Ho-Sang’s two goals lead Sound Tigers past Rochester
BRIDGEPORT — On his 21st birthday, in between scoring two goals for the first time in his pro-hockey career and helping the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to a 3-1 win, Josh Ho-Sang took a seat in the penalty box Sunday for a slashing penalty.
From behind him in Section 105 at Webster Bank Arena, the song rose: an assortment of fans singing “Happy Birthday.” The rookie turned with a grin and clapped when they were done.
“Islander fans are special,” said Ho-Sang, one of the prospects those fans are waiting for in New York.
He was scratched twice the past eight days but, put together on a line with Michael Dal Colle and Josh Winquist on Sunday, had a big day against the Rochester Americans.
“I really liked his effort. That’s the bottom line,” Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson said.
The Sound Tigers have won four in a row, and they’re 5-1-1-1 in their past eight. On the brink of slipping out of playoff contention a few weeks ago, with help from slumping Hershey, they’re ahead of the Bears for fourth place in winning percentage, just one point back in points accumulated.
Ho-Sang was credited with three shots on goal, though he had a few other attempts that got through and apparently just missed. Thompson said that was a focus he and Ho-Sang discussed.
“He’s so dynamic. He looks pass more often than shot,” Thompson said. “That shooter’s mentalilty is going to help him. ... People have to honor that shot, because it is a great shot.”
For Ho-Sang’s part, he said, “it’s easy to shoot when you know you’re going to get the puck.”
Thompson said he liked the way that line played. All three had been scratched this weekend: Ho-Sang on Friday in Springfield, Dal Colle on Saturday against Toronto, Winquist both nights.
Rochester, making only its third visit to Bridgeport in 16 seasons (it’ll pay a fourth in two weeks), scored first at 15:06 of the first period. Hudson Fasching tipped a point shot past Stephon Williams (29 saves), capping a series of dominant shifts for the Americans.
On the next shift, Ho-Sang carried into the Amerks zone and dropped off the puck for Kyle Burroughs at the right point. Linus Ullmark stopped Burroughs’ shot, which tipped off the stick of a Rochester defenseman, but couldn’t find the rebound. Ho-Sang pounced from Ullmark’s right to tie the game 35 seconds after Rochester’s goal.
“A fortunate one,” said Ho-Sang, whose momentum to the net carried him to the crossbar; he hung on it for a second or two.
Dal Colle set up the second, beating Mac Bennett to a puck on the left-wing boards in his own zone in the second period.
“I know in the NHL wall battles are a big part of it,” Dal Colle said.
He sent it ahead to Ho-Sang for a breakaway.
“Their D wasn’t going to catch me,” Ho-Sang said.
The right-handed shot went to his forehand and beat Ullmark over the glove at 7:33 of the second period.
Andrew Rowe, celebrating his birthday as well, chased down a puck and protected it to set up Steve Bernier’s empty-netter in the final seconds.
Attendance was 3,367.
Williams was sharp on a five-on-three penalty kill in the second period, including one acrobatic save when he took a Bennett shot off the palm of his blocking glove. Fasching cross-checked him later in the shift, evening out the last 68 seconds of Ben Holmstrom’s kneeing major.
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SOUND TIGERS 3, AMERICANS 1
Rochester1 0 0—1
Bridgeport1 1 1—3
First Period — 1, Rochester, Fasching 2 (Strachan, Rodrigues), 15:06. 2, Bridgeport, Ho-Sang 4 (Burroughs, Winquist), 15:41. Penalties — None.
Second Period — 3, Bridgeport, Ho-Sang 5 (Dal Colle), 7:33. Penalties — Ho-Sang, Bpt (slashing), 3:31; Johnston, Bpt (roughing), 8:57; B.Holmstrom, Bpt, major-game misconduct (kneeing), 8:57; Fasching, Roc (cross-checking), 12:50.
Third Period — 4, Bridgeport, Bernier 15 (Rowe, Kearns), 19:52 (en). Penalties — Catenacci, Roc (boarding), 1:01; Landry, Bpt (tripping), 15:11.
Shots on goal — Rochester 13-8-9—30. Bridgeport 9-13-7—29.
Power play opportunities — Rochester 0 of 4, Bridgeport 0 of 2.
Goaltenders — Rochester, Ullmark 16-14-1 (28 shots-26 saves). Bridgeport, Williams 6-12-0 (30-29).
Attendance — 3,367. Referees — Gouin, Mullen. Linesmen — Simeon, E.Ernst.