Sound Tigers fall in hole early, can't recover
Updated 8:19 am, Wednesday, December 26, 2012
BRIDGEPORT -- Scoring chances had to be tilted strongly toward the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday.
The score tilted the other way most of the night. Adirondack caught a break early, scored a couple of opportunistic goals and held on to win 3-2 at Webster Bank Arena before the three-day Christmas break.
"We looked at chances for-chances against after two periods," Bridgeport coach Scott Pellerin said. "The goals they scored don't even count as chances."
But Sean Couturier (son of onetime New Haven Nighthawk Sylvain Couturier) banked one goal in off Aaron Ness' skate in the first period, then assisted on one in the second period when Matt Ford deflected in his wrist shot from the point.
"They were definitely fortunate. They took advantage of their opportunities," said Brandon DeFazio, who returned from a six-game league suspension. "I thought we were playing pretty solid. I thought the energy was there."
Despite that, the Phantoms led 2-0. They extended it to 3-0 in the first minute of the third off another Couturier setup.
The night began with a charge of emotion, remembering the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings eight days earlier in Newtown. Each player wore the name of one of the 20 children who died Dec. 14.
"It was very emotional," Pellerin said. "It was a way of us doing a little something to support the families and the city of Newtown.
"It was tough, to be honest with you. The players did a great job representing their community."
A memorial design is in place on the ice behind the nets. The team showed a video before the game honoring the Newtown community, culminating in the team's captains saying "we remember." Those two words scrolled above the scoreboard along with the names of the six Sandy Hook educators who were killed.
Former Bridgeport goalie Scott Munroe made a few big saves early in the second period to preserve a shutout bid deep into the third. He didn't appear to have to make a save on some of the Sound Tigers' best chances, missed or knocked away in front.
"We've got to bear down on our chances," Bridgeport forward David Ullstrom said. "We started a bit too late. The third period, we were dominating, no doubt about it. We put ourselves in a spot down 3-0. It's tough to come back."
The Sound Tigers, who hadn't lost in regulation time in five games, tried to come back. Goals 27 seconds apart, by Jack Combs in his Bridgeport debut and then Johan Sundstrom, made it a one-goal game with 5:54 to go.
The equalizer never came.
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1. SEAN COUTURIER, ADIRONDACK: A goal and two assists.
2. MATT FORD, ADIRONDACK: Deflection gave the Phantoms breathing room.
3. JACK COMBS, BRIDGEPORT: Bore down on his chance, scored the first goal.
UNSUNG HERO: Chad Costello set up Combs, his friend and linemate in two different leagues.
UP NEXT: Wednesday vs. Connecticut Whale, 7 p.m.
-- MICHAEL FORNABAIO
Adirondack 1 1 1--3
Bridgeport 0 0 2--2
First Period -- 1, Adirondack, Couturier 8, 14:10. Penalties -- Manning, Adk, major (fighting), :51; McIver, Bpt, major (fighting), :51; FitzGerald, Adk, major (fighting), 2:07; Gallant, Bpt, major (fighting), 2:07; Ullstrom, Bpt (slashing), 4:27; Rinaldo, Adk (interference), 12:08.
Second Period -- 2, Adirondack, Ford 1 (Couturier), 7:49. Penalties -- Lauridsen, Adk (slashing), 8:43; FitzGerald, Adk, major-misconduct (fighting), 11:37; Gallant, Bpt, major (fighting), 11:37; Persson, Bpt (interference), 13:27; McGinn, Adk (hooking), 14:37; Zolnierczyk, Adk (roughing), 20:00; Donovan, Bpt (roughing), 20:00.
Third Period -- 3, Adirondack, Wellwood 3 (Couturier, Dimmen), :38. 4, Bridgeport, Combs 1 (Costello, Landry), 13:39. 5, Bridgeport, Sundstrom 8 (Ullstrom, Persson), 14:06. Penalties -- Ullstrom, Bpt (boarding), 5:54; Cizikas, Bpt (slashing), 7:54; Hill, Bpt (elbowing), 10:41; Syvret, Adk (delay of game - covering puck), 19:49.
Shots on goal -- Adirondack 3-7-8--18. Bridgeport 6-15-15--36.
Power play opportunities -- Adirondack 0 of 5, Bridgeport 0 of 4.
Goaltenders -- Adirondack, Munroe 9-7-1 (36 shots-34 saves). Bridgeport, Nilsson 6-7-0 (18-15).
Attendance -- 3,945. Referee -- Mayer. Linesmen -- Briggs, Wahl.