Sound Tigers - A Weekend Of Promise

 

It was another difficult weekend for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers but a weekend that gives the team and its fans hope. A weekend where the team faced two division leaders both fighting for conference Championship honors while the Tigers would just like to be invited to the dance.

Friday the team traveled to Providence to face the Northeast division leading Bruins giving goalie Kenny Reiter a chance for his first win of the season. Reiter has been ‘snake-bit’ in his starts, earning stars for his efforts but ‘L’s’ in the only column that counts’ due in large part to a lack of scoring and Friday would be more of the same.

Though outshot 22 to 13 after two periods Reiter brought the Tigers to the locker room down by only one goal. Eight minutes and forty-four seconds into the final period the hard pressing Tigers tied the game when Sean Wiles, leading a power play with assists by Jon Landry and Matt Donovan, scored his first professional goal in his first game as a pro.

Two minutes later the Bruins answered with a power-play goal of their own with Ty Wishart sitting for the frequent injury causing ‘delay-of-game’ penalty. The Bruins finished the scoring at 3-1 with an empty-netter but not before Tigers captain Matt Watkins came inches away from forcing overtime as reported by Mike Fornabaio here. Another star, another ‘L’ for Reiter and another opportunity missed by the Sound Tigers.

Saturday evening the Bridgeport team returned home to the Webster Bank Arena to face their own Atlantic division leaders, the Springfield Falcons, and Reiter was given another opportunity in the net. The Tigers gave up “A short-handed goal, a power-play goal and one breakdown off a faceoff.” is how HC Scott Pellerin described the teams 3-0 deficit in his post game report per CT Post’s Fornabaio, but they fought back.

Matt Donovan, with his family here to see the game while vacationing in New Hampshire, put the Sound Tigers on the board with thirty seconds left in the middle period and neither he nor the team was finished. Donovan would score again 9 mins. and 32 secs. into the third period off a beauty of a feed from Johan Sundstrom for his eleventh goal of the season making him sixth in scoring among active AHL D-men (11g-23a-34pts.).

Less than a minute later Brock Nelson found the back of the net with a beauty of a snap-shot off a perfect feed from Jon Landry, game tied at three each. (For a photo of Nelson's shot and other Tiger pics visit/like my page.)


Neither Falcon’s goalie Curtis McElhinney (with nine shut outs already this season) nor Ken Reiter (with a regulation time shut out/loss in OT vs. Hershey on 3/16) allowed a goal over the last ten minutes of regulation and each was perfect in extended play. Reiter and the Tigers would lose the game in what Fornabaio calls the ‘skills competition’ or the ‘shoot-out’, a bad idea that the AHL extends to five rounds, but not without providing Sound Tiger fans a highlight.

In his first game as a professional, newly acquired Joey Diamond -  University of Maine - made a shoot-out move against McElhinney that left the talented goalies lingerie lying on the wrong side of the crease and the puck at the back of the net. The move also brought one of the loudest cheers of the night enhanced no doubt by a group of Diamond’s friends/classmates from Maine  who had made the trip south to see his professional debut.

There is still Sunday's game to report on and that will be coming on Wednesday. Go Tigers!!

 

-Mike Flannery

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