Bridgeport scored twice within a half minute late in the first period, and that ultimately proved to hold up as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers defeated the Providence Bruins, 2-1, before 6,307 fans at the Webster Bank Arena on Sunday.
The Bruins got on the board first with a power play goal less than three minutes into the contest. After Sound Tigers' goaltender Kenny Reiter initially stopped a shot by Providence's Tommy Cross, a native of Simsbury, the puck was deflected back to the slot where Justin Florek banged it home to give Providence a 1-0 lead at 2:34.
And that would prove to be all the offense the Bruins could muster all afternoon.
The Sound Tigers knotted the score when Mike Halmo found Anders Lee in the neutral zone. Lee drove toward the net from and beat Providence netminder Malcom Subban from the right side to tie the score at 1-1 at the 17:35 mark. Halmo and Ryan Strome picked up helpers on Lee's team-leading 22nd goal of the campaign.
On the very next shift, Bridgeport's Matthew Pistilli picked Bruins defenseman Blake Parlett's pocket in back of the net and sent a perfect centering pass to Joel Broda who deflected the puck off a Providence defenseman and past Subban to make it 2-1 Sound Tigers with 1:59 remaining in the opening stanza. Reiter stopped 20 of the 21 shots that Providence took at him in the first period.
After a scoreless second stanza, the P-Bruins mounted a relentless offensive effort in the second half of the third period. Indeed, over the last 10 minutes of the game, the Bruins outshot the Sound Tigers 16-3. But Reiter ultimately prove to be impenetrable—particularly in the final minute of the game.
With 30 seconds left in regulation, Joe Finley was called for boarding. Providence immediately pulled Subban for an extra skater, giving the Bruins a 6-on-4 advantage. The Bruins then peppered the Bridgeport goal with shot after shot, but Reiter came up big, turning everything thrown at him aside, as the Sound Tigers came away with a hard-fought victory.
With the win—the Sound Tigers' sixth straight and eighth in their last 10 games—Bridgeport improves to 25-24-1-4, in third place in the AHL's Northeast Division. More importantly, the Tigers moved within 11 points of Norfolk for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Sound Tigers now head up to Providence where they will take on the Bruins Friday night at the Dunkin' Donuts Center before returning home on Saturday night for a date with the Worcester Sharks. Face-off is slated for 7 p.m. On Sunday, Bridgeport will again be home, and will entertain the Utica Comets. First puck drops at 3 p.m. Tickets are available from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Arena box office, via Ticketmaster, or by calling 1-800-745-3000.
Group tickets discounted in blocks of 20 or more, are also available. For more information, click HERE or call 1-203-GOAL.