Tigers snap eight-game skid
Updated 8:22 pm, Sunday, December 9, 2012
BRIDGEPORT -- Even with a five-goal lead, with effectively the defending champions on the other bench, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers knew they weren't out of their winless-streak woods yet.
Syracuse scored two goals late in the second period, but Bridgeport caught a break to answer back and beat the Crunch 7-2 Sunday at Webster Bank Arena, ending an eight-game winless streak.
"We got the `W'. We also made some mistakes," Bridgeport coach Scott Pellerin said. "That's a good thing. We got two points and there's still opportunity for growth, to learn from mistakes."
Anders Nilsson stopped 37 Crunch shots, 21 in the second period, in the Sound Tigers' first win since Nov. 18 and their biggest offensive day since February.
Colin McDonald, wearing the `C' as captain for the first time at home, scored two goals and added two assists. He helped Bridgeport's power play go 3-for-5 officially; it scored another goal just a second after a Syracuse penalty expired.
Bridgeport had to kill three penalties in the first 10 minutes but emerged with a 1-0 lead on Casey Cizikas' short-handed goal 1:41 into the game.
"The first period, we shut them down really good," Nilsson said. "I don't think they had even one scoring chance in the first period on the power play."
Attendance was 3,815.
The bulk of the Crunch team played last year for the Norfolk Admirals, the Calder Cup champions; the AHL teams swapped affiliates after the season. Syracuse picked up where Norfolk left off, coming in at 14-5-1-2.
The Crunch put 23 shots on Nilsson in the second, scoring on two big shots just over a minute apart to cut the lead to 5-2.
But John Persson made it 6-2 with 1:04 to go in the period. Syracuse goalie Dustin Tokarski came out of his crease for a loose puck, but got knocked down by teammate Keith Aulie. That left the net open for Persson, who collected the puck on the left-wing boards.
"The good thing was getting a few bounces," McDonald said. "We just weren't getting those."
Bridgeport led 3-0 after one. Cizikas (who left the game after two periods with an upper-body injury) stole a Cory Conacher pass and scored on a breakaway. Jon Landry (five-on-three) and Johan Sundstrom tacked on.
McDonald (on the rebound of his deflection of a Brock Nelson shot) and Nelson (three points) scored in the second to make it 5-0 a little after the game's midpoint.
"It hasn't been fun the last eight games or whatever it is," McDonald said. "We said in the locker room before the game, we have a good (Syracuse) team coming in, 10-2 on the road; it'll be a good test. Sometimes that's what you need."
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1. COLIN McDONALD, BRIDGEPORT: Four points in his first game as captain.
2. ANDERS NILSSON, BRIDGEPORT: Made 37 saves, made sure it'd be easy.
3. CASEY CIZIKAS, BRIDGEPORT: First-period penalty-kill work set the tone.
UNSUNG HERO: New alternate captain Jon Landry scored a big power-play goal.
UP NEXT: Tuesday at Portland, 7 p.m.
-- MICHAEL FORNABAIO
Syracuse 0 2 0--2
Bridgeport 3 3 1--7
First Period -- 1, Bridgeport, Cizikas 5, 1:41 (sh). 2, Bridgeport, Landry 6 (McDonald, Nelson), 12:34 (pp). 3, Bridgeport, Sundstrom 7 (Persson, MacKay), 16:02. Penalties -- Donovan, Bpt (slashing), :43; McDonald, Bpt (high-sticking), 3:20; Donovan, Bpt (cross-checking), 9:18; Devos, Syr (hooking), 10:57; Wyman, Syr (tripping), 11:48; Cote, Syr, minor-major (roughing, fighting), 14:01; Connolly, Syr (roughing), 14:01; Gallant, Bpt, major (fighting), 14:01; Cantin, Bpt (roughing), 14:01.
Second Period -- 4, Bridgeport, McDonald 3 (Nelson, Niederreiter), :36. 5, Bridgeport, Nelson 10 (McDonald, Ness), 11:15 (pp). 6, Syracuse, Killorn 5 (Angelidis, Wyman), 15:27. 7, Syracuse, Brown 5 (Devos, Taormina), 16:33. 8, Bridgeport, Persson 7, 18:56. Penalties -- Panik, Syr (cross-checking), 3:07; Gallant, Bpt (holding), 3:07; Neilson, Syr, major (fighting), 5:20; Gallant, Bpt, major (fighting), 5:20; Wyman, Syr (interference), 10:01.
Third Period -- 9, Bridgeport, McDonald 4 (Niederreiter, Landry), 12:35 (pp). Penalties -- Niederreiter, Bpt (interference), 7:20; Angelidis, Syr (elbowing), 10:38; Angelidis, Syr, major (fighting), 14:41; McIver, Bpt, major (fighting), 14:41; Cantin, Bpt (high-sticking), 16:29; Cantin, Bpt (slashing), 20:00.
Shots on goal -- Syracuse 9-23-7--39. Bridgeport 11-10-5--26.
Power play opportunities -- Syracuse 0 of 5, Bridgeport 3 of 5.
Goaltenders -- Syracuse, Helenius 6-3-0 (13 shots-9 saves), Tokarski (:36 second, 13-10). Bridgeport, Nilsson 5-5-0 (26-24).
Attendance -- 3,815. Referees -- Burchell, T.Koharski. Linesmen -- Galvin, Redding.