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Holdover Sound Tigers beat Devils

Updated 9:34 pm, Sunday, January 13, 2013
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3 stars 1. CHAD COSTELLO, BRIDGEPORT: Stepping into a bigger role, had three assists on the power play. 2. NINO NIEDERREITER, BRIDGEPORT: Scored two goals. 3. KELLY ZAJAC, ALBANY: His first AHL goal and an assist. UNSUNG HERO: Jack Combs combined with Costello for a creative line with either Brett Gallant or Niederreiter. UP NEXT: Saturday vs. Binghamton, 7 p.m. -- MICHAEL FORNABAIO
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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Six of their old Bridgeport Sound Tigers teammates were a few hours away on Long Island, ringing in the start of NHL training camp with the New York Islanders.

The remaining Sound Tigers adjusted to new roles and new combinations and snapped a five-game losing streak, beating the Albany Devils 5-4 at Boardwalk Hall.

"It was an opportunity for a lot of guys," coach Scott Pellerin said. "Guys were put in roles with ice time they hadn't had before. It was a good test to see how our guys responded."

The response was pretty good. The Devils -- who'll play four games at Boardwalk Hall in their parents' home state -- scored two goals in 92 seconds to tie it with 3:12 left.

Then Matt Anderson ran into Bridgeport goalie Kevin Poulin and received Albany's second goaltender interference penalty. Matt Donovan scored through a Nino Niederreiter screen with 2:43 to go.

"I was concentrating on the guy in front of me; he'd lost his stick," Donovan said.

"I was able to hold onto (the puck) a little longer and get him out of his lane."

It was, as Niederreiter called it, a "tricky game" for some players who didn't get the NHL call. Bridgeport sent six players up Saturday night; Albany sent eight.

Niederreiter, the fifth-overall draft pick in 2010 and Bridgeport's leading scorer, was the most prominent on either team left behind.

"It's nothing I could control," Niederreiter said. "I feel I'm in top form, in top shape. It's their decision, and if they think I'm not ready, I'm not ready.

"I have a lot of confidence. I'm ready to play."

Niederreiter was at the front of the net to pounce on two loose pucks, scoring his 18th and 19th goals.

"I was very happy with his game around the net, offensively," Pellerin said. "There were a couple of plays we have to work on, but overall, I thought it was a good game."

Blair Riley and Niederreiter gave Bridgeport a 4-2 lead before Joe Whitney (on a five-on-three) and Chris McKelvie (after a Donovan-to-Niederreiter breakout went awry) tied it.

Aaron Ness, another name in the call-up speculation, had three points, including a goal.

He and Phil DeSimone traded goals in the first period. Niederreiter and Kelly Zajac traded off in the second.

Losing those six players meant several players took bigger roles. Dan Maggio made his AHL debut, and Dallas Jackson and Jordan Hill saw more special-teams time on defense.

Jack Combs and Chad Costello got more time on the power play; Costello had three assists. They combined with Brett Gallant on a line that created bunches of scoring chances, and Pellerin double-shifted Niederreiter onto that line at times.

mfornabaio@ctpost.com; http://twitter.com/fornabaioctp; http://blog.connpost.com/fornabaio

Bridgeport............................................1 1 3 -- 5

Albany..................................................1 1 2 -- 4

First Period -- 1, Bridgeport, Ness 2 (Combs, Costello), 11:39 (pp). 2, Albany, DeSimone 2 (Burlon, Sislo), 19:43 (pp). Penalties -- Hoeffel, Alb (goaltender interference), 8:04; Kelly, Alb (delay of game), 9:53; Sundstrom, Bpt (tripping), 18:14.

Second Period -- 3, Bridgeport, Niederreiter 18 (Halmo, Nelson), 3:38. 4, Albany, K. Zajac 1 (Haczyk, Burlon), 9:53. Penalties -- Maggio, Bpt (high-sticking), 4:20; Zalewski, Alb (tripping), 12:51.

Third Period -- 5, Bridgeport, Riley 3 (DeFazio), 2:17. 6, Bridgeport, Niederreiter 19 (Costello, Ness), 9:38 (pp). 7, Albany, Whitney 6 (Anderson, Gelinas), 15:16 (pp). 8, Albany, McKelvie 1 (D. Zajac, K. Zajac), 16:48. 9, Bridgeport, Donovan 6 (Costello, Ness), 18:44. Penalties -- McIver, Bpt (kneeing), 6:39; McKelvie, Alb (tripping), 9:13; Donovan, Bpt (cross-checking), 13:32; Ness, Bpt (high-sticking), 14:11; Anderson, Alb (goaltender interference), 17:17.

Shots on goal -- Bridgeport 10-8-11--29. Albany 6-12-18--36.

Power play opportunities -- Bridgeport 3 of 5, Albany 2 of 5.

Goaltenders -- Bridgeport, Poulin 11-8-2 (36 shots-32 saves). Albany, Kinkaid 11-8-3 (29-24).

Attendance -- 4,005. Referee -- Leduc. Linesmen -- Daisy, Oliver.

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