ahl: sound tigers at phantoms Sound Tigers win 7th straight
Whatever the final score, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers played an effective road game Sunday in Allentown, Pa., to keep their roll going in the last quarter of their season.
Steve Bernier and Matt Lorito scored, Lorito added an empty-netter (eventually) and Jeremy Smith made 24 saves in the Sound Tigers’ 3-1 win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at PPL Center. It was their seventh win in a row, two shy of the team record.
They are 9-0-1-0 in the past 10, the sixth-longest single-season streak without a regulation loss in the team’s 18 seasons.
It wasn’t clear immediately if Lorito’s empty-netter, just before the buzzer, was going to count. The goal went up on the scoreboard, then came off. It was added to the scoresheet online about 15 minutes after the game.
With 16 games remaining, Bridgeport is six points behind first-place Charlotte (the Checkers have a game in hand) and nine ahead of third-place Hershey (the Bears have two games in hand).
Smith, playing his first game since signing an NHL contract for the rest of the year last weekend, came a minute away from his first shutout in 86 games. Mike Vecchione tucked in a loose puck in the crease on a power play to break it up.
But the Sound Tigers had limited the Phantoms’ chances, if they took a few too many penalties against a team playing its third game in three days.
Chris Casto jumped on a broken play in the neutral zone midway through the second period. He carried the puck into the Phantoms’ end and dropped off a pass for Bernier to convert, beating former Yale goalie Alex Lyon to the glove side to open the scoring.
It was Bernier’s 20th goal, reaching the milestone for the second year in a row. Bridgeport has had at least one 20-goal scorer in each of its 18 seasons in the AHL.
Lorito scored on a two-on-one early in the third, he and Tanner Fritz sent out of the Bridgeport zone by a Ben Holmstrom backhand pass.
SOUND TIGERS 3, PHANTOMS 1
Bridgeport0 1 2—3
Lehigh Valley0 0 1—1
First Period — No scoring. Penalties — C.Bourque, Bpt (slashing), 16:05.
Second Period — 1, Bridgeport, Bernier 1 (Casto), 10:27. Penalties — Ho-Sang, Bpt (hooking), :26; Froese, LV (tripping), 2:13; Burroughs, Bpt (interference), 6:43; Schlemko, LV (hooking), 11:38; Bellows, Bpt, double minor (interference, roughing), 15:13; Vorobyev, LV (roughing), 15:13.
Third Period — 2, Bridgeport, Lorito 3 (Fritz, B.Holmstrom), 2:02. 3, Lehigh Valley, Vecchione 13 (Froese, Carey), 19:02 (pp-ea). 4, Bridgeport, Lorito 4 (Fritz, C.Bourque), 19:59 (en). Penalties — Carey, LV (holding), 4:02; Fritz, Bpt (interference), 8:21; Bridgeport bench, served Ho-Sang (delay of game-faceoff violation), 8:21; Friedman, LV (high-sticking), 13:23; Bailey, LV (delay of game), 15:21; Helgeson, Bpt (cross-checking), 18:21; Froese, LV (roughing), 20:00.
Shots on goal — Bridgeport 7-6-8—21. Lehigh Valley 11-5-9—25.
Power play opportunities — Bridgeport 0 of 5, Lehigh Valley 1 of 7.
Goaltenders — Bridgeport, Smith 17-9-3 (25 shots-24 saves). Lehigh Valley, Lyon 11-13-2 (20-18).
Attendance — 8,033. Referees — Duco, Menniti. Linesmen — Knapp, B.Lyons.