Fearing a third-straight regulation loss, the Sound Tigers’ desperation showed in the third period, as they battled back from a 2-1 deficit.
“We kept the energy level up when we were down and we battled back,” Head Coach Scott Pellerin said. “That energy and desperation – we had to get to that next level. That was a good sign that guys didn’t sink down after (Worcester) scored.”
That energy translated to a game-tying goal just 2:51 into the final frame, courtesy of Sound Tigers top scorer Nino Niederreiter. Defenseman Travis Hamonic started the play with an outlet pass that sent Colin McDonald streaking down the right wing on a 3-ond-2 rush. McDonald dropped the puck to Niederreiter, who wristed his team-high 10th goal of the season past Sateri’s blocker.
Worcester reclaimed the lead late in the game, as Kennedy struck for his second goal of the night on a seeing-eye shot that wrung in off of the post at 13:52. The Sound Tigers again rallied to find the equalizer, as Brock Nelson fired a back-door feed from Niederreiter into Sateri’s outstretched pad, before jamming his rebound through the scrambling netminder with 2:28 remaining in regulation.
The Sound Tigers controlled overtime, enjoying a 4-on-3 power play midway through the five-minute session, but neither team found the back of the net. Worcester’s James Sheppard and Kennedy scored in the first and third rounds, respectively, while Sateri denied Niederreiter, Johan Sundstrom, Nelson and McDonald to secure the extra point for the Sharks.
The Sound Tigers had scored the game’s first goal midway through an opening period that was punctuated by 58 combined penalty minutes. Center Casey Cizikas won a faceoff straight back to defenseman Jon Landry, who curled towards the high slot and ripped a shot through traffic for his fourth goal of the season at 8:12. The home team’s lead lasted for less than three minutes, as Sharks forward Freddie Hamilton leveled the score at 11:02, pushing his own rebound past goalie Kevin Poulin.
Shortly after Hamilton’s tying goal and before play resumed, all 10 skaters on the ice gathered around the Worcester bench and erupted into a string of skirmishes, highlighted by Matt Donovan squaring off with James Livingston and Blair Riley taking down Mike Brennan. Stuck on the sidelines for the line brawl, tough guys Nathan McIver and Curt Gogol engaged in the first period’s third official fight a few minutes later at 14:24. Worcester took a 2-1 lead with 2:27 remaining in the first period, as Tim Kennedy found space over Poulin’s shoulder from a sharp angle on the left wing.
The Sound Tigers return to action Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. against the Norfolk Admirals at Webster Bank Arena. Tomorrow’s game is the Sound Tigers annual Teddy Bear Toss Game, where fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used stuffed animals to throw onto the ice after the Sound Tigers score their first goal. All stuffed animals will be donated to pediatric units at local area hospitals this holiday season.
For Military Appreciation Night, all military personnel in attendance received a free ticket and the Sound Tigers wore commemorative camouflage jerseys.
1. WOR – Harri Sateri
2. BRI – Nino Niederreiter
3. WOR – Tim Kennedy
BRIDGEPORT SOUND TIGERS
22 Nino Niederreiter – 29 Brock Nelson – 13 Colin McDonald (A)
23 John Persson – 28 Johan Sundstrom – 16 Sean Backman
40 Mike Halmo – 11 Casey Cizikas (A) – 42 Brandon DeFazio
44 Brett Gallant – 14 Matt Watkins – 20 Blair Riley
46 Matt Donovan – 3 Travis Hamonic (A)
27 Aaron Ness – 7 Jon Landry
25 Jordan Hill – 8 Nathan McIver
38 Kevin Poulin (starter)
45 Anders Nilsson
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