BRIDGEPORT, CT - The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (33-16-1-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, won their seventh straight game on Sunday with a 5-1 victory over the Hershey Bears (26-16-8-3) at Webster Bank Arena.
Between the pipes, Jaroslav Halak (13-1-2) earned his 12th straight win, stopping 24 of the 25 shots he faced on the afternoon. Offensively, Josh Ho-Sang tallied his eighth point (three goals, five assists) on the weekend and Carter Verhaeghe extended his goal-scoring streak to a career-best five games. Travis St. Denis, Bracken Kearns and Kyle Burroughs also found the back of the net in the victory.
The Sound Tigers have now won 10 of their last 11 games at Webster Bank Arena and 15 of their last 16 overall.
The Sound Tigers opened the scoring at 5:44 of the first period when St. Denis recorded his ninth goal of the season. With the “Quinnipiac line” on the ice for Bridgeport, Connor Jones slid a diagonal pass to St. Denis at the blue line. From there, the rookie forward skated into the Hershey zone and to the bottom of the left circle, where he wristed a shot over Vitek Vanecek’s blocker. Kellen Jones also logged an assist on the goal.
Bridgeport extended its lead on a Kearns’ redirection in the middle frame for his team-leading 18th goal of the season. Andrew Rowe started the play from the right circle, where the seventh-year forward passed it across to Ryan Pulock on the left wing. From the top of the left circle, the defenseman hammered a rocket on goal, which Kearns tipped in front and over Vanecek’s glove at the 16:26 mark.
Hershey cut its deficit in half at 3:42 of the third on a power-play goal from Chris Bourque. With Loic Leduc in the box for high-sticking, Christian Djoos controlled the puck in the offensive zone and threw a pass across to Bourque at the right circle. There, the five-time AHL All-Star ripped a shot over Halak’s glove to make it 2-1.
The Sound Tigers sealed their victory with three unanswered goals in the third period. The first came on a power play courtesy of Verhaeghe. With Colby Williams in the box for holding, Rowe forced a pass to Pulock at the blue line, where he hammered a shot on target. The blast was originally stopped by Vanecek in the crease, but not held, allowing Verhaeghe the second chance opportunity. The second-year forward capitalized by sweeping the puck past Vanecek’s leg pads at the 10:40 mark.
Exactly two minutes later, Burroughs extended Bridgeport’s lead with his 10th goal of the season. Michael Dal Colle fought for the puck in the corner and directed a pass to Burroughs at the right point. Burroughs finished the play by walking into a one-time slap shot over Vanecek’s glove at 12:40. Dal Colle also extended his point streak to six games (two goals, six assists) with a helper.
Ho-Sang capped the scoring at the 16:20 mark with an unusual tally to make it 5-1. With Vanecek on the bench for the extra attacker, Burroughs pushed a lead pass out of Bridgeport’s zone to Josh Holmstrom at center ice. Holmstrom continued the play with a feed to Ho-Sang, where the latter was tripped on a breakaway. By rule, Ho-Sang was awarded his 10th goal of the season due to the breakaway and empty net.
Halak and Vanecek (13-9-7) each made 24 saves between the pipes. In addition, the Sound Tigers went 1-for-4 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill.
The contest also included one fight when the captains, Ben Holmstrom and Garrett Mitchell, dropped the gloves at 2:40 of the first period.
Bridgeport outshot Hershey, 29-25.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers return to action next Friday with a 7:05 p.m. matchup against the Providence Bruins at Dunkin' Donuts Center. Fans can also follow all of the action online via AHLlive.com, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m. ET.
Frozen Night: Next Saturday, Feb. 25 will prove to be a magical night as popular Frozen characters visit Webster Bank Arena. Enjoy a meet-and-greet on the concourse and all fans are encouraged to come to the game dressed as his or her favorite character. In addition, a $25 Frozen package is available which includes one (1) game ticket, one (1) hot dog/soft drink combo voucher and your choice of a Tiara with a wand or crown. Call 203.345.2300 Option 7 to order or ORDER ONLINE NOW (use promo code LETITGO). Limited packages are available for this special offer. Doors open at 6 p.m.
For additional details or to reserve seats for any of the 2016-17 giveaway and theme nights, please call the Sound Tigers’ front office at (203) 345-2300.
Executive suites and premium seat packages are also available by calling the team’s front office at (203) 345-4841. If you are interested in group outings with your friends, family, co-workers, or clients an unforgettable experience at a discounted rate, call the group sales hotline at (203) 345-2300 Ext. 7.