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Sound Tigers Stop First-Place Manchester

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Nick Larson broke a 2-2 tie late in the third period to lead the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to a 3-2 victory over the Manchester Monarchs before 3,334 fans at the Webster Bank Arena on Sunday afternoon.

The early part of the game saw plenty of action—but no scoring. Bridgeport enjoyed a 5-on-3 power play for 1:30 early in the first period, but could not capitalize on the opportunity. As soon as that shift was over, Manchester's Scott Sabourin was sent to the box for hooking giving the Sound Tigers another power play—but with :41 left on Sabourin's penalty, Bridgeport's Sean Wiles was called for high sticking and sent to the box for two minutes, negating the Sound Tigers' advantage.

Neither team scored in the resulting 4-on-4 that lasted for about half a minute, and Manchester could not capitalize on their only man-advantage shift of the period, one that lasted about 1:20, although Jordan Weal did hit the crossbar.

With about 7 minutes left in the period, Sean Wiles found himself in the crease and tried to put it past Manchest goalie J.F. Berube, who would have no such thing. Berube poked the puck away from Wiles ending the threat.

Manchester had one more excellent chance in the opening period when Greenwich native Sean Backman found himself alone in front of the crease and tried to wrist one past Bridgeport goalie Kenny Reiter, who stopped the former Sound Tiger cold.

For the period, Bridgeport out-shot Manchester 11-8.

Bridgeport finally broke the ice when Mike Halmo fired a one-timer past Berube from just inside the left circle 7:57 into the middle frame. It was Halmo's eighth goal of the season, and it was unassisted. Manchester returned the favor about seven minutes later when A.J. Gale sent a one-timer past Reiter with his first goal of the season with 5:31 remaining in the period. Robert Czarnik and Derek Forbort picked up helpers on Gale's first goal of the season.

Manchester re-took the lead early in the third period when, after Vincent Leverde's shot was stopped by Reiter, Andy Andreoff tried to sneak a rebound through the five hole but was stopped by Reiter. The rebound, however, came right back to Andreoff who this time snuck it past Reiter to give the Monarchs a 2-1 lead at the 3:12 mark.

Bridgeport came right back when Ryan Strom found the back of the net a buck 21 later. Anders Lee and Dallas Jackson picked up assists on Strom's seventh marker of the campaign, knotting the score at two goals apiece.

Nick Larson put the Sound Tigers ahead—for good—when he took a pass from Halmo from behind the net and sent a backhander from just inside the right face-off circle that beat Berube and put Bridgeport up 3-2 with six minutes left in regulation.

Things got interesting when, with 3:37 remaining in regulation, Chris Langkow was sent to the penalty box for goaltender interference. The Monarchs had an excellent chance to tie it when Andrew Bodnarchuk fired one at Reiter, but the Bridgeport goalie was up to the task and turned it away as the Sound Tigers hung on for a well-deserved victory.

Neither team was successful on the power play—each team was 0-for-5 with the man advantage. Reiter, who started all three games over the weekend and earned his third win of the season on Sunday, stopped 29 of the 31 shots on net taken by the Monarchs. Berube turned aside 29 of 32 Bridgeport shots between the Manchester pipes.

With the win, the Sound Tigers improve to 6-10-1-3, while the Atlantic Division-leading Monarchs, who have the second-best record in the AHL, fall to 15-4-1-3. The Sound Tigers now head to upstate New York for a two-game swing through the area. First stop will Glens Falls, NY, where they will take on the Adirondak Phantoms on Wednesday night. Then the Tigers will head to Utica to play the Comets. Bridgeport returns home Saturday night when they will entertain the Hershey Bears. First puck drops at 7:05 at the Webster Bank Arena.

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