Players in and out, but Sound Tigers win at Springfield

December 3, 2016 GMT

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — They got two players back from injury. They lost two to injury and maybe one to suspension. The world turned some more around the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, but typical to their start this year, they got another win Friday.

Tanner Fritz set up the game-winner and added a goal off Jesse Graham’s stretch pass in a 3-1 win at MassMutual Center over the Springfield Thunderbirds.

“Our guys played very, very hard,” said Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson, whose team is 2-0 this season in Springfield, as many wins as it had in nine visits the past two years.

“The battle level was excellent. This is a tough (rink) to play in. It’s small. It’s tight. Things happen fast. We did a good job all night.”

Short-handed by the third period, Bridgeport limited Springfield’s scoring chances, and Eamon McAdam made 21 saves to improve to 6-0 while leading the Sound Tigers to their second straight win.

“Springfield is a tough team to play against,” forward Colin Markison said. “Whenever we play our game like we did tonight, we’re going to come out with two points. We stuck to our game plan. That’s all it is.”

Bridgeport is 14-6.

Fritz set up Travis St. Denis on the right side, seconds after a power play expired, to give Bridgeport the lead with 12:10 to go. It was the first pro goal for St. Denis, a Quinnipiac product.

Graham sent Fritz ahead two-on-one five minutes later, and Fritz beat Reto Berra to cap the scoring.

Markison, playing his first game since Oct. 22, had opened it for Bridgeport on the rebound of a Kyle Burroughs shot.

“Burroughs did a really good job streaking down, creating a lane,” Markison said. “I actually thought he scored at first. I looked down and the puck was on my stick.”

Though Mike Downing knocked him down, Markison whacked the puck past Berra.

He and defenseman Ryan Pulock, both out about the same time, both returned to play just about their usual roles.

“It was actually way better than I even expected,” Markison said. “I’ve got to give a lot of credit to our training staff, Sticks (David Stickney) and Zack (Yannes).”

Stickney twice disappeared from the bench Friday to tend to injured Sound Tigers. Steve Bernier left in the second period, and Josh Winquist departed in the third.

Thompson said he didn’t have an update on either forward after the game.

Connor Jones was sent off with five minutes left in the second period, called for a match penalty for a check to the head of Jayce Hawryluk (Jones thought it was shoulder-to-shoulder), so the Sound Tigers played the last 15 minutes or so with just nine forwards.

“It’s a credit for their conditioning,” Thompson said. “We practice hard.”

Stephen Gionta was already a possibility to make his season debut Saturday, and Bridgeport scratched young forwards Josh Ho-Sang and Carter Verhaeghe on Friday, so the Sound Tigers have players available if needed. They play at home Saturday and Sunday.

The New York Islanders sent defenseman Scott Mayfield down Friday morning, and he is expected to play Saturday for Bridgeport.

mfornabaio@ctpost.com;@fornabaioctp; blog.ctnews.com/fornabaio




First Period — No scoring. Penalties — Bozon, Spr (throwing stick), 13:43; St. Denis, Bpt (unsportsmanlike conduct), 17:06; Thompson, Spr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 17:06.

Second Period — 1, Bridgeport, Markison 2 (Burroughs, Rowe), 13:17. 2, Springfield, Sgarbossa 3 (Thompson, Harper), 15:34. Penalties — Cullity, Bpt (slashing), :24; Brown, Spr (holding), 5:37; Downing, Spr (delay of game), 7:05; Landry, Bpt (slashing), 10:32; J.Holmstrom, Bpt (slashing), 14:28; C.Jones, Bpt, major-match penalty (fighting, check to head), 15:15; McCann, Spr, minor-major-misconduct (instigating, fighting), 15:15.

Third Period — 2, Bridgeport, St. Denis 1 (Fritz, Landry), 7:50. 3, Bridgeport, Fritz 5 (Graham), 13:15. Penalties — Johnston, Bpt (tripping), 5:22; Acolatse, Spr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 5:48; Landry, Bpt (cross-checking), 10:02.

Shots on goal — Bridgeport 13-8-10—31. Springfield 4-6-12—22.

Power play opportunities — Bridgeport 0 of 4, Springfield 1 of 6.

Goaltenders — Bridgeport, McAdam 6-0-0 (22 shots-21 saves). Springfield, Berra 5-4-2 (31-28).

Attendance — 3,544. Referee — Voss. Linesmen — F.Murphy, Wahl.