BRIDGEPORT, CT - Brock Nelson scored his ninth goal of the season and Anders Nilsson made 28 saves, but the Bridgeport Sound Tigers lost 4-1 to the Norfolk Admirals on Sunday at Webster Bank Arena. With the loss, the Sound Tigers drop to 10-9-0-1 (21 points), while the Admirals improve to 9-11-0-0 (18 points) on the season.
“I thought our effort was there,” Sound Tigers Head Coach Scott Pellerin said. “For whatever reason, we’re not getting quality shots. I thought we had a couple of good shifts early on the first period, but we weren’t able to sustain it. In the second and third, I thought we were able to continue with that hard work ethic and give ourselves an opportunity to get back in the game.”
After 20 minutes of play, the Admirals held a 2-0 advantage on the scoreboard, and a 13-6 edge in shots on goal. Eight minutes into the first period, John Mitchell gave the Admirals a 1-0 lead on his sixth goal of the season. Brandon McMillan’s shot through traffic was stopped by Nilsson, but Mitchell was streaking down the left side, and put the rebound top shelf past the sprawling Sound Tigers netminder.
Near the end of the opening frame, just after a Sound Tigers penalty expired, Nate Guenin doubled Norfolk’s lead. Chris Wagner fed the puck down low to Devante Smith-Pelly, whose pass from below the goal line across the slot found a wide open Guenin in the circle to Nilsson’s left. Guenin’s second goal of the season found the twine at 17:40.
Norfolk increased its lead at 6:55 of the middle frame courtesy of Jordan Hendry. With the teams skating 3-on-3, Hendry found space along the goal line to Nilsson’s right, and after a great individual effort, chipped it upstairs to make the score 3-0. Sami Vatanen and Peter Holland assisted on the goal.
The Sound Tigers got one back later in the period after Colin McDonald broke into the Admirals zone. McDonald’s initial shot, as well as Brock Nelson’s follow-up, were stopped by Norfolk goalie Frederik Andersen, but the puck eventually found its way back to Nelson, who wristed it top shelf at 15:42, making the score 3-1.
“There were a lot of bodies in front, in a scramble,” Nelson said. “Somehow the puck popped out and I just tried to get a quick shot off. It might have hit the goalie and went in.”
But Norfolk regained its three-goal lead after earning a power play early in the third period. Patrick Maroon’s pass across the crease to Kyle Palmieri was blocked by Nilsson, but the puck still made its way to the Admirals winger, who shot it into the open net at 1:19.
The Sound Tigers created a number of chances in the third period, but were unable to find the back of the net again. Five minutes in, Nino Niederreiter redirected a shot from Aaron Ness, but Andersen made the pad save. Seconds later, following a shot from a hard angle by Casey Cizikas, Niederreiter took a couple of whacks at the loose puck, but Andersen was equal to the task. Later in the period, McDonald had a chance along the goal line, but Andersen made a sprawling save to thwart the scoring chance.
The Sound Tigers are back in action on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 7:00 when they hit the road to face the in-state rival Connecticut Whale.
Notes: Travis Hamonic was injured nine seconds into the second period and left the game … Fans threw stuffed animals on the ice following Nelson’s second period goal as part of the “Teddy Bear Toss,” with all of the stuffed animals being donated to local children’s hospitals.
1. NOR: Nate Guenin
2. NOR: Frederik Andersen
3. NOR: John Mitchell
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
22 Nino Niederreiter – 29 Brock Nelson – 13 Colin McDonald
23 John Persson – 28 Johan Sundstrom – 16 Sean Backman
40 Mike Halmo – 11 Casey Cizikas – 42 Brandon DeFazio
44 Brett Gallant – 14 Matt Watkins – 20 Blair Riley
46 Matt Donovan – 3 Travis Hamonic
27 Aaron Ness – 7 Jon Landry
15 Marc Cantin – 8 Nathan McIver
45 Anders Nilsson (starter)
38 Kevin Poulin