Sound Tigers falter in third against Checkers
Back-to-back Bridgeport Sound Tigers penalties turned into back-to-back Charlotte Checkers goals, the difference in the teams’ last game before the AHL’s Christmas break.
Nicolas Roy and Morgan Geekie scored power-play goals 28 seconds apart in the third period, breaking a scoreless deadlock as the Checkers beat Bridgeport 3-1 Saturday at Bojangles’ Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C.
The Sound Tigers are 18-9-4-1, seven points behind the first-place Checkers in the Atlantic Division. They disperse from Charlotte for a four-day Christmas break, returning Thursday to face Hartford at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.
In a scoreless game in the third period, Bridgeport’s Chris Bourque was called for slashing, and on the penalty kill, Sound Tigers defenseman Seth Helgeson also received a slashing minor when his whack broke Roy’s stick in front of the net.
Roy scored on a rebound after Bridgeport blocked no fewer than three shots on the five-on-three. Then Geekie dragged the puck off the right-wing boards to make it 2-0.
Andrew Poturalski’s empty-netter finished it off for Charlotte, a bit of revenge after Bridgeport beat the Checkers 6-1 on Friday.
Scott Eansor scored for the second night in a row for the Sound Tigers, taking Chris Casto’s lead pass into the zone a step ahead of the defense and going around goalie Alex Nedeljkovic’s left skate to backhand it in with 6:50 left, cutting the lead to 2-1.
Bridgeport goalie Christopher Gibson was credited with the second assist on that goal, his third of the season (only Rick DiPietro had more in a Bridgeport season, four in 2002-03) and his fifth in all for Bridgeport (again, the only Sound Tigers goalie with more is DiPietro, seven).
Gibson, despite 26 saves, took the loss, his first in regulation since Oct. 28. He had been 6-0-3 in nine AHL starts since.
Nedeljkovic made 27 saves in his 15th win.
Tanner Fritz returned to Bridgeport’s lineup after missing three games with a lower-body injury.
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CHECKERS 3, SOUND TIGERS 1
Bridgeport0 0 1—1
Charlotte0 0 3—3
First Period — No scoring. Penalties — Dal Colle, Bpt (tripping), :42; McKegg, Cha (slashing), 3:57; Renouf, Cha (high-sticking), 15:58.
Second Period — No scoring. Penalties — Aho, Bpt (holding), 4:10; Bernier, Bpt (delay of game), 12:46.
Third Period — 1, Charlotte, Roy 10 (Poturalski, Carrick), 8:58 (pp). 2, Charlotte, Geekie 8 (Saarela, Gauthier), 9:26 (pp). 3, Bridgeport, Eansor 3 (Casto, Gibson), 13:10. 4, Charlotte, Poturalski 12 (Saarela), 19:08 (en). Penalties — Robertson, Cha (tripping), 2:07; C.Bourque, Bpt (slashing), 7:13; Helgeson, Bpt (slashing), 7:55.
Shots on goal — Bridgeport 10-7-11—28. Charlotte 10-9-10—29.
Power play opportunities — Bridgeport 0 of 3, Charlotte 2 of 5.
Goaltenders — Bridgeport, Gibson 9-4-4 (28 shots-26 saves). Charlotte, Nedeljkovic 15-4-2 (28-27).
Attendance — 7,749. Referees — Faist, Fernandez. Linesmen — D’Loughy, Senger.