The Bridgeport Sound Tigers launched an impressive comeback, scoring three unanswered goals to beat the Admirals by the score of 3-2 tonight in Norfork. Islanders prospect Jeff Tambellini scored two goals, including the game-winner in the third period. In his fourth AHL game, Islanders 2006 first round pick had assists on both Tambellini goals. Islanders center prospect Frans Nielsen
also had two assists.
"An excellent effort by our team tonight," was how Sound Tigers head coach Jack Capuano put it. "Norfork is our longest road trip, so to come back and fight so hard to win it was impressive. It was good to have Jeff Tambellini back with Kyle Okposo
and they really showed what they're capable of. And Frans was outstanding in every area of the game."
After one period of play, the Sound Tigers and Admirals were dead-locked in a scoreless tie. Starting goalie Mike Morrison stopped all seven Admiral shots in the period. The Sound Tigers' best opportunity of the period came when Tambellini, who rejoined the Sound Tigers today, tried to one-time a loose puck past Admirals' starter Marc Denis, but was unable to get solid wood on the rolling puck and it fluttered wide.
In the second period, Norfolk was able to break through on the scoreboard, burying two chances past Morrison. The first came 4:48 in when Rob Klinkhammer scored his sixth goal of the season on assists from Marek Kvapil and Bracken Kearns for the 1-0 lead. Paul Sczcechura doubled Norfolk's lead to 2-0 when he converted his third goal of the season on a rebound off an initial save by Morrison at the left post.
With just about five minutes to play in the middle frame, Tambellini struck for the Sound Tigers, cutting the Admirals' lead to 2-1. Kyle Okposo
led a rush over the blue line and feathered a saucer pass over a Norfolk defender's stick back to Tambellini. The team's leading scorer picked up the puck and snapped it over the glove of Denis for his 23rd tally of the season.
With under a minute remaining in the period, it appeared that the Sound Tigers had tied the score at two when Trevor Smith banged home a bouncing puck in the slot. Referee Chris Cozzan signaled a goal but after a brief discussion with his linesmen, they ruled that Smith had kicked the puck in. Behind the play, Klinkhammer had been called for hooking penalty, putting the Sound Tigers on the power-play.
Ben Walter would make sure that this time the goal counted. With time running down under ten seconds, Tambellini sent a shot on net that Denis attempted to smother. The puck kicked loose to Walter, who took a few swipes at it and finally pushed it past Denis for his 12th goal of the season, tying the score at two with no time remaining on the clock. Nielsen also picked up an assist on the goal.
Tambellini would complete the comeback 3:31 into the third period. Nielsen fed a lead pass to Okposo, who came over the blue line and tried to put a shot on Denis. A Norfolk defender was in the way and the puck deflected wide where Tambellini swooped in, grabbed the puck and tucked it just inside the left post to give the Sound Tigers a 3-2 lead. The goal was Tambellini's 24th of the season.
Morrison earned the victory for the Sound Tigers, making 33 saves on 35 shots and Denis had 20 saves on 23 shots. The Sound Tigers finished the game 1-for-4 on the man-advantage and a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
The Sound Tigers will travel north to Philadelphia tonight in preparation for their game on Friday against the Phantoms at the Wachovia Spectrum.