhaehge in the right circle, where the latter opened up, skated towards the hash marks and fired a shot past Maguire at 19:11.
Both teams traded a goal in the second period for a 3-2 margin after two. Travis St. Denis logged his second goal in the last three games at the 10:56 mark by capitalizing on a perfect setup from Adam Pelech. Connor Jones found Pelech on the right wing where the third-year defenseman skated towards the corner and centered a pass to the doorstep, allowing St. Denis to redirect it home past Maguire’s right leg.
The Sound Tigers had an opportunity to take a three-goal advantage when Josh Ho-Sang drew a hooking penalty on a breakaway, which led to a penalty shot at 15:41. Unfortunately, Maguire got his blocker onto a backhand chance from Ho-Sang to keep it 3-1.
Dea responded with the Penguins’ second power-play goal at 19:22 to draw Wilkes-Barre/Scranton within one. With Kyle Burroughs in the box for cross-checking, Blueger gathered the puck at the goal line and directed a pass to Dea in the slot. There, Dea dropped to a knee and netted his 18th tally of the season.
The third period began with Verhaehge’s second goal of the night to give Bridgeport a 4-2 advantage. Following a scramble in front, Verhaeghe gathered the puck near the bottom of the left circle and forced home an ugly goal with a pair of Penguins surrounding him.
However, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fought back with three unanswered tallies to earn a 5-4 decision. Jarrett Burton notched his seventh goal of the year at the 8:11 mark before Adam Krause scored back-to-back tallies. His first came at 9:27 when he corralled a loose puck in the neutral zone, skated in down the left wing and beat McAdam from the circle for his second AHL goal of the season. The final tally, which was scored on a shorthanded breakaway, came at the 16:35 mark following a lead pass from Ryan Haggerty. Krause received the pass and skated straight down the slot before beating McAdam low, blocker side.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 2-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-4 penalty kill. Maguire (1-0-0) stopped 22 shots in his AHL season debut, while Wilkes-Barre/Scranton outshot Bridgeport 30-26.