NORFOLK, Va. (Dec. 14, 2012) – Sound Tigers forward Casey Cizikas netted the game-winning goal 2:28 into overtime after a lengthy review of the deciding play to give the Bridgeport Sound Tigers a thrilling 4-3 win over the Norfolk Admirals at Norfolk Scope on Friday night. With the win, the Sound Tigers improve to 12-11-1-1. Norfolk earns a point with the overtime defeat as its record stands at 10-12-1-0.
The play that decided the game came after Cizikas drew a penalty 50 seconds into overtime, only to see the man-advantage nullified by a Nino Niederreiter tripping penalty 2:08 into the extra session. Cizikas raced with the puck into right half of the Norfolk zone, cut towards the crease and sent a shot on net as he was thrown into Norfolk goaltender Frederik Andersen by defenseman Mat Clark.
After a long review, referee Trent Knorr determined the puck crossed the goal line prior to the net coming off of its moorings, giving the Sound Tigers an important 4-3 overtime win.
“I took him wide, and I was driving and got hit from behind into their goalie,” Cizikas said. “It’s a massive win, especially after battling hard in Portland and coming up short in overtime earlier in the week.”
The Sound Tigers scored in the first four minutes of each period, only to see Norfolk respond with goals later in each stanza to knot the score. Sound Tigers defenseman and former Admiral Ty Wishart scored his first goal of the season 3:31 into the final period to give the visitors a 3-2 lead, but Norfolk’s Pat Maroon tied the game with 2:45 left in regulation, setting the stage for Cizikas’ heroics in overtime.
“He’s that type of player,” Head Coach Scott Pellerin said of Cizikas. “In these types of games, this is the type of guy that will show up every time. He won big faceoffs, played the hard minutes and he wants to play in those situations. It’s a huge two points for us.”
The Sound Tigers took the early lead 3:36 into the first period. After Anders Nilsson made a save on a shorthanded breakaway, the Sound Tigers countered and John Persson knocked a rebound past Norfolk goaltender Frederik Andersen for his eighth goal of the season to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Norfolk responded less than four minutes later, when Devante Smith-Pelly found a loose puck in traffic in front of Nilsson and netted his third goal of the season to tie the score at one.
The seesaw battle continued into the second period where the two sides traded goals once again. Brock Nelson gave the Sound Tigers the lead on a wraparound 1:13 into the middle frame, but Norfolk’s Peter Holland responded with a power play goal on a deflection at 9:06 to knot the score at two.
Physical play was a constant throughout Friday’s contest which saw three fights and 11 power plays in the first half of the game. Although the Sound Tigers came away with a much-needed win, Norfolk erased each of the Sound Tigers one-goal leads.
“It was a rollercoaster,” Pellerin said. “We let the game happen to us early on. After that first period, we generated more energy and it was frustrating at times because we let them back in the game. This was a game we can learn from, and hopefully we do learn and grow.”
The Sound Tigers conclude their road trip Saturday evening when they close out their two-game series in Norfolk. Game time is slated for 7:15 p.m.
Notes: With two assists in the game, Colin McDonald now boasts 13 points (2g, 11a) in his last nine games … The Sound Tigers have scored a power play goal in 18 of their 25 games this season … The Sound Tigers are 5-0-0-0 this season when Casey Cizikas scores at least one goal … Anders Nilsson made 27 saves as Norfolk outshot Bridgeport 30-27… Nathan McIver had a game-high 24 penalty minutes … Brock Nelson posted two points (1g, 1a), but left the ice late in the second period and did not return.
Three Stars 1. BRI: Casey Cizikas 2. NOR: Patrick Maroon 3. BRI: Ty Wishart
Bridgeport Sound Tigers Forwards 22 Nino Niederreiter – 29 Brock Nelson – 13 Colin McDonald 23 John Persson – 28 Johan Sundstrom – 24 David Ullstrom 16 Sean Backman – 11 Casey Cizikas – 20 Blair Riley 44 Brett Gallant – 14 Matt Watkins
Defensemen 46 Matt Donovan – 6 Ty Wishart 15 Marc Cantin – 7 Jon Landry 27 Aaron Ness – 8 Nathan McIver
Goaltenders 45 Anders Nilsson (starter) 38 Kevin Poulin
Norfolk Admirals Forwards 15 Brandon McMillan – 16 Rod Pelley – 24 John Mitchell 21 Kyle Palmieri – 22 Peter Holland – 34 Devante Smith-Pelly 38 Jay Rosehill – 12 John Kurtz – 20 Troy Bodie 19 Patrick Maroon – 18 Chris Wagner – 26 Emerson Etem
Defensemen 6 Jordan Hendry – 9 Sami Vatanen 10 Gabe Guentzel – 2 Mat Clark 3 Ryan Parent – 28 Nick Schaus
Goaltenders 30 Frederik Andersen (starter) 35 Igor Bobkov