ahl Tigers fall again to Americans
BRIDGEPORT — It’s two periods of hockey early in a long season, could be two random 10-minute data points, and as Bridgeport Sound Tigers coach Brent Thompson pointed out twice, what happened in those two periods is a credit to the Rochester Americans, too.
But twice this weekend, in the second period Saturday and the third Sunday at Webster Bank Arena, the Amerks owned the first 10 minutes, helping them beat Bridgeport twice in close games.
Victor Olofsson scored the game-winner again, Saturday with a minute left in regulation, Sunday 1:46 into overtime of a 3-2 Rochester win.
“(The two periods) were both pretty scrambly,” said Bridgeport’s Travis St. Denis, who gave the Sound Tigers a 2-1 lead late in the second period.
“There wasn’t much structure on both sides of the puck. It was like a summer hockey game out there. The puck was kind of going everywhere, bodies going everywhere. We’ve got to find a way to win those.”
Bridgeport is 1-2-1-0 through four games.
Saturday’s second period in the home opener was all Rochester until Steve Bernier’s goal gave the Sound Tigers a 3-1 lead; the Americans scored later in the period to cut into it. With help from four power plays, they outshot Bridgeport 13-5.
Rochester began the third period with a power play Sunday and scored 49 seconds in, tying the game on Zach Redmond’s goal from the right circle.
The Amerks held Bridgeport without a shot attempt for almost seven minutes, without an unblocked attempt for eight and a half, without a shot on goal for 13. Shots for the period were 11-2.
“I’m not concerned” about having back-to-back nights with periods like that, Thompson said: “I’m a little disappointed with the consistency. I think that’s the biggest thing.
“What was working for us, simplifying the game, being predictable to each other, when you have that and you veer away from it, doing things that other people don’t expect, now that kind of gets you on your heels and changes momentum.”
Attendance was 2,976.
It looked as if Bridgeport had opened the scoring on a power play 5:32 into the game when Kieffer Bellows tipped in a Devon Toews one-timer. Referee Andrew Wilk pointed that it was a good goal, then drew his hand back. After the officials talked it over, they waved it off, saying Bellows tipped it above the crossbar.
Eric Cornel gave the Amerks a lead late in the first on a deflection (fans in Section 105 sarcastically demanded Wilk wave that one off, too). Mike Sislo’s power-play goal tied it for the Sound Tigers 36 seconds into the second period, which was an effective period for Bridgeport.
“We had a lot of time in their zone. We kept them hemmed in, rolling line after line,” Bridgeport defenseman Mitch Vande Sompel said. “Things were going well.
“The goal at the start of the (third-period) power play killed that a bit. After that, they kept going, and I think we were sitting back a bit. We weren’t able to get pucks back. We weathered the storm, went to overtime, just couldn’t get it today.”
Bridgeport played without Chris Bourque, their top free-agent signing, out with an upper-body injury. Thompson said Bourque suffered the injury last weekend but had tried to play through it. That let captain Ben Holmstrom make his season debut. Defenseman Chris Casto debuted as well, as Parker Wotherspoon came out of the lineup.
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AMERICANS 3, SOUND TIGERS 2 (OT)
Rochester1 0 1 1—3
Bridgeport0 2 0 0—2
First Period — 1, Rochester, Cornel 2 (Guhle, Nylander), 15:11. Penalties — Bailey, Roc (tripping), 4:14; Burroughs, Bpt (hooking), 8:35; Simpson, Roc (hooking), 18:56.
Second Period — 2, Bridgeport, Sislo 1 (Bellows, Toews), :36 (pp). 3, Bridgeport, St. Denis 2 (Bernier), 16:50. Penalties — Sislo, Bpt (hooking), 20:00.
Third Period — 4, Rochester, Redmond 2 (Pilut, Olofsson), :49 (pp). Penalties — Pilut, Roc (roughing), 16:44; Fritz, Bpt (roughing), 16:44.
Overtime — 5, Rochester, Olofsson 3 (Guhle), 1:46. Penalties — None.
Shots on goal — Rochester 9-9-11-3—32. Bridgeport 6-8-2-1—17.
Power play opportunities — Rochester 1 of 2, Bridgeport 1 of 2.
Goaltenders — Rochester, Wilcox 2-0-0 (17 shots-15 saves). Bridgeport, Smith 1-0-1 (32-29).
Attendance — 2,976. Referees — Sandlak, Wilk. Linesmen — E.Ernst, B.Lyons.