The Bridgeport Sound Tigers rallied for two quick goals late in the third period, but could not find the equalizer as the Adirondack Phantoms held on for a 3-2 win Saturday night at Webster Bank Arena.
The home team doubled Adirondack in shots, 36-18, but saw its five-game point streak come to a close, falling to 13-12-1-2 this season. Phantoms forward Sean Couturier had a hand in all three Adirondack goals, posting one goal and two assists, as his club improved to 13-14-1-0.
“You could tell that once we got that first goal, the energy changed and the momentum changed,” Sound Tigers Head Coach Scott Pellerin said. “We played with more urgency, getting pucks to the net and we just missed a couple of chances at the end to tie the game.”
Down 3-0 in the waning minutes of regulation, the Sound Tigers finally broke through against goaltender Scott Munroe with 6:21 remaining, as Jack Combs connected on a back-door feed from Chad Costello. The linemates, each making their Sound Tigers debuts, were leading the ECHL in scoring on the Colorado Eagles before signing professional tryout contracts with Bridgeport on Dec. 18.
“They balanced out the four lines quite well and had some great energy with Brett Gallant,” Pellerin said of his two new additions. “They generated a lot of quality chances. The whole team had some spurts of good shifts but they just weren’t able to get the puck across the goal line.”
Johan Sundstrom brought the Sound Tigers within a goal just 27 seconds after Combs’ strike, sending a quick shot past Munroe’s glove on a 3-on-2 rush to make it a one-goal game. The Sound Tigers peppered Munroe for the final minutes of the third period, but could not complete the comeback.
“We sustained a lot of pressure but weren’t able to capitalize on our opportunities and they did,” Pellerin said. “We have to be accountable for creating offense and finishing off our plays.”
Sean Couturier scored the game’s first goal on an unfortunate bounce at 14:10 of the opening period. As time was expiring on a Sound Tigers power play, the penalty killing Couturier skated in on a breakaway against goalie Anders Nilsson, but back-checker Brandon DeFazio made a diving play to sweep the puck to the corner. In a last-ditch effort, Couturier spun a shot to the front of the net, where it caromed in off a Sound Tiger.
Couturier earned the primary assist on the Phantoms next two goals. His shot from the right point was deflected in by Matthew Ford to give Adirondack a 2-0 lead at 7:49 of the second period. The Phantoms made it 3-0 in the first minute of the third period, as Couturier’s wrap-around attempt rebounded to Eric Wellwood on the back door.
The biggest of Munroe’s 34 saves came during a flurry in the opening minutes of third period. The goaltender denied Jordan Hill’s open look with a full-extension toe save, and minutes later, denied Nino Niederreiter from the edge of the paint. Nilsson made 15 saves in the losing effort for Bridgeport.
The Sound Tigers return to action Wednesday, Dec. 26 at 7 p.m. when they host the Connecticut Whale at Webster Bank Arena.
SOUND TIGERS CHANGE NAMES TO HONOR SANDY HOOK
Brandon DeFazio returned from a six-game suspension ... To honor the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Sound Tigers wore the last names of the children lost in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy on their black, alternate jerseys ... The Sound Tigers allowed all Newtown, CT residents to attend the game for free. Newtown residents are also invited to attend home games on Dec. 26 and Dec. 29 free of charge.
1. ADK – Sean Couturier
2. ADK – Eric Wellwood
3. BRI – Jack Combs
BRIDGEPORT SOUND TIGERS
22 Nino Niederreiter (Kowalski) – 11 Casey Cizikas (Pozner) – 13 Colin McDonald (McDonnell)
23 John Persson (Engel) – 28 Johan Sundstrom (Hubbard) – 24 David Ullstrom (Rekos)
5 Jack Combs (Gay) – 18 Chad Costello (Pinto) – 42 Brandon DeFazio (Wyatt)
44 Brett Gallant (Wheeler) – 14 Matt Watkins (Richman) – 20 Blair Riley (Lewis)
46 Matt Donovan(Previdi) – 6 Ty Wishart (Mattioli)
27 Aaron Ness (Hsu) – 8 Nathan McIver (Bacon)
25 Jordan Hill (Barden) – 7 Jon Landry (Hockley)
45 Anders Nilsson (Parker)
38 Kevin Poulin (Marquez-Greene)
22 Eric Wellwood - 14 Sean Couturier - 25 Matthew Ford
16 Tye McGinn - 10 Brayden Schenn - 38 Jason Akeson
27 Garrett Roe - 24 Harry Zolnierczyk - 26 Zac Rinaldo
13 Zack Fitzgerald - 9 Rob Bordson - 11 Shane Harper
28 Brandon Manning - 42 Jeff Dimmen
5 Danny Syvret - 6 Matt Konan
7 Oliver Lauridsen - 20 Cullen Eddy
33 Scott Munroe (starter)
35 Cal Heeter