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Friday, March 23 Sound Tigers

Sound Tigers top Bruins in shootout

BRIDGEPORT — For two nights in two buildings, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Providence Bruins played intense hockey with limited chances to score.

And both nights, the Sound Tigers escaped with two points. Christopher Gibson’s 27 saves and shootout goals from Travis St. Denis and Mitch Vande Sompel gave them a 2-1 win Saturday night at Webster Bank Arena.

“Both teams played really hard,” said Connor Jones, who scored Bridgeport’s regulation-time goal and blocked shots on the penalty kill. “We really buckled down this weekend.”

Ryan Fitzgerald managed to solve Gibson with 3:04 remaining in regulation, one of a few chances on that shift after Kenny Agostino’s hit won the puck back for the Bruins.

Both teams killed a penalty in overtime, sending it to the shootout. And the two points the Sound Tigers earned put them in fourth place in the Atlantic Division on points percentage, a notch ahead of Charlotte, the team they’ll visit Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Three Stars


2. CONNOR JONES, BRIDGEPORT: Scored the Sound Tigers’ goal; blocked shots on the penalty kill.

3. RYAN FITZGERALD, PROVIDENCE: Scored the Bruins’ goal late to tie it.

UNSUNG HERO: Josh Ho-Sang threaded a beautiful pass to spring Jones for Bridgeport’s goal.

UP NEXT: Tuesday at Charlotte, 7 p.m

“It was a playoff-style atmosphere, playoff-style games, intensity,” Sound Tigers coach Brent Thompson said. “Yeah, I’m happy with the steps the team is taking. We played a team-, together-style of game.”

Friday’s 3-2 win at Providence followed a four-game winless streak in which Bridgeport got to overtime three times to pick up points. The only regulation loss was a 6-1 decision in Toronto last weekend, but the Sound Tigers controlled play in a home game against Hartford after a couple of 3-2 overtime losses.

“We were on the wrong side of a couple of games on the road trip,” Jones said. “I thought we played really hard. We didn’t deserve three losses. We could’ve really had three wins. It was nice to get a couple of wins.”

Attendance was 4,224 for the Sound Tigers’ military appreciation night. The team wore special jerseys that were auctioned to benefit the Better Business Bureau’s Military Line Scholarship.

Providence, which started the weekend in first place, was in control of the first six minutes of the second period, spending lots of time in the Bridgeport end, until Pat Cullity moved the puck to Josh Ho-Sang on the boards to Gibson’s right.

Ho-Sang fired a pass cross-ice, diagonally, to hit Jones in stride up the left wing.

“Just a breakout. Jonesy found a lane,” Ho-Sang said. “I felt like Tom Brady in the pocket. Gotta send it.”

Jones said he just looked over to Ho-Sang: “He’s a pretty good player. I picked it up, picked a corner, got lucky.”

Jones wired it over Zane McIntyre’s glove at 6:44.

“Eyes closed,” Thompson teased Jones after the game. “He tried to dump the puck.”

“A young Steve Yzerman,” Ho-Sang said, walking by.

Providence hit posts at least three times, but Gibson was sharp, stopping Agostino, last year’s AHL MVP, alone in front early in the second, then Adam Payerl cutting to the net out of the left corner.

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“Gibby played outstanding,” Thompson said.

There wasn’t official word, but it looked as if Tanner Fritz might be returning to the New York Islanders. Casey Cizikas was injured earlier in the day in the Islanders’ 7-2 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

With Bridgeport flying to Charlotte on Monday, it seemed likely that at least one forward would be coming to the Sound Tigers from their ECHL affiliate in Worcester. Jones’ twin brother Kellen has eight points for Worcester in the past 10 games.

Defenseman Mike Cornell likely returns to Bridgeport as well after playing two games for the Railers this weekend.

mfornabaio@ctpost.com; http://twitter.com/fornabaioctp; http://blog.ctnews.com/fornabaio


Providence 0 0 1 0 0—1

Bridgeport 0 1 0 0 1—2

First Period — No scoring. Penalties — Bailey, Bpt (tripping), 14:49.

Second Period — 1, Bridgeport, C.Jones 4 (Ho-Sang, Cullity), 6:44. Penalties — Cave, Pro (tripping), 7:59; Johansson, Pro (interference), 13:52; Bridgeport bench, served Ho-Sang (too many men), 17:11.

Third Period — 2, Providence, Fitzgerald 7 (Senyshyn, Cave), 16:56. Penalties — St. Denis, Bpt (interference), 8:51; Agostino, Pro, misconduct, 20:00.

Overtime — No scoring. Penalties — Szwarz, Pro (tripping), 1:03; Bourque, Bpt (tripping), 4:36.

Shootout — Providence, Fitzgerald NG, Cehlarik NG, Szwarz G; Bridgeport, Fritz NG, St. Denis G, Vande Sompel G.

Shots on goal — Providence 7-9-11-1-0—28. Bridgeport 6-5-6-1-1—19.

Power play opportunities — Providence 0 of 4, Bridgeport 0 of 3.

Goaltenders — Providence, McInytre 11-8-3 (18 shots-17 saves). Bridgeport, Gibson 14-7-2 (28-27).

Attendance — 4,224. Referees — O’Quinn, D.Banfield. Linesmen — K.Briganti, N.Briganti.

Michael Fornabaio|Sports Reporter