BRIDGEPORT, CT - Travis St. Denis scored twice on Friday to help the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (8-11-3-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, earn their fourth straight victory, a 4-1 win against the Springfield Thunderbirds (12-11-0-0) at Webster Bank Arena.
Kieffer Bellows and Matt Lorito also beat T-Birds goaltender Philippe Desrosiers, while Jared Coreau and Jakub Skarek teamed up for the victory with a combined 24 saves on 25 shots. Coreau left the game early in the second period after getting twisted up in the crease. He was replaced by Skarek at the 4:10 mark, less than two hours after Skarek was reassigned from Worcester by the Islanders.
With the win, the Sound Tigers moved into seventh place in the Atlantic Division, jumping the Charlotte Checkers by a point.
Chances belonged to both teams early in the contest as Bridgeport was awarded two power plays in the first nine minutes, while Springfield developed several excellent opportunities shorthanded. Coreau denied a few two-on-one rushes, and Anthony Greco on a breakaway to keep the scoreless deadlock. The first period was also very physical and things escalated at the 16-minute mark when Jeff Kubiak got cross-checked against the wall by Kevin Roy, which led to a fight between Roy and Ryan Bourque.
The Sound Tigers were forced to make an unexpected goalie change just after the four-minute mark of the second period when Skarek replaced Coreau. Coreau skated off under his own power to the dressing room after reaching back to his goal line for a loose puck. Christopher Gibson was unavailable for the game with a lower-body injury.
Bridgeport struck first at 5:30 of the second period when Lorito made Desrosiers pay for coming out of his crease. Desrosiers made an unfortunate mistake while trying to play the puck in the trapezoid and Lorito took advantage with his fifth goal of the season, tucking a backhand shot inside the near post to make it 1-0. It was one of a season-high 27 shots on goal during the middle frame.
St. Denis doubled the Sound Tigers’ lead at 7:35 of the third period, blocking a wrist shot from Tommy Cross at the blue line and sprinting the other way for a breakaway. He capitalized with a backhand shot flipped past Desrosiers’ glove for his second goal of the year and first of the night.
Less than two minutes later, Roy cut the T-Birds deficit back to one with his fourth goal of the season. Skarek lost the puck behind his net and Roy teamed up with Daniel Audette to poke it home from the doorstep at 9:25.
The Sound Tigers regained their two-goal advantage at 13:10 of the third period when Grant Hutton created a scoring chance with one of his two assists. Bourque slipped a pass to Hutton at the point, where he sent a shot through traffic, off of Bellows’ reaching stick, and in. It was Bellows’ second goal in as many games and third of the season.
St. Denis scored his second goal of the period and third of the year in the final five minutes of regulation. He was waiting on the doorstep, short side, and after a failed pass across the crease, he fired home a forehand shot for the 4-1 final.
Bridgeport finished the 0-for-6 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill. Coreau made 12 saves on 12 shots in 24:10 of a no decision, while Skarek (2-2-1) stopped 12 of the 13 shots he faced in the win.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 7:05 p.m. tomorrow night in their first of three trips to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza this season. Fans can follow all of the live action via the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHLTV , beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.
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