BRIDGEPORT, CT - Portland forward Phil Lane scored on a breakaway as he came out of the penalty box with one second left in the second period to give the Pirates a lead they would not lose as they beat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 6-3 at Webster Bank Arena on Saturday night. With the win, Portland improves to 22-12-1-1 overall. The Sound Tigers are winless in their last five games and fall to 17-16-2-2.
The Sound Tigers lost despite scoring the first two goals of the game late in the opening period. Casey Cizikas one-timed a feed in the slot from Colin McDonald for his 10th goal of the season at 17:20 of the opening period to give the Sound Tigers a 1-0 lead. Blair Riley doubled Bridgeport’s lead at 19:48, finding the loose puck in front of Mark Visentin and firing through traffic for his second goal of the season.
Portland responded after the first intermission, scoring four times in the middle frame to seize momentum. Evan Brophey tallied 3:13 into the second period, when he deflected Chris Brown’s centering feed past Sound Tigers goaltender Kevin Poulin for his fourth goal of the season. Rob Klinkhammer evened the score for Portland at 7:51 after a long possession in the Sound Tigers zone when he crashed the net on a rebound for his ninth goal of the season.
Portland took the lead at 12:26 of the middle period on the power play. Poulin went to play the puck behind his net, but misplayed it and Jordan Szwarz sent a wraparound in before Poulin could retreat to give the Pirates a 3-2 advantage. However, the Sound Tigers responded 1:20 later to knot the score once more. Former Pirate Matt Watkins deflected Scott Campbell’s right-point shot past Visentin for his seventh goal of the season to make the score 3-3.
The Sound Tigers looked to take the lead late in the period after Lane was called for tripping at 17:51 and had multiple opportunities to score during the two-minute advantage. However, the Sound Tigers were unable to connect on a centering feed from behind the Portland net just as Lane’s penalty expired, and puck slid all the way out towards center ice just as Lane exited the penalty box. Lane gathered the puck, skated in all alone on Poulin and fired under his blocker with one second remaining in the period to take control for the Pirates as they carried a 4-3 lead into the locker room after two periods.
Sound Tigers defenseman Matt Donovan fired off of the left post early in the third period as Bridgeport looked to even the score once more, and Portland countered with a goal at the 4:28 mark. Brendan Shinnimin carried the puck behind the Sound Tigers net, came out by the left circle and fired over Poulin’s shoulder to push Portland’s lead to two. The Sound Tigers pulled Poulin in favor of the extra attacker late in the game, but Szwarz netted his second goal of the night to seal the win for Portland.
Poulin made 32 saves in the loss, while Visentin stopped 39 shots to earn the win for Portland.
The Sound Tigers return to action tomorrow afternoon when they travel to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. to face the Albany Devils at 4:00 p.m.
NOTES: Scott Campbell recorded two assists in the game for his first two AHL points of his career ... The Sound Tigers went 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Pirates were a perfect 1-for-1 ... Tempers flared after the Sound Tigers first goal, when Brett Hextall went after Travis Hamonic and a scrum ensued; each received a double-minor for roughing ... The chippy play continued as Darian Dziurzynski tripped a Sound Tiger during a stoppage, leading to a fight between Brett Gallant and Joel Rechlicz ... Matt Donovan was the only Sound Tiger to not record a shot on goal, but fired off of the left post in the third period.
1. POR: Brendan Shinnimin
2. POR: Jordan Szwarz
3. BRI: Scott Campbell
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
23 John Persson – 29 Brock Nelson – 13 Colin McDonald (C)
24 David Ullstrom – 28 Johan Sundstrom – 22 Nino Niederreiter
42 Brandon DeFazio – 11 Casey Cizikas (A) – 14 Matt Watkins
44 Brett Gallant – 4 Scott Campbell – 20 Blair Riley
7 Jon Landry (A) – 3 Travis Hamonic
46 Matt Donovan – 6 Ty Wishart
27 Aaron Ness – 2 Dallas Jackson
38 Kevin Poulin (starter)
45 Anders Nilsson