SOUND TIGERS Sound Tigers fall to Wolf Pack
BRIDGEPORT — If you thought the Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ start wasn’t good enough Saturday night, coach Brent Thompson will quibble a little.
“Start? The whole game. The whole game was garbage,” Thompson said after the Hartford Wolf Pack beat his team 4-2 at Webster Bank Arena.
“I thought it was a disappointing night where we got outworked. That’s not our hockey team. That’s not how we’re made up.”
Hartford dominated the first few shifts, scored an early goal, tacked on by the end of the first period and, when Bridgeport got close in the third, scored a short-handed goal soon after to salt the game away.
“You could say tough travel, but it’s just two games on the weekend,” said Tanner Fritz, who had a couple of points in Friday’s overtime win at Utica and came out with a few early hits Saturday.
“It’s just too slow of a start. We’ve got to be on our toes. The start dictates the game for them. We kind of sat back.”
Bridgeport hadn’t lost a home game in regulation since the home opener on Oct. 13. It went 12-0-2-1 in the 15 home games since.
But though Mitch Vande Sompel snuck a changeup through Marek Mazanec in the second period and Kyle Burroughs beat the goalie through a screen 58 seconds into the third, the Sound Tigers couldn’t get even, and they have one win in their past five.
That’s still good enough for the second-most points in the league, to be sure, 50 points through 40 games. But that’s a couple of times in the past three games that Thompson wasn’t happy with what he got out of his lineup, still missing a handful of injured regulars.
“It’s not every player (who got outworked). It’s unfortunately too many,” Thompson said. “For us to be successful, we need every single player on this team working hard and playing the right way, and I don’t think we got that tonight.”
Attendance was 6,622 on Military Appreciation Night, with a program that honored veterans and active military members.
Bridgeport had a chance to get even with a power play a shift after Burroughs’ goal. A pass missed connection, sending Fontaine up the right wing for a short-handed goal.
The Sound Tigers had another chance late, with back-to-back Wolf Pack penalties handing them a long five-on-three.
The power play finished 0-for-5.
“We moved the puck decent, but I don’t know, playing on the perimeter, not shooting much,” Fritz said.
“Not scoring in a game like that takes the wind out of our sails. The power-play guys, we’ve got to get the job done. It’ll win games or lose games, in this case.”
Bridgeport’s Steve Bernier may face his second suspension of the season after receiving a match penalty for a check to the head with 40 seconds left in the first period. Steven Fogarty didn’t return after the hit.
“I can’t comment on that. I don’t know what their standards are,” said Thompson, whose team plays Tuesday and Wednesday at first-place Charlotte.
“Physical game: I’d like to see more physical play. We’ll have to see what the league decides.”
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WOLF PACK 4, SOUND TIGERS 2
Hartford2 1 1—4
Bridgeport0 1 1—2
First Period — 1, Hartford, Holland 15 (Beleskey), 3:35. 2, Hartford, Gettinger 9 (Andersson, Butler), 16:58. Penalties — Butler, Hfd (hooking), 3:47; Bernier, Bpt, match penalty (check to head), 19:20; Gilmour, Hfd (tripping), 20:00.
Second Period — 3, Hartford, Gropp 3 (Fontaine), 10:06. 4, Bridgeport, Vande Sompel 6 (Fritz, C.Bourque), 11:41. Penalties — Eansor, Bpt (hooking), 7:00; St. Denis, Bpt (cross-checking), 16:50.
Third Period — 5, Bridgeport, Burroughs 2 (St. Denis, Wotherspoon), :58. 6, Hartford, Fontaine 6, 2:43 (sh). Penalties — Lindgren, Hfd (holding), 1:30; Eansor, Bpt (holding), 4:07; Bigras, Hfd (hooking), 6:23; Bigras, Hfd (cross-checking), 14:49; St. Denis, Bpt (slashing), 14:49; Lettieri, Hfd (holding), 16:15; O’Gara, Hfd (delay of game), 16:18.
Shots on goal — Hartford 10-10-9—29. Bridgeport 5-8-11—24.
Power play opportunities — Hartford 0 of 5, Bridgeport 0 of 5.
Goaltenders — Hartford, Mazanec 7-6-2 (24 shots-22 saves). Bridgeport, Smith 12-7-2 (29-25).
Attendance — 6,622. Referees — Deckard, M.Dunning. Linesmen — T.Baker, Kiriakos.