BRIDGEPORT, CT - Micheal Haley’s first goal of the season with 9:33 left in regulation turned out to be the game-winner as Jeremy Colliton added a goal and two assists and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers defeated the Adirondack Phantoms 5-3 at Webster Bank Arena on Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Sound Tigers improve to 9-7-2-0 overall. The Phantoms fall to 9-6-0-1.
A hard-hitting opening period saw opportunities for both sides but no pucks crossing the goal line. The Sound Tigers best scoring opportunity came from Scott Howes who joined the team earlier today on a professional tryout contract. Howes had a shot from the slot denied by Michael Leighton, and Tim Wallace just missed knocking the rebound home. Adirondack’s best scoring chance came on a delayed penalty call when Matt Walker fired a slapshot off the left post. The Phantoms had four power play chances during the opening period, but the league’s third best penalty kill held Adirondack off the board, and the two sides entered the dressing rooms tied 0-0 after 20 minutes.
The physical play continued into the second period with three fights in a five-minute span, as Trevor Gillies took down Tom Sestito, Brett Gallant squared off with Garrett Klotz and Tyler McNeely dropped the gloves with Marc-Andre Bourdon. The Sound Tigers broke onto the scoreboard at 13:07 via the power play. Aaron Ness skated the puck into the Adirondack zone and had a centering feed deflected high into the air. The puck landed in the slot where Jeremy Colliton gathered it and fired past Leighton for his third goal of the year to make the score 1-0. Adirondack evened the score exactly four minutes later when Jason Akeson took a feed in the slot from Mike Teswuide and fired off the left post and past Poulin to tie the game at one.
The score stayed tied until Howes was called for a high-sticking double-minor and Akeson struck again. Akeson rushed into the zone on the power play and slapped the puck from the slot over Poulin’s glove for his second goal of the game to give Adirondack a 2-1 lead 2:48 into the period. The Sound Tigers responded just 53 seconds later when Howes skated into the slot and had his initial shot stopped by Leighton, but backhanded the rebound over the Adirondack netminder for his first AHL goal to tie the score 2-2.
The Sound Tigers took the lead for good just as a Rhett Rakhshani penalty expired. Colliton led a 3-on-2 break, sending the puck ahead to Rakhshani along the right side. Rakhshani was tied up in the right circle, but left the puck for Dylan Reese, who knocked it through Leighton’s legs to give the Sound Tigers a 3-2 lead. Haley increased the lead to two when Colliton slid the puck to him on a 2-on-1 and the veteran Sound Tigers roofed it over Leighton at 10:27. The Phantoms made things interesting when Oliver Lauridsen scored his first of the season from the top of the left circle with 7:31 left in regulation, but Tim Wallace sealed the victory for the Sound Tigers with an empty-netter at 19:13 of the third to preserve the two-goal victory.
Kevin Poulin made 19 saves to earn the win for the Sound Tigers. Michael Leighton stopped 22 shots in defeat.
The Sound Tigers return to action Friday evening when they host their annual post-Thanksgiving showdown against the Connecticut Whale at 7:00 p.m.