PORTLAND, ME - Sound Tigers forward Blair Riley scored his first goal of the season late in the first period, but Pirates goaltender Mark Visentin stopped the remaining 39 shots he faced as Portland defeated Bridgeport 2-1 at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Saturday night. With the win, the Pirates improve to 20-12-1-1 overall. The Sound Tigers fall to 17-14-1-2 with their second straight loss.
Saturday night’s game was a battle of the goaltenders, as Visentin and Sound Tigers goaltender Anders Nilsson combined to stop 75 of 78 shots in the game. Portland scored the game’s first goal 7:37 into the first period when Alexandre Bolduc fired a slap shot from the top of the left circle over Nilsson’s right shoulder to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
Portland doubled its lead to two with a power play goal at the 15:29 mark of the opening frame. Nilsson made the initial save on Michael Stone’s point shot, but Andy Miele found the rebound in traffic and sent the puck over Nilsson to put the Pirates ahead by two.
Riley was denied on a breakaway as he came on for a shift late in the final period, but scored on the rush on the same shift to put the Sound Tigers on the board. Brandon DeFazio carried the puck into the slot and dropped the puck off for Riley. The second-year Sound Tiger fired a shot through DeFazio’s screen over Visentin’s right shoulder for his first goal of the season with 51 seconds remaining in the first period to bring Bridgeport within a goal.
Portland outshot the Sound Tigers by a 14-7 margin in the second period, but Nilsson settled down after allowing two goals in the first period and stopped all 14 shots he faced. The Sound Tigers ramped up the pressure in the third period, sending 17 shots on net and creating many more scoring opportunities in the final 20 minutes. However, Visentin was stellar in net for the Pirates, and held his ground to preserve the one-goal victory for Portland.
The Sound Tigers return to action on Tuesday night when they host the Hershey Bears at Webster Bank Arena at 7:00 p.m.
NOTES: Nilsson made 36 saves in the loss … The Sound Tigers went 0-for-2 on the power play, while the Pirates were 1-for-3 … Colin McDonald, David Ullstrom and John Persson each had five shots on goal … Brett Gallant dropped the gloves with Joel Rechlicz early in the first period, and now ranks 2nd in the AHL with 148 penalty minutes.
1. POR: Mark Visentin
2. POR: Andy Miele
3. BRI: Anders Nilsson
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
23 John Persson - 11 Casey Cizikas (A) - 13 Colin McDonald (C)
24 David Ullstrom - 28 Johan Sundstrom - 22 Nino Niederreiter
42 Brandon DeFazio - 14 Matt Watkins (A) - 20 Blair Riley
44 Brett Gallant - 4 Scott Campbell - 16 Sean Backman
46 Matt Donovan - 6 Ty Wishart
27 Aaron Ness - 8 Nathan McIver
2 Dallas Jackson - 7 Jon Landry
45 Anders Nilsson (starter)
38 Kevin Poulin