SOUND TIGERS Sound Tigers fire back after early deficit
BRIDGEPORT — The message, two goals down early Wednesday morning, was simple to Bridgeport Sound Tigers coach Brent Thompson.
“We got this,” he said. “There’s a lot of game left. With the group we have, we’re never out of a hockey game.”
When that group is clicking like it has been the past three games, that’s the truth. The Sound Tigers came back to beat the Binghamton Devils 7-3 at Webster Bank Arena, scoring 20 goals over a three-game winning streak.
“We had some bounces go against us. Once we got our first one, we were back on the forecheck,” said Jeff Kubiak, who had his first two-point game in the AHL.
“There’s a lot of game left. The message was keep your foot on the gas and keep shooting the puck, because there’s a lot of rebounds.”
Kubiak and Otto Koivula each had a goal and an assist as Bridgeport, down 2-0 11:32 into the game, took a lead before the first intermission.
Koivula scored for the second game in a row off a Sebastian Aho pass after linemate Stephen Gionta drew a penalty. Travis St. Denis’ power-play goal tied it with 51.4 seconds left in the first, and Kubiak scored off Koivula’s pass with 24.9 seconds left after Gionta and Koivula won the puck behind the net.
“You’ve got a reliable guy like Gio,” Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson said about that line. “Kubiak’s a smart defensive player that has a really good stick and uses his body very well, and Koivula thinks the game really well. He created a lot of offensive chances with little subtle puck plays, little plays where he puts the puck in scoring areas, and the other guys responded.”
Koivula had earlier set up Kubiak in front with a nifty backhand pass, but Eddie Lack stopped him.
“I think I’m improving every game,” Koivula said. “It’s easy to play with Kubiak, he’s a good centerman, and with Gio, of course.”
None of it may have mattered had Jeremy Smith not made a huge save on a two-on-one on Brandon Baddock, keeping it 2-0 Devils.
“It was a good chance. In my head, I’m thinking they cannot score,” Smith said. “I did everything I could to stop it.”
Smith left the game briefly after taking a shot to the forehead, denting his helmet and giving him a cut above his right eye. He returned from the dressing room after a few minutes with his other mask.
Attendance was 7,808 for the 16th-annual “Cool Fun 101,” geared toward school groups. The Sound Tigers have two other morning games scheduled.
At first, it looked like the Devils were up earlier: Nick Lappin tipped in Colton White’s shot on a power play midway through the first, and John Quenneville scored short-handed less than two minutes later after forcing a turnover.
But then Bridgeport’s high-octane offense got going. After an 8-5 win Sunday over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, this is the first time in the team’s 18 seasons it has scored seven or more in regulation twice in a row.
Chris Bourque had a goal and two assists, giving him 699 career AHL points. St. Denis scored again in the third period after Bourque forced a turnover. Kieffer Bellows scored a power-play goal, giving him three goals in the past two games. And Michael Dal Colle scored his seventh with 8:13 to go on a five-on-three.
Josh Ho-Sang had two assists, giving him 10 points over four games, with at least two points in each.
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SOUND TIGERS 7, DEVILS 3
Binghamton2 0 1—3
Bridgeport3 1 3—7
First Period — 1, Binghamton, Lappin 7 (White, Zacha), 9:47 (pp). 2, Binghamton, Quenneville 1 (Pietila), 11:32 (sh). 3, Bridgeport, Koivula 2 (Aho, Kubiak), 15:56 (ea). 4, Bridgeport, St. Denis 4 (Bernier, Ho-Sang), 19:08 (pp). 5, Bridgeport, Kubiak 1 (Koivula, Gionta), 19:28. Penalties — McLeod, Alb (roughing), 5:22; Wotherspoon, Bpt (interference), 8:18; Speers, Alb (tripping), 9:50; Ramage, Alb (interference), 18:00.
Second Period — 6, Bridgeport, C.Bourque 3 (Toews, Fritz), 9:56 (pp). Penalties — Aho, Bpt (hooking), 6:01; Lappin, Bin (tripping), 9:49; Burroughs, Bpt (hooking), 12:03; Pietila, Bin (slashing), 14:57; Baddock, Bin (roughing), 18:03; McLeod, Bin (roughing), 18:03; Bastian, Bin, minor-major-misconduct (instigating, fighting), 18:03; Helgeson, Bpt (roughing), 18:03; Kubiak, Bpt (roughing), 18:03; Burroughs, Bpt, major (fighting), 18:03.
Third Period — 7, Bridgeport, Bellows 4 (C.Bourque, Toews), 3:26 (pp). 8, Bridgeport, St. Denis 5, 6:00. 9, Bridgeport, Dal Colle 7 (C.Bourque, Ho-Sang), 11:47 (pp). 10, Binghamton, Gignac 2 (Zacha), 18:53. Penalties — Quenneville, Alb (high-sticking), 3:17; Burroughs, Bpt (slashing), 8:43; Binghamton bench, served Studenic (too many men), 10:05; Gryba, Bin (boarding), 10:50; Ho-Sang, Bpt (slashing), 14:18; Baddock, Bin (slashing), 16:48.
Shots on goal — Binghamton 6-7-7—20. Bridgeport 15-14-9—38.
Power play opportunities — Binghamton 1 of 5, Bridgeport 4 of 10.
Goaltenders — Binghamton, Lack 1-1-0 (33 shots-27 saves), Blackwood (6:14 third, 5-4). Bridgeport, Smith 3-2-1 (20-17), Gibson (9:26 third, 0-0), Smith (re-entered 10:50 third).
Attendance — 7,808. Referees — Deckard, Sewell. Linesmen — K.Briganti, N.Briganti.