HERSHEY, Pa. (Nov. 30, 2012) – Hershey forward Jeff Taffe broke a 2-2 tie with 5:38 left in regulation and Patrick McNeill and Jon DiSalvatore added insurance goals as the Bears defeated the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 5-2 at Giant Center on Friday night. With the win, Hershey improves to 9-10-1-0. The Sound Tigers have dropped four straight games and fall to 10-8-0-0.
Neither team found the back of the net in the first period, but the Sound Tigers appeared to at least get the puck into part of the net late in the opening frame. Casey Cizikas found Blair Riley in the slot as the pair entered the Hershey zone on an odd-man rush, and Riley appeared to give the Sound Tigers the lead with a shot beating Holtby. However, the puck was deemed to have caromed off the of post after a long deliberation, and the game remained scoreless.
The Sound Tigers took the lead at the 5:50 mark of the second period courtesy of a great individual effort from Johan Sundstrom. Sundstrom had his initial shot stopped by Holtby, but the rookie forward crashed the net and put his own rebound in for his sixth goal of the season. The Sound Tigers were then successful on two penalty kills in the second half of the period, but the Bears finally beat Nilsson in the final minute of the middle frame. A bad bounce behind the Sound Tigers net sent the puck straight out into the slot to Hershey forward Jon DiSalvatore. The veteran forward found Zach Hamill camped by the left post, and Hamill fired into the open net to tie the score at one with 33.1 seconds remaining in the second stanza.
Tomas Kundratek gave Hershey a 2-1 lead at 6:01 of the third period. Shortly after the Sound Tigers killed a 5-on-3 disadvantage following penalties to Casey Cizikas and Riley on the same play, Kundratek sent a blast from the point past Nilsson to put the Bears in front. The Sound Tigers answered 47 seconds later, as defenseman Jordan Hill fought through a hip check along the right half-wall, skated into the slot and beat Holtby to even the score at 2-2.
Taffe’s tally at 14:22 proved to be the game-winner, as the veteran forward sent a slap shot from the top of the left circle over Anders Nilsson’s glove to put Hershey ahead for good. McNeill scored from nearly the same spot 1:57 later on a Hershey power play, and DiSalvatore closed out the scoring with an empty-netter in the final moments of regulation.
Anders Nilsson made 27 saves in the loss, while Braden Holtby made 22 saves to earn the win for the Bears. The Sound Tigers hit iron three times in the game, and appeared to draw within a goal in the final minute, but referee Terry Koharski blew a play dead in front of Holtby although the puck had never been covered.
The Sound Tigers return home Saturday evening to host the Worcester Sharks at 7:00 p.m on Military Appreciation Night. The Sound Tigers will be wearing commemorative camouflage jerseys that can be purchased during a silent auction on the Webster Bank Arena concourse, and all military personnel receive a free ticket with valid ID.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
22 Nino Niederreiter – 29 Brock Nelson – 13 Colin McDonald
24 David Ullstrom – 28 Johan Sundstrom – 23 John Persson
42 Brandon DeFazio – 11 Casey Cizikas – 20 Blair Riley
44 Brett Gallant – 14 Matt Watkins – 16 Sean Backman
46 Matt Donovan – 3 Travis Hamonic
27 Aaron Ness – 7 Jon Landry
25 Jordan Hill – 8 Nathan McIver
45 Anders Nilsson (starter)
38 Kevin Poulin