Better effort but another Sound Tigers loss, to Penguins
BRIDGEPORT — On the bright side, it was better than Monday. The down side for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers: The result didn’t get any better.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton took a five-goal lead before the game was half over. A couple of quick Bridgeport goals were as close as it got Wednesday morning in the Penguins’ 5-2 win at Webster Bank Arena.
“When you’re in a 5-0 hole, it’s tough to get back at it. I do not believe I say it, but the last two periods, we played extremely well,” Bridgeport’s Steve Bernier said.
“Two goals, very bad bounce: those things can happen. As a team, we need to regroup and focus on what we need to do well as a team and play 60 minutes that way.”
Stamford native Ryan Haggerty scored twice for the Penguins. Teddy Blueger had three points.
A lapse, a turnover, the puck ended up in the back of Bridgeport’s net. A little spark might’ve come from a scuffle and a fight, but then the Penguins scored twice in 11 seconds (a defender’s stumble retrieving the puck made the second one easier) to make it 5-0.
“There’s a lot of little details, positioning, whether it’s D-zone, neutral zone, wherever on the ice,” said captain Ben Holmstrom, who got in that fight at 3-0.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re focused in and take good care of stuff we need to take care of. We’re struggling to put together a full 60 minutes of consistent effort. That’s on us to be mentally ready for 60 minutes.”
Attendance was 4,474 for “Winter Fun,” a third morning game aimed at school groups.
Bridgeport is 2-7-0-1 in January. It opened a five-game homestand Saturday night with a shootout win over Providence, with Holmstrom’s two goals bringing the Sound Tigers back from two goals down to start the third period.
Monday was a clinker, a 4-1 loss to Hershey without much spark. Wednesday was a different story, if results didn’t follow.
“There was energy. There was pace in our game. There was life. Guys were talking on the bench,” Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson said. “It was definitely a better feel. I felt confident going into the game. I felt confident during the game.”
It took the Penguins 3:38 to score. Joseph Blandisi, the former New Jersey Devil playing his first game for the WBS Penguins after a trade from Anaheim last week, scored off his own blocked shot after he beat two Sound Tigers for the puck on the boards.
Blueger intercepted a Seth Helgeson pass and took it in for the second goal. Haggerty scored coming off the left-wing boards 1:57 into the second period to make it 3-0, and Jeremy Smith replaced Christopher Gibson in Bridgeport’s net.
When Blueger scored on a power play and Haggerty scored again 11 seconds later, Thompson called time out.
What was that talk about?
“It’s not where we want to be, right?” Thompson said with a grin afterward, a grin that was nowhere in sight during the time out. “Put a really good effort in, put pucks and bodies to the net and away we go.”
Chris Casto and Tanner Fritz scored in the next three minutes, but the Penguins made the third period a quiet 20 minutes.
“I hate the result,” Thompson said, “but I like the step that we took.”
The roster, at least, got a little deeper when the New York Islanders sent Devon Toews and Michael Dal Colle back to Bridgeport as they reached their all-star break.
Thompson said it hadn’t yet been discussed if they’ll play Saturday, the one game the Sound Tigers have left before the AHL’s all-star break. Dal Colle and Sebastian Aho will represent Bridgeport at that event, Sunday-Monday in Springfield, Mass.
Jeff Kubiak returned after missing 11 games to injury. Kubiak drew a penalty shot in the first period but missed.
firstname.lastname@example.org; http://twitter.com/fornabaioctp; http://blog.ctnews.com/fornabaio
PENGUINS 5, SOUND TIGERS 2
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton2 3 0—5
Bridgeport0 2 0—2
First Period — 1, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Blandisi 9 (Blueger), 3:38. 2, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Blueger 19, 12:52. Penalties — C.Bourque, Bpt (interference), 3:53; Fritz, Bpt (interference), 5:39; Hayes, WBS (interference), 6:22; Summers, WBS (tripping), 10:33; Ho-Sang, Bpt (holding), 19:11.
Second Period — 3, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Haggerty 7 (Burton, Scarfo), 1:57. 4, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Blueger 20 (Prow, Dea), 6:40 (pp). 5, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Haggerty 8 (Scarfo, Trotman), 6:51. 6, Bridgeport, Casto 3 (Koivula, C.Bourque), 7:34. 7, Bridgeport, Fritz 9 (Aho, C.Bourque), 9:10 (pp). Penalties — Angello, WBS, major (fighting), 3:59; B.Holmstrom, Bpt, major (fighting), 3:59; Fritz, Bpt (cross-checking), 5:32; Trotman, WBS (roughing), 8:32; Trotman, WBS (interference), 10:19; R.Bourque, Bpt (holding), 14:49; St. Denis, Bpt (boarding), 17:04; Helgeson, Bpt (delay of game), 17:07.
Third Period — No scoring. Penalties — Cramarossa, WBS, double minor (tripping, roughing), 19:04; St. Denis, Bpt (cross-checking), 19:04.
Missed penalty shot — Kubiak, Bpt, 4:53 first.
Shots on goal — Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 8-13-6—27. Bridgeport 3-15-9—27.
Power play opportunities — Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 1 of 7, Bridgeport 1 of 5.
Goaltenders — Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Jarry 13-8-3 (27 shots-25 saves). Bridgeport, Gibson 11-8-4 (9-6), Smith (18-16).
Attendance — 4,474. Referees — Tufts, R.Anderson. Linesmen — Marquis, K.Briganti.