A pair of late third-period goals by Anders Lee gave the Bridgeport Sound Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Wolf Pack Friday night at the XL Center.
Lee tied the game at three on a Bridgeport power play at 17:35 of the third period, after Marek Hrivik had given the Wolf Pack a 3-2 advantage with a man-advantage goal with 4:52 remaining. Lee then struck again for the game-winner with 30.2 seconds on the clock.
Ryan Bourque and Justin Vaive also scored for the Wolf Pack, and Brett Gallant and Joel Broda had the other Bridgeport goals.
“We had opportunities to kill penalties, instead we got outworked and they stripped us from behind,” Wolf Pack coach Ken Gernander said.
With the score tied 2-2 and Bridgeport’s Joe Finley in the penalty box for boarding, Hrivik spun into the left-wing circle and fired a shot that hit Sound Tiger defenseman Scott Mayfield’s leg and deflected past Bridgeport netminder Anders Nilsson at 15:08 of the third.
Wolf Pack captain Aaron Johnson took an interference minor at 16:12, though, and Bridgeport capitalized for its second power-play goal of the game. Ryan Strome fed a pass from along the goal line on the left-wing side to Lee at the left side of the slot, and Lee drilled a hard shot past Wolf Pack goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris (22 saves) at 17:35.
Then, with the game appearing headed for overtime, Lee took a pass from Mike Halmo, rushed down right wing and attempted to center the puck. The Wolf Pack’s Dylan McIlrath blocked the pass, but the puck came back to Lee near the goal line, and he batted it off of Grumet-Morris’ left pad and into the net for the winner.
The Wolf Pack controlled most of the territorial play in the first period, outshooting Bridgeport 16-7, but the Sound Tigers led for most of the session, after Gallant scored his first goal in 38 games on the season at 3:12.
The Wolf Pack misfired on an attempted breakout on the left-wing side, and Bridgeport’s Chris Langkow fed the puck to Gallant, who was all alone in front of Grumet-Morris. Gallant waited Grumet-Morris out, before putting a forehand shot into the net.
That lead lasted until there were only 2.3 seconds remaining in the period, when Bourque scored his 14th goal of the season and his fourth in the last four games. Nilsson stopped an initial try by Bourque, but a Sound Tiger clearing try up the middle ended up right back on Bourque’s stick, and Bourque snapped it past Nilsson’s catching glove.
After that last-second goal in the first period, the Wolf Pack got the game’s next score with only 2:02 remaining in the second. It was Vaive scoring his first goal in 14 games since joining the Wolf Pack, to give Hartford its first lead. Kyle Beach worked the puck out of the left-wing corner to the opposite point to Bretton Stamler, whose shot went wide. Vaive got his stick on the carom, though, to Nilsson’s left and knifed it into the net.
The Sound Tigers were able to tie the score at 6:22 of the third period on a power-play goal by Broda, playing his first game in a Bridgeport uniform after joining the Sound Tigers on Wednesday. Strome passed across the slot from the left side to Broda, and he was able to send the puck between Grumet-Morris and the post to his left.
The Wolf Pack are right back in action Saturday night, traveling to Springfield to meet the Falcons for a 7:00 PM game. All of the action of that battle can be heard live on Fox Sports Radio 1410, and on-line at www.foxsportsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.
The Wolf Pack’s next home game is Friday, February 28, a 7:00 PM contest against the Hershey Bears. All Wolf Pack Friday-night home games feature $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period, presented by Marc’s Appliance Warehouse, located at 75 Prospect Ave., Hartford, CT.
Tickets for all Wolf Pack 2013-14 home games are on sale now at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. Wolf Pack tickets start as low as $12 for youth 12 years old or younger. To speak with a representative about season or group tickets, call (855) 762-6451.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers 4 at Hartford Wolf Pack 3
Friday, February 21, 2014 - XL Center
Bridgeport 1 0 3 - 4
Hartford 1 1 1 - 3
1st Period-1, Bridgeport, Gallant 1 (Langkow), 3:12. 2, Hartford, Bourque 14 (Fast), 19:57. Penalties-Clark Bri (holding), 8:09; Lee Bri (interference), 16:41.
2nd Period-3, Hartford, Vaive 1 (Stamler, Beach), 17:58. Penalties-Strome Bri (slashing), 7:09; Miller Hfd (slashing), 9:03; Strome Bri (cross-checking), 19:12.
3rd Period-4, Bridgeport, Broda 2 (Strome, Pistilli), 6:22 (PP). 5, Hartford, Hrivik 8 (Hensick, Johnson), 15:08 (PP). 6, Bridgeport, Lee 20 (Strome, Donovan), 17:35 (PP). 7, Bridgeport, Lee 21 (Halmo, Finley), 19:29. Penalties-Bourque Hfd (hooking), 4:36; Finley Bri (roughing), 9:54; Finley Bri (boarding), 13:54; Johnson Hfd (interference), 16:12.
Shots on Goal-Bridgeport 7-10-9-26. Hartford 16-9-8-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Bridgeport 2 / 3; Hartford 1 / 6.
Goalies-Bridgeport, Nilsson 10-14-2 (33 shots-30 saves). Hartford, Grumet-Morris 8-11-5 (26 shots-22 saves).
Referees-Dave Lewis (46).
Linesmen-Jim Briggs (83), Kevin Redding (16).