Sound Tigers goaltender Anders Nilsson stopped 34 of 35 shots and Johan Sundstrom, Mike Halmo and Nino Niederreiter each scored as Bridgeport defeated the Providence Bruins 3-1 in an exhibition game at the New England Sports Center on Thursday night. With the win, the Sound Tigers improve to 1-0-0-0 in preseason play. Providence’s record is now even at 1-1-0-0.
Physical play dictated the early portion of play, as three separate fights took place in the first 3:45 of the first period. Sound Tigers forward Blair Riley squared off with Bruins forward Bobby Robins 24 seconds into the first period. Just 1:25 later, Brett Gallant fought Tyler Randell and took the Bruins forward down to the ice. The final scrap of the period came at 3:45 when former P-Bruin Nathan McIver dropped the gloves with Kelsey Wilson.
The Bruins jumped on the scoreboard at the 2:44 mark of the opening frame. The Sound Tigers were caught on the forecheck, leading to a 3-on-2 breakout for Providence. Justin Florek left the puck dropped the puck at the right circle for Christian Hanson, who fired the puck over Anders Nilsson’s right shoulder to give the Bruins a 1-0 advantage.
The Sound Tigers responded with two goals in the latter half of the period to take the lead. Jason Clark led the rush and fired the puck towards the slot where Johan Sundstrom was waiting. The rookie center flipped the puck past Niklas Svedberg for the Sound Tigers first tally of the preseason to even the score at one. Fellow rookie forward Mike Halmo gave the Sound Tigers the lead with 30 seconds remaining in the first period. Working on the power play, Halmo took a feed from Brandon DeFazio to the left of Svedberg and fired into the open net to put Bridgeport in front 2-1.
Nino Niederreiter pushed the Sound Tigers lead to two at the 13:03 mark of the second period. The Sound Tigers sent the puck the length of the ice while shorthanded and Niederreiter took chase. Bruins goaltender Adam Morrison misplayed the puck behind his net as Niederreiter came into the zone, and attempted to move back into his crease after Niederreiter beat him to the puck. The first-year Sound Tiger gathered the puck, deked the scrambling Morrison and finished for a shorthanded goal to make the score 3-1.
The Sound Tigers dictated much of the action in the third as Nilsson was rarely challenged in the final 20 minutes. The Sound Tigers finished the night 1-for-8 on the power play. Providence went 0-for-4.
The Sound Tigers close out preseason play tomorrow evening when they face the Manchester Monarchs at Sullivan Arena on the campus of Saint Anselm College at 6:00 p.m. Tomorrow’s game will be streamed live on the New York Islanders website, with the webcast set to begin approximately five minutes before gametime.