Bridgeport broke their eight game winless streak, and in style, I must add, with a 7-2 victory against Syracuse Crunch on December 9. Are the strong Sound Tigers team from early in the season finally back in action? Let’s take a look at the past two weeks and find out.
On Wednesday, December 5, Bridgeport faced off against the Connecticut Whale for the fourth time this season. Before Wednesday’s game, Bridgeport led the overall series against the Whale 2-1, but Connecticut was able to pull out a 4-2 win and tie up the series. Down by one goal after Kelsey Tessier put one past goalie Anders Nilsson in the opening period, Bridgeport’s Colin McDonald slid a pass to Defenseman Jon Landry who scored to tie the game 1-1. Again down in the second after a goal by Brandon Segal, John Persson scored for the Sound Tigers to even the score 2-2, but J.T. Miller’s two goals in the third period solidified a win for the Whale. By the end of regulation, the Sound Tigers found themselves adding another game to their winless streak.
On Saturday, December 8, Bridgeport extended their winless streak to eight games as they lost to the Albany Devils 1-3. Albany went up 3-0 before Sound Tigers’ Niedereitter scored in the final period to prevent the shutout. Both the Albany goaltender and Sound Tigers’ goaltender recorded 22 saves, but the Devils outshot the Sound Tigers 25-22.
The winless streak was broken with a 7-2 win over the second place team in the Eastern Conference! On Sunday, December 9, Bridgeport faced off against Syracuse Crunch. Throughout the game, Bridgeport was still being called for reckless penalties, but there was evidence of an improved penalty kill as Syracuse went 0-5 on the power play. Casey Cizikas was the first to record a goal and give the Sound Tigers an early lead after intercepting a pass and creating his own scoring opportunity. Landry was the next to score off an assist from McDonald. The Sound Tigers went up 3-0 with a Sundstrom rebound off a Persson shot. The second period saw even more production with McDonald, Brock Nelson, and Persson scoring for the Sound Tigers. The Crunch’s Alex Killorn and J.T. Brown scored only a minute apart in the second, but Nilsson didn’t let any other shots find the back of the net, and he came up with some spectacular saves throughout the game. In the final period, McDonald scored his second goal of the game to project his team to a 7-2 victory. Like the final season of Jersey Shore, winless streaks too must come to an end…what a relief!
Watch the end to Bridgeport’s winless streak against Syracuse:
The next three games were nail-biting for fans as the Sound Tigers found themselves in two overtimes and one shoot out. Portland defeated the Sound Tigers in overtime 2-1 on Tuesday, December 11. There was little offense from both teams through two periods. Early in the third period, Portland’s Alexandre Bolduc scored on a power play, but the Sound Tigers fought hard to score their own power play goal a few minutes later (by Niedereitter). Unfortunately, in overtime, Portland’s David Rundbland fired a shot past Nilsson to win the game.
The Sound Tigers split games with the Norfolk Admirals Friday, December 14 and Saturday, December 15. On Friday, the Sound Tigers jumped to an early 1-0 lead with a power play goal by Persson. Norfolk responded quickly to tie the game up in the first period with a goal in traffic by Devante Smith-Pelly. An early wraparound goal by Nelson in the second put Bridgeport ahead 2-1, but Peter Holland scored a power play goal off a deflection to tie the game 2-2. Ty Wishart scored for Bridgeport in the final period, but Norfolk’s Pat Maroon tied the game with only a few minutes left in regulation. Just as in regulation, the teams were trading off penalty and power play opportunities in overtime. Seconds in, the Sound Tigers went on the power play, but Niederreiter’s tripping penalty offset the man advantage. Cizikas was able to find a scoring opportunity anyways and helped his team to an exciting win.
On Saturday, the Sound Tigers again took an early lead against the Admirals with Niedereitter scoring on the power play. Persson added to the lead in the second period when he fired and netted a shot assisted by Sundstrom. The Admirals tied the score with a goal at the end of the second by John Kurtz and midway through the third by Smith-Pelly to bring the game into overtime, where both teams failed to clinch the victory. In the shootout, it took eight rounds for the Admirals to snatch the win.
Even with an eight game winless streak, The Sound Tigers hold tight to the second spot in the Northeast Division behind the Springfield Falcons, and quite comfortably too. They are currently in eighth in the Eastern Conference.
Persson’s performance has been more than impressive this season. In the past two weeks alone, he scored a goal against the Whale, recorded a goal and an assist against the Crunch, and scored goals in each of the two games against Norfolk. His aggressive play puts him in positions to score and he gets great opportunities playing on a line with Ullstrom and Sundstrom. Persson has 14 points for the Sound Tigers (nine goals and five assists).
Landry wore an “A” for the first time this season against the Connecticut Whale when Travis Hamonic didn’t play. He represented accordingly, scoring a big goal even though his team couldn’t pull of a win. He also scored against the Crunch. At 29, he is the oldest player on the Sound Tigers’ roster, but his energy level is just as high as the youngsters.
Best Moment of the Week: McDonald Named Captain
Colin McDonald was named Captain of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. According to the team’s Head Coach, Scott Pellerin, “McDonald has a high level of professionalism that he brings to the rink every day, from his work ethic on and off the ice to his understanding of the game” (www.soundtigers.com). In his first home game serving as Captain, he scored two goals and recorded two assists to lead his team out of a winless streak and defeat a top contender in the Eastern Conference. McDonald leads his team with 16 assists and is one of the top contributors with 20 points. His solid, consistent play is essential for the Sound Tigers and it’s a no-brainer why he was selected Captain.
Worst Moment of the Week: Extending an Eight Game Winless Streak
Eight games in a row? That’s quite the compilation of losses, especially for a team that hadn’t lost two straight games before November 21. Let’s not dwell on the negative, though. Like a bad breakup, the Sound Tigers need to throw away the tissues and empty ice cream containers and move on! They are still a top team in their division with about 2/3 of their season still to play.