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Another win, shutout for Halak in Sound Tigers’ win at Providence

February 11, 2017 GMT

His veteran presence in net has helped the Bridgeport Sound Tigers plenty over the past six weeks. On top of that, Jaroslav Halak has been one of the best goalies in the AHL.

Halak made 42 saves Friday in Bridgeport’s 1-0 win over the Providence Bruins at Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I.

“Obviously he won us the game, plain and simple,” Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson said. “He made the saves over and over again.”

Halak has won eight in a row, one behind the team record that Anders Nilsson set in 2011-12. The Sound Tigers have won 10 out of 11.

The teams meet again Saturday night at 7 in Bridgeport for the Sound Tigers’ “Pink in the Rink” night, promoting breast cancer awareness.

In the Atlantic Division, Bridgeport is four points behind third-place Providence with two games in hand. The Sound Tigers also have two games in hand on Hershey. The Bears, who visit the Sound Tigers on Sunday, have one more point than Bridgeport but are in fifth place on winning percentage.

Providence was credited with half their 42 shots in the third period alone. No Sound Tigers goalie has ever made more saves in a 1-0 win, and Halak’s total was only three shy of Dieter Kochan’s 2005 team record for saves in a shutout.

Halak has played 12 games since the New York Islanders sent him down on Dec. 31. The cutoff to qualify for the AHL’s leaderboard was 900 minutes played; Halak has just over 714. But his 1.99 goals-against average and .933 save percentage are better than the leader’s, San Jose’s Troy Grosenick (2.09 and .931).

“I’m happy with (Halak’s) work ethic, focus. The guys do rally around him,” Thompson said. “We gave up too many Grade-A chances. For me, Jaro got us the win.”

The teams played a 1-0 overtime game in Bridgeport on Jan. 25. Ryan Pulock won that game with 31.4 seconds left in overtime with Halak making 22 saves.

Pulock got the job done a little earlier Friday. Off a neutral-zone faceoff, Josh Ho-Sang and Michael Dal Colle got the puck deep. Ho-Sang had it in the left corner, took his time, found a diagonal seam to Pulock at the right point. Pulock stepped up near the top of the right circle and blasted a slap shot inside the left post.

It was the only one of 25 shots that Malcolm Subban didn’t stop Friday, but it was enough.

Pulock has four goals in the past four games. Bridgeport has won three of those games, and Pulock had the game-winner in each of them.

mfornabaio@ctpost.com; @fornabaioctp

SOUND TIGERS 1, BRUINS 0

BRIDGEPORT0 0 1—1

PROVIDENCE0 0 0—0

First Period — No scoring. Penalties — Heinen, Pro (tripping), :55; Porter, Pro (interference), 8:00; Toews, Bpt (tripping), 14:56; Fritz, Bpt (high-sticking), 17:07.

Second Period — No scoring. Penalties — Winquist, Bpt (holding), 19:19.

Third Period — 1, Bridgeport, Pulock 10 (Ho-Sang, Dal Colle), 14:34. Penalties — Hickman, Pro (tripping), 1:53; Pulock, Bpt (holding stick), 16:42.

Shots on goal — Bridgeport 8-10-7—25. Providence 15-6-21—42.

Power play opportunities — Bridgeport 0 of 3, Providence 0 of 4.

Goaltenders — Bridgeport, Halak 9-1-2 (42 shots-42 saves). Providence, Subban 6-10-5 (25-24).

Attendance — 7,663. Referees — Mullen, Labonte. Linesmen — MacDonald, T.Whittemore.