BRIDGEPORT, CT - Sound Tigers forward David Ullstrom tapped Brock Nelson’s pass into an open net with 1:27 left in overtime to give Bridgeport a 3-2 win over the Springfield Falcons at Webster Bank Arena on Tuesday night. With the win, the Sound Tigers tie a season-high five-game point streak and improve to 25-24-5-4. The Falcons earn a point with the overtime loss as their record moves to 34-16-5-3.
Ullstrom’s game-winner punctuated a dramatic finish to regulation and beginning of overtime. Springfield carried a power play into the extra session when the Sound Tigers were called for too many men with 16.6 seconds left in regulation. Bridgeport goaltender Rick DiPietro and the penalty kill unit fought off the Springfield power play, and moments later Johan Sundstrom was hooked by defenseman Bryan Helmer on a breakaway. Although Sundstrom was not awarded a penalty shot, the Sound Tigers went to work on the power play, and after separate shots from Ullstrom and Ty Wishart went off of the right and left posts, Ullstrom buried Nelson’s back-door feed into an open net to secure the extra point.
Sound Tigers captain Matt Watkins opened the scoring just 1:33 into the middle frame after a scoreless first period. Watkins picked off a pass from Springfield defenseman David Savard by the right post and sent a one-timer past goaltender Curtis McElhinney for his 10th goal of the season to give the Sound Tigers a 1-0 lead.
Will Weber’s first pro goal evened the score at the 5:29 mark of the second period. Just as the Sound Tigers capitalized on a Falcons turnover, Weber stole a clearing attempt at the top of the Bridgeport zone and sent a slap shot over DiPietro’s glove to tie the game at one.
The Sound Tigers countered with a strong forecheck on the following shifts and regained their lead just 2:09 later. McElhinney made a save on Mike Halmo’s deflection in front, but Nino Niederreiter grabbed the loose puck, faked a shot on his forehand to move the Springfield goaltender out of position and flipped a backhander into the open net to put Bridgeport ahead 2-1.
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault tied the game for the Falcons on the power play with 2:05 left in the second period. The second-year pro sent a rebound from Cody Goloubef’s point shot past DiPietro and Springfield drew even for the second time in the period.
Neither side was able to score in a third period that saw the Falcons outshoot the Sound Tigers 9-5. The penalty kill rebounded following Audy-Marchessault’s tally, killing off a delay-of-game penalty on Jon Landry midway through the final frame prior to the penalty for too many men late in regulation.
DiPietro stopped 30 of 32 shots in his third straight start for the Sound Tigers, and his record improves to 3-2-0. McElhinney made 36 saves as his record drops to 23-12-2.
The Sound Tigers return to action on Friday night when they travel to Manchester to face the Monarchs at 7:00 p.m.
NOTES: Nelson left the game in the first period after taking a high hit from Springfield defenseman Greg Amadio … Amadio was given a five-minute major for interference as well as a game misconduct for interference; Nelson returned for the start of the second period … This was Ullstrom’s first game with the Sound Tigers since Jan. 12; he recorded five points (2g/3a) in 19 games with the New York Islanders during his recall … After 10 games without a power play goal, the Sound Tigers have recorded power play goals in back-to-back games … Tuesday night was a case of déjà vu at Webster Bank Arena; exactly one month earlier, John Persson scored midway through overtime to give the Sound Tigers a 4-3 win over the Falcons … Nelson now has a five-game point streak (2g/6a) with the primary assist on Ullstrom’s game-winner … Niederreiter now leads the team with 25 goals, surpassing Ullstrom’s mark of 24 goals last season; Ullstrom recorded 24 goals in just 40 games, while Niederreiter has appeared in 57 games.
1. BRI: David Ullstrom
2. SPR: Curtis McElhinney
3. BRI: Nino Niederreiter
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
14 Matt Watkins (C) – 29 Brock Nelson – 24 David Ullstrom
5 Jack Combs – 28 Johan Sundstrom – 22 Nino Niederreiter
42 Brandon DeFazio – 4 Scott Campbell – 20 Blair Riley
40 Mike Halmo – 32 Adam Huxley – 16 Sean Backman
46 Matt Donovan – 6 Ty Wishart
27 Aaron Ness – 7 Jon Landry (A)
2 Dallas Jackson – 8 Nathan McIver (A)
39 Rick DiPietro (starter)
30 Kenny Reiter