The Wolf Pack led 4-3 after two periods of the see-saw battle, but Travis St. Denis tied the score for Bridgeport before Bernier’s winner.
“We played a well-fought game and battled hard,” Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said. “But poorly-timed penalties, and the inability to hold the lead going into the third, was the downfall.”
The Wolf Pack had successfully killed five Sound Tiger power plays before Bernier connected on the sixth Bridgeport man advantage.
Former Wolf Pack captain Ryan Bourque scored twice in the first period for the Sound Tigers, but the Wolf Pack came back twice from a goal down.
Bourque opened the scoring at 4:30 with an unassisted goal, working the puck away from Wolf Pack defenseman Chris Bigras and putting a shot past Marek Mazanec from the left side.
Steven Fogarty got that goal back only 2:20 later, at 6:50, increasing his team-leading goal total to five.
Bourque scored again only 50 seconds after that, deflecting in a try from the left point by Mitch Vande Sompel at 7:40.
That lead lasted until there were only 36.3 seconds left in the first, when Michael Lindqvist scored on a Wolf Pack power play. With Parker Wotherspoon in the box for slashing, a Lias Andersson shot went off of Bridgeport netminder Christopher Gibson and trickled behind him. Lindqvist reached toward the goal line and knocked it in.
The Wolf Pack took the lead for the first time with 7:08 left in the second period, on Shawn O’Donnell’s third goal in two games. Brandon Crawley played the puck towards the net from the right-wing boards, and O’Donnell re-directed it through Gibson.
Connor Jones tied it back up for Bridgeport, on a deflection of his own, at 16:30. Wotherspoon took a shot from the left point, and Jones reached out and tipped it in from in front.
Then, for a second straight period, Hartford scored inside the final minute. At 19:36, Ville Meskanen put the Wolf Pack up 4-3, connecting on a 2-on-1 with Gabriel Fontaine.
St. Denis evened the score just 3:41 into the third, though, receiving a pass from Sebastian Aho along the goal line on the right-wing side and one-timing it into the net.
Then, a holding penalty to Bobby Butler at 5:41 led to Bernier’s game-winner. Again, it was a deflection, as Mitch Vande Sompel’s shot from the top of the right circle hit Bernier and got by Mazanec, at 6:26.
The Wolf Pack are right back in Atlantic Division action Sunday, as they start a stretch of five straight games on the road with a trip to Springfield to take on the Thunderbirds. Faceoff is 3:05 PM, and all of the action of that battle can be heard live on News Radio 1410 WPOP, and on-line at www.newsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at theahl.com/AHLTV.
The Wolf Pack’s next home game is Saturday, November 10, a 7:00 contest vs. the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. That is “Country Night” at the XL Center, and tickets for all 2018-19 Wolf Pack home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. Tickets purchased in advance for kids 12 or younger start at just $13 each, and all tickets will have a $3 day-of-game increase.
Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2018-19 AHL season can be found on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com. To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers 5 at Hartford Wolf Pack 4
Saturday, October 27, 2018 - XL Center
Bridgeport 2 1 2 - 5
Hartford 2 2 0 - 4
1st Period-1, Bridgeport, R. Bourque 1 4:30. 2, Hartford, Fogarty 5 (Crawley, Gettinger), 6:50. 3, Bridgeport, R. Bourque 2 (Vande Sompel, Aho), 7:40. 4, Hartford, Lindqvist 3 (Andersson, Butler), 19:23 (PP). Penalties-C. Bourque Bri (tripping), 12:02; Schneider Hfd (hooking), 13:29; Wotherspoon Bri (slashing), 17:31.
2nd Period-5, Hartford, O'Donnell 3 (Crawley), 12:52. 6, Bridgeport, Jones 2 (Wotherspoon, Helgeson), 16:30. 7, Hartford, Meskanen 2 (Fontaine, Lindgren), 19:24. Penalties-Lindgren Hfd (interference), 4:59; Lindgren Hfd (slashing), 7:38; Sislo Bri (holding the stick), 7:50; Fogarty Hfd (interference), 13:44; Bigras Hfd (delay of game), 17:06.
3rd Period-8, Bridgeport, St. Denis 3 (Aho), 3:41. 9, Bridgeport, Bernier 5 (Vande Sompel, Aho), 6:26 (PP). Penalties-Butler Hfd (holding), 5:41; Burroughs Bri (hooking), 8:45.
Shots on Goal-Bridgeport 8-14-8-30. Hartford 12-7-8-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Bridgeport 1 / 6; Hartford 1 / 4.
Goalies-Bridgeport, Gibson 3-2-0 (27 shots-23 saves). Hartford, Mazanec 2-4-0 (30 shots-25 saves).
Referees-Kenny Anderson (66), Terry Koharski (10).
Linesmen-Kevin Briganti (39), Nick Briganti (58).
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