Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sound Tigers clip punchless Phantoms on short-handed goal

Philadelphia, PA --Chris Langkow netted the tying tally and Aaron Ness provided the game-deciding score near the middle point of the third period, sending the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to a 3-2 victory over the skidding Adirondack Phantoms, who have won just twice in their last 16 games.

Chris VandeVelde converted a nifty cross-ice feed in tight from Jason Akeson, giving the Phantoms a 2-1 edge during a 5-on-4 power play at the 1:35 mark of the third period, but it was all undone on the next shift.

Scooter Vaughn swept up a puck at center ice and raced up ice, waiting until Carsen Chubak bit before sliding a pass across to Langkow for the easy tap-in and tie game only 18 seconds later.

Bridgeport then went up 3-2 just after the midway point of the frame. Breaking up the right wing in an odd-man rush, Andrew Clark dished across to Ness on the left wing for a low shot which crossed up Chubak and slid through him.

"We respond well when we get scored on," Ness said. "We're going to win a lot of games if we can do that, kill a lot of momentum for other teams."

Seconds after denying Ryan Strome at the left post with the splits, Chubak and his club faced a short-handed situation. With four seconds left on a roughing minor to Rob Bordson, Vaughn was sent off for tripping but Adirondack's 1:56 on the advantage from there passed uneventfully.

Chubak was sent to the bench for an extra skater with 1:03 to play, and what was left of the crowd implored their home team to shoot the puck while taking time to set up their 6-on-5 situation.

That patience backfired, and Terry Murray's club extended its season-worst misery to eight straight games without a win.

Chubak suffered his first American Hockey League defeat despite stopping 26 shots, while Anders Nilsson came up with 26 saves in a winning effort.

"We've been getting good goaltending, no matter who's in net," Bridgeport head coach Scott Pellerin said. "Defensively, guys are really solidifying our defensive habits. We've gotten production with more versatility throughout our lineup." 

The Phantoms, who have suffered through a season-long scoring drought, wasted back-to-back power plays in the first half of the first period with a three-second 5-on-3 overlap. Bruno Gervais' slapper from the point was the toughest chance for Nilsson to stop through a screen.

Bridgeport waited for things to settle and netted the game's first goal, when Joel Broda chased down a dump to the right of Chubak and fed into the slot for a one-timer by Sundstrom at 11:13. Strome and Matt Donovan worked an identical play almost two minutes later, but Chubak was wise to it and slid across in time to stop the shot.

Sound Tigers enforcer Brett Gallant took on Brandon Manning with 3.3 seconds left in the first, avenging his teammate Anders Lee, who lost a lopsided bout at the 28-second mark. Unfortunately for him and his club, the Phantoms made out with a four-minute power play after Gallant was hit with a minor for high sticking, two more for instigation, five for fighting, a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct.

Adirondack played largely without a pulse during the advantage, and it was eventually erased 3:14 in when Tye McGinn, who missed a tip attempt at a half-open net, was sent off for interference.

The hosts eventually gained equilibrium at 6:40 when Cousins chased down a Brandon Alderson pass along the right wing, used him as a decoy and froze Nilsson enough that he couldn't squeeze the crook of his arm enough to stop the shot from getting through.

That was the final red light on Saturday night for the Phantoms, who have been held under three goals in a game a whopping 28 times in 52 outings.

Notes: Bridgeport has won all four of its games this season against Adirondack in regulation ... Bordson, Ben Holmstrom and Petr Straka all picked up a game-worst minus-3 rating ... The home team were without the services of goalie Cal Heeter, forward Kris Newbury and defenseman Zack FitzGerald, all still serving suspensions handed down earlier this week for their roles in a line brawl last Sunday at Portland ... Defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon was lost again indefinitely due to post-concussion syndrome ...Attendance was announced as 17, 585 but appeared to be not too far north of 10,000 ... The Phantoms are off until next Friday, when they travel to Utica to take on the Comets, whose team president is former Flyers goaltender Robert Esche. 

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