stopped all 25 shots faced and Matt Watkins
added two late goals as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers defeated the Manchester Monarchs 4-0 Saturday at Webster Bank Arena. Nilsson’s first shutout of the season and third consecutive win lifted the Sound Tigers to 9-4-0-0 this season. With the loss, Manchester fell to 7-6-0-1.
Nino Niederreiter and Jon Landry scored the other Sound Tigers goals, while Max MacKay and Jordan Hill each posted two assists. All four Sound Tigers tallies featured heavy traffic in front of the net, reflecting the club’s renewed focus on executing Head Coach Scott Pellerin’s physical game plan.
“When we play with our style and our identity – we’re physical, we work hard on pucks – we’re going to get chances and we’re going to score goals,” Pellerin said. “It was a great effort by our team tonight.”
The Sound Tigers may have been too physical early in the first period, as the Monarchs were awarded three straight power plays to open the game. The Sound Tigers turned defense into offense, killing all three man-advantages before Niederreiter put his club on the board at 13:45. Bridgeport’s leading scorer parked in front of the goal to set a screen for defenseman Jordan Hill’s shot, before spinning around and firing the rebound past Monarchs goalie Martin Jones. The goal extended Niederreiter’s point streak to seven games (4 goals, 5 assists).
Landry doubled the Sound Tigers lead with a power-play marker midway through the second period. Forward Max MacKay shielded the puck from a Monarchs defenseman on the left faceoff dot and dished to Landry at the top of the circle. Landry wound up and blasted a shot just under the crossbar at 8:41, giving MacKay his first career professional point.
Watkins put the game out of reach late in regulation, netting both of his goals inside the final 5:08. First, he deflected a Jon Landry shot past Jones to give his club a 3-0 lead. The first-year Sound Tiger iced the game on a long rebound off of the end boards.
Nilsson, playing for the third time in the last four Sound Tigers games, improved to 3-0-0.
“He made some big saves for us,” Pellerin said. “We talked about our defensive zone (positioning) and it helped Anders to see a lot of those pucks and handle those chances.”
The Sound Tigers conclude their three-game weekend Sunday on the road, with a 3:05 p.m. matchup against the Providence Bruins.
Forward David Ullstrom returned to the lineup after missing five games with a lower body injury. The Sound Tigers hosted Pink Rink Night, sponsored by Norwalk Hospital. All fans wearing pink were invited onto the ice during the second intermission for a ribbon-forming ceremony, and all proceeds from a silent auction benefited the Smilow Family Breast Health Center at Norwalk Hospital.
1. (BRI) Anders Nilsson
2. (BRI)Jon Landry
3. (BRI) Matt Watkins
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
22 Nino Niederreiter – 29 Brock Nelson – 42 Brandon DeFazio
23 John Persson – 28 Johan Sundstrom – 16 Sean Backman
24 David Ullstrom – 14 Matt Watkins (A) – 17 Max MacKay
44 Brett Gallant – 20 Blair Riley
46 Matt Donovan – 6 Ty Wishart (A)
27 Aaron Ness – 7 Jon Landry
25 Jordan Hill – 3 Travis Hamonic (A)
8 Nathan McIver
45 Anders Nilsson (starter)
38 Kevin Poulin