BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (Dec. 26, 2012) – Nino Niederreiter scored twice in the first 7:04 of the first period, and David Ullstrom added a goal and three assists as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers defeated the Connecticut Whale 5-2 at Webster Bank Arena on Wednesday night. With the win, the Sound Tigers improve to 14-12-1-2. The Whale falls to 12-15-2-0.
“Our gameplan was to come out strong and be physical,” Sound Tigers Head Coach Scott Pellerin said. “It was a big effort for us to solidify that win.”
It took just 63 seconds for Niederreiter to put the Sound Tigers on the board. After Ullstrom was denied on a backhand attempt from the left faceoff circle in the Whale zone, Niederreiter lifted the rebound over Whale goaltender Cam Talbot to give the Sound Tigers a 1-0 lead.
Niederreiter’s second goal of the period doubled the Sound Tigers advantage. Similar to his first goal of the evening, the second-year pro found a rebound in traffic and beat Talbot at 7:04 of the opening frame.
Sound Tigers captain Colin McDonald added to the lead midway through the first period as a power play came to an end. Casey Cizikas fired a pass from the bottom of the right circle through the low slot, and McDonald one-timed it home for his fifth goal of the season.
The Sound Tigers increased their lead to four goals late in the second period. Johan Sundstrom’s wraparound attempt popped up into the air at the top of Talbot’s crease and bounced off of Matt Watkins before it deflected off of a Whale defenseman and trickled over the goal line. It was one of Sundstrom’s three assists on the night, and Watkins fifth tally of the season gave the Sound Tigers a 4-0 lead after two periods.
The Whale answered with two quick goals in the first portion of the final frame. Marek Hrivik spun and wrapped a rebound past Sound Tigers goaltender Kevin Poulin at 3:43 to get the Whale on the board, and Blake Parlett deflected Chad Kolarik’s shot from the slot to cut the Sound Tigers lead to two with 12:53 left in regulation. The Whale would draw no closer, as Poulin made key saves down the stretch, and Ullstrom added an empty-netter as the buzzer sounded.
“He’s certainly solidified his game,” Pellerin said of Poulin, who finished the game with 25 saves. “He’s worked hard in practice and elevated his game. I’m really proud of the way he’s competed not only in practice, but also in games and he’s getting big wins for us.”
The Sound Tigers close out the home-and-home series with the Whale tomorrow night at the XL Center. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
Notes: Ullstrom’s four points (1g/3a) tied Colin McDonald’s four-point output against Syracuse on Dec. 9 for most points in a game this season … Niederreiter now has 15 goals on the season, fourth most in the AHL ... Ullstrom and Sundstrom’s three assists matched Hamonic’s three-assist game against the Whale on opening night … The Sound Tigers outshot the Whale 29-27 … Ullstrom’s empty-netter was the first for the Sound Tigers since Matt Watkins’ empty-netter in a 4-2 win over Providence on Oct. 13 … Ullstrom led the Sound Tigers with a plus-4 rating in the game.
Three Stars 1. BRI: Nino Niederreiter 2. BRI: David Ullstrom 3. BRI: Johan Sundstrom
Bridgeport Sound Tigers Forwards 23 John Persson - 11 Casey Cizikas - 13 Colin McDonald 24 David Ullstrom - 28 Johan Sundstrom - 22 Nino Niederreiter 40 Mike Halmo - 14 Matt Watkins - 42 Brandon DeFazio 44 Brett Gallant - - 20 Blair Riley
Defensemen 46 Matt Donovan - 6 Ty Wishart 27 Aaron Ness - 8 Nathan McIver 15 Marc Cantin - 7 Jon Landry
Goaltenders 38 Kevin Poulin (starter) 45 Anders Nilsson
Connecticut Whale Forwards 20 Chris Kreider – 7 Kyle Jean – 26 Brandon Segal 18 Micheal Haley – 11 Kris Newbury – 42 Chad Kolarik 15 Marek Hrivik – 90 Kelsey Tessier – 92 Christian Thomas 16 Tommy Grant – 24 Shayne Wiebe – 9 Ryan Bourque
Defensemen 97 Matt Gilroy – 4 Steven Delisle 48 Mike Vernace – 25 Sean Collins 3 Sam Klassen – 5 Blake Parlett
Goaltenders 33 Cameron Talbot (starter) 31 Jason Missiaen