Dal Colle scores two more in Sound Tigers’ win
BRIDGEPORT — He scored seven goals all of last season, but Michael Dal Colle put away five this weekend in about 26 hours.
Dal Colle followed his first pro hat trick Friday night with two more goals Saturday in the Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ 5-3 win over the Springfield Thunderbirds at Webster Bank Arena.
“I haven’t gotten a hat trick in a long time, since my junior days,” said Dal Colle, whose third goal Friday beat Providence 4-3 in overtime.
“It was a pretty special feeling, my first OT winner in the pros too. Getting the two points was big. Hopefully tomorrow we can sweep the weekend.”
Bridgeport hosts Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Sunday with a chance at team history: The Sound Tigers are 10-0-2-1 in their past 13 at home after an 0-1-1-0 start. That ties the team record for points in consecutive home games, set amid a torrid start to the 2003-04 season.
Dal Colle has 14 goals in all now this season, one shy of his 75-game total as a rookie two years ago.
“He’s shooting the puck. He gets it on and off his stick quick, and he attacks the net,” Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson said. “It’s simple things like that. He’s moving his feet on the forecheck. His play away from the puck has been better. I’m really, really happy with the way he’s approaching his game, and even his practices.
“It’s nice to see a kid like that being rewarded.”
There were other rewards,: Travis St. Denis’ first goal since Nov. 10 proved the game-winner after a couple of late Thunderbirds power-play goals around a Stephen Gionta empty-netter. Kieffer Bellows earlier scored his first goal since Nov. 11, chasing down the puck in the left circle and beating Samuel Montembeault over the right shoulder.
“I saw there was an opportunity to grab it, two-on-one with Bourquey (Ryan Bourque). I just saw the best opportunity was to shoot the puck. I saw the corner,” Bellows said.
When it went in? “Relief. A lot of relief. It was nice to get the monkey off the back. Couldn’t have done it without the support of (Connor) Jones and Bourquey.”
(Bellows, celebrating in the corner, reached behind him to rip said monkey off his back.)
The most notable goal drought now is probably Mike Sislo’s 12 games, though Sislo unfortunately did put one in a net Saturday.
Sislo broke up Matt Mangene’s centering pass, and in trying to swat it out of the slot, he accidentally swatted it past Bridgeport goalie Jeremy Smith’s left skate to tie the game at 1 late in the second period.
Dal Colle’s second goal untied it 1:07 later off a pass from Tanner Fritz, who left the game injured in the third.
“Playing with a guy Fritzy, an NHL caliber player, great skill, great speed, he’s pretty easy to play with. You see today, he gave me two great setups with my goals,” Dal Colle said. “Otto (Koivula, their centerman) has adapted to the game in North America very well, a big guy with skill, pretty easy to play with.”
Attendance was 3,175.
Dal Colle took five stitches to his left eyelid when Paul Thompson’s stick clipped him off the opening faceoff of the second period. “It was clean,” Dal Colle said. “But it hurt.”
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SOUND TIGERS 5, THUNDERBIRDS 3
Springfield0 1 2—3
Bridgeport1 2 2—5
First Period — 1, Bridgeport, Dal Colle 13 (Fritz, Koivula), 4:52. Penalties — None.
Second Period — 2, Springfield, Mangene 2, 15:18. 3, Bridgeport, Dal Colle 14 (Fritz, Aho), 16:25. 4, Bridgeport, Bellows 7 (Jones, Helgeson), 16:53. Penalties — Jones, Bpt (slashing), 2:30; Gionta, Bpt (interference), 2:39; Helgeson, Bpt (slashing), 13:11.
Third Period — 5, Bridgeport, St. Denis 7 (Eansor, Kubiak), 9:15. 6, Springfield, Mangene 3 (Hunt, Bystrom), 18:30 (pp). 7, Bridgeport, Gionta 1 (Jones), 19:22 (sh-en). 8, Springfield, Brown 1 (Ang, Stillman), 19:57 (pp). Penalties — Bajkov, Spr (roughing), 5:55; Wotherspoon, Bpt (cross-checking), 5:55; Thompson, Spr (hooking), 11:55; Schemitsch, Spr, major (fighting), 16:48; St. Denis, Bpt, minor-major (roughing, fighting), 16:48; Vande Sompel, Bpt (tripping), 18:48.
Shots on goal — Springfield 7-14-14—35. Bridgeport 8-13-4—25.
Power play opportunities — Springfield 2 of 5, Bridgeport 0 of 1.
Goaltenders — Springfield, Montembeault 9-4-2 (24 shots-20 saves). Bridgeport, Smith 8-5-1 (35-32).
Attendance — 3,175. Referees — Dunning, Schrader. Linesmen — Colby, Kiriakos.