BRIDGEPORT, CT - Brock Nelson scored the game-winning goal with 3:33 left in regulation, Jack Combs recorded three points and Rick DiPietro made 22 saves as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers earned a 4-3 win over the Adirondack Phantoms at Webster Bank Arena on Saturday night. With the win, the Sound Tigers improve to 23-24-3-4 overall. The Phantoms fall to 21-29-2-2.
Nelson’s game-winner came just as he exited the penalty box following a tripping penalty. The rookie forward took Matt Donovan’s feed at the Phantoms’ blue line, slid the puck past Oliver Lauridsen’s right skate while flying by his left side, collected the puck and fired over Scott Munroe’s glove to snap the Sound Tigers’ seven-game winless streak.
Adirondack went 2-for-7 on the power play and scored its first goal on the man-advantage 8:30 into the game. Brandon Manning’s point shot caromed off of Jon Sim’s leg across to slot to Jason Akeson, who fired into the open net past DiPietro to give the Phantoms a 1-0 lead.
Combs evened the score at the 12:40 mark off of a perfect stretch pass from defenseman Jordan Hill. The first-year Sound Tiger sent a backhand saucer pass through the neutral zone onto Combs’ tape as he streaked into the Adirondack zone. Combs moved the puck to his backhand and slipped a shot through former Munroe’s pads to tie the game at one.
The Phantoms countered just 23 seconds later when Garrett Roe snapped a shot from the slot over DiPietro’s glove to retake the lead for Adirondack.
The Sound Tigers knotted the score 12:42 into the second period, when Jon Landry sent a shot through traffic that changed direction and went past Munroe for his eighth goal of the season. Bridgeport then took its first lead of the game 2:43 into the third period, when team captain Matt Watkins deflected Combs’ shot from the bottom of the right circle past Munroe for his ninth goal of the season.
Adirondack took advantage of Nelson’s tripping penalty to tie the game with 5:46 left in the third period. The Phantoms were already on the power play with Sean Backman off for slashing, and Nelson was subsequently called for tripping. However, the Sound Tigers were unable to gain possession of the puck, and the Phantoms scored on the delayed call as Matt Konan buried a loose puck for his first pro goal.
That set the stage for Nelson’s highlight-reel goal as he exited the penalty box. DiPietro and the Sound Tigers prevented the Phantoms from getting many opportunities in the final minutes and Bridgeport came away with the 4-3 win.
DiPietro’s record evens to 1-1-0 with his 22-save victory. Munroe stopped 36 saves in the loss.
The Sound Tigers return to action tomorrow afternoon when they host the in-state rival Connecticut Whale at 3:00 p.m.
1. BRI: Brock Nelson
2. BRI: Jack Combs
3. ADK: Jason Akeson
NOTES: The win was DiPietro’s first this season after going 0-3-0 with the Islanders … It was DiPietro’s first victory as a Sound Tiger since Dec. 11, 2009 in Springfield; Ironically, Scott Munroe relieved DiPietro in that 6-2 win against the Falcons after 40 minutes … Saturday night’s win was DiPietro’s first regular-season win at Webster Bank Arena/Arena at Harbor Yard since a 4-1 win over Binghamton on March 8, 2003, six days short of exactly 10 years ago … The Sound Tigers have not converted on their last 34 power play chances … Nathan McIver recorded an assist and now has points in back-to-back games … Sean Backman had two assists, his line with Combs and Watkins combined for six points (2g, 4a).
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
40 Mike Halmo – 29 Brock Nelson – 22 Nino Niederreiter
5 Jack Combs – 14 Matt Watkins (C) – 16 Sean Backman
42 Brandon DeFazio – 4 Scott Campbell – 20 Blair Riley
32 Adam Huxley – 18 Chad Costello – 77 Kirill Kabanov
46 Matt Donovan – 7 Jon Landry (A)
27 Aaron Ness – 2 Dallas Jackson
25 Jordan Hill – 8 Nathan McIver (A)
39 Rick DiPietro (starter)
30 Kenny Reiter