Sound Tigers scramble for overtime win
BRIDGEPORT — The puck went in three times, Travis St. Denis and Devon Toews said. Providence didn’t want any of them to count. The Bridgeport Sound Tigers only needed one.
St. Denis’ whack at a loose puck in the crease 1:22 into overtime gave Bridgeport a 5-4 win Saturday night at Webster Bank Arena, the Sound Tigers’ fourth win in a row, each with at least five goals.
It was a crazy finish to end a night on which Bridgeport blew a two-goal lead in the third period, and St. Denis talked afterward about how it might’ve ended disastrously in overtime.
“I jumped on the ice, went on the forecheck, I turned and fell, and they had a four-on-two the other way. That’s not a fun thing to watch,” he said.
But Ryan Donato’s shot went wide and caromed around the boards. Otto Koivula, just out of the penalty box after serving Steve Bernier’s boarding major, moved it to St. Denis in stride.
Zane McIntyre stopped St. Denis’ shot, but the rebound caromed off Donato back into the goalie. St. Denis and Toews both crashed the net. Referee Liam Sewell hopped on top of the net for a better look, and, hanging over the crossbar, pointed into the net three times.
“Everyone was whacking at it, and it went in, and thank God it went in,” St. Denis said.
Though Bridgeport was mostly in control for the first two periods, Providence had a much stronger third. An early goal through traffic cut the lead to 4-3, and Donato’s goal on a two-man advantage tied it with 9:34 left.
“A little off. We held them to 10 shots through two periods, and we gave them at least that many in the third period,” said Toews, whose slashing penalty put the Bruins up two men. “Too many good opportunities, a couple of breakdowns, a couple of bad penalties, including myself.”
Toews had opened the scoring on a power play, getting a shot to carom in off a defenseman’s skate. Chris Bourque’s assist gave him 700 points in the AHL; Bourque added a goal later off a St. Denis feed after Koivula got the puck deep.
In 734 AHL games, Bourque has 240 goals and 461 assists for 701 points.
“I can’t even imagine,” Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson said. “I might need, I don’t know how many years, games — I don’t know if I could achieve 700 points playing in a men’s league with guys that can’t skate.”
Attendance was 3,060
Kieffer Bellows and Kyle Burroughs also scored for the Sound Tigers. Jan Kovar, who went to New York Islanders training camp with many of the Sound Tigers, had a power-play goal for the Bruins, and Anton Blidh also scored.
Bernier’s boarding major sent Trent Frederic to the Providence dressing room and himself to the Bridgeport room, given a game misconduct. The Sound Tigers limited the Bruins’ chances on the long penalty, even at four-on-three in overtime.
“We’ve got to play better with a lead. It’s something we’ll learn from,” St. Denis said. “The penalty kill came up big at the end and Smitty came up big. Those are the reasons we won the game, the PK and Smitty.”
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SOUND TIGERS 5, BRUINS 4 (OT)
Providence1 1 2 0—4
Bridgeport2 2 0 1—5
First Period — 1, Bridgeport, Toews 4 (Fritz, C.Bourque), 2:54. 2, Providence, Kovar 4 (Fitzgerald, Cave), 10:33 (pp). 3, Bridgeport, Bellows 5 (Bernier, Fritz), 11:58. Penalties — Fitzgerald, Pro (interference), 1:18; R.Bourque, Bpt (cross-checking), 9:47; St. Denis, Bpt (holding), 12:46; Goloubef, Pro (tripping), 16:18; Fitzgerald, Pro (holding), 19:39.
Second Period — 4, Bridgeport, C.Bourque 4 (St. Denis, Koivula), 4:28. 5, Providence, Blidh 3, 5:39. 6, Bridgeport, Burroughs 1 (Kubiak, R.Bourque), 15:24. Penalties — Kovar, Pro (roughing), 5:18; Jones, Bpt (roughing), 5:18; Zboril, Pro (slashing), 6:15; Hughes, Pro (hooking), 12:24.
Third Period — 7, Providence, Zboril 2 (Senyshyn, Cave), 3:49. 8, Providence, Donato 1 (Fitzgerald, Goloubef), 10:26 (pp). Penalties — Frederic, Pro (hooking), 4:15; Frederic, Pro (elbowing), 7:14; Ho-Sang, Bpt (holding stick), 8:48; Toews, Bpt (slashing), 9:12; Lauzon, Pro (slashing), 13:41; Bernier, Bpt, major-game misconduct (boarding), 16:07.
Overtime — 9, Bridgeport, St. Denis 6 (Toews, Koivula), 1:22. Penalties — None.
Shots on goal — Providence 5-5-16-1—27. Bridgeport 9-5-8-3—25.
Power play opportunities — Providence 2 of 5, Bridgeport 1 of 8.
Goaltenders — Providence, McIntyre 2-5-0 (25 shots-20 saves). Bridgeport, Smith 4-2-1 (27-23).
Attendance — 3,060. Referees — Blandina, Sewell. Linesmen — B.Lyons, Hejna.