BRIDGEPORT, CT - Top-notch goaltending and terrific defense was on display Sunday night as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (20-15-4-2), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, defeated the first-place Toronto Marlies (30-11-0-1) with a 1-0 shootout victory at Webster Bank Arena.
Kristers Gudlevskis (5-7-4) stopped all 25 shots he faced for the Sound Tigers en route to his second shutout of the season and the 12th of his pro career. On the flip side, Garret Sparks turned back all 31 shots he saw through 65 minutes, but Mitch Vande Sompel came away with the winner at the end of a three-round shootout.
With the win, Bridgeport extended its unbeaten in regulation streak at home (6-0-1-1) and evened its season series against Toronto to 1-1-0-0. It was also the sixth time in the Sound Tigers’ last seven games that an outcome has been decided by just one goal.
The first 40 minutes went back-and-forth with both teams creating opportunities, but Gudlevskis and Sparks both stood strong between the pipes on 35 combined chances. Bridgeport outshot Toronto 9-4 in the final frame and dominated the majority of the third period, but 60 minutes wasn’t enough.
Following a scoreless overtime session as well, Vande Sompel proved to be the hero with the lone goal in the bottom of the third. Vande Sompel skated wide through the right circle and cut in on Sparks before he juked to his left and fired a forehand shot past the blocker. Vande Sompel is now 2-for-2 on professional shootout attempts, with both holding up as game-deciding tallies.
The Sound Tigers outshot the Marlies 32-25 and finished the game 0-for-3 on the power play, while going 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. Toronto and Bridgeport entered the contest with the top two penalty kills in the AHL respectively.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers conclude a three-game homestand on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. matchup against the Springfield Thunderbirds at Webster Bank Arena. Fans can follow all of the live action on the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHL Live, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.