BRIDGEPORT, CT - Simon Holmstrom scored twice on Saturday night to lead the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (19-27-5-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, to a 3-2 win against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (25-20-3-5) at Webster Bank Arena.
It was Holmstrom’s first multi-goal performance in the AHL and gave him four goals in his last four games. Another first-round draft pick, Oliver Wahlstrom, also scored his sixth goal of the season, while Jared Coreau (10-12-1) made 34 saves between the pipes. Coreau has won five of his last six appearances.
The victory pushed Bridgeport’s unbeaten in regulation streak to four games (3-0-1-0) and was the Sound Tigers’ third consecutive win against the Penguins.
The Sound Tigers pressured Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s back line and goaltender Casey DeSmith right from the get-go and nearly scored in the first three minutes when Matt Lorito hammered a one-timer on target, but DeSmith snagged it from the air. Instead, Wahlstrom opened the scoring at the 17:42 mark with an impressive wrist shot on a two-on-one rush. Coreau denied Sam Miletic from the doorstep and drew a delayed penalty in the process before Grant Hutton sprung Wahlstrom the other way. Wahlstrom carried the puck down the left wing and beat DeSmith with a shot inside the circle to make it 1-0.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton answered with two goals in a span of 6:27 during the second period to take its first lead. Jamie Devane cleaned up a rebound at the 10:08 mark to beat Coreau for the first time and Joe Blandisi followed with his sixth goal of the season on a power play. With Hutton in the box for hooking, Zach Trotman drove a slap shot through traffic and off Coreau’s pads, and Blandisi capitalized on the rebound at 16:35.
Holmstrom took over and pulled the Sound Tigers back ahead with consecutive goals beginning at 17:59 of the second period. Robert Carpenter collected Hutton’s pass in the left corner and fed Holmstrom near the faceoff dot, where he turned and filtered a shot into the top left corner of the net to make it 2-2.
The eventual game-winner came at 9:38 of the third period when Holmstrom drilled home a loose puck at the doorstep for his seventh goal of the year. Mason Jobst created the opportunity with a nifty move at the hash marks and forehand shot into the pads of DeSmith. The rebound popped free and Steve Bernier jammed away before Holmstrom made it 3-2.
Holmstrom nearly earned his first professional hat trick in the final minute, racing towards a loose puck in the neutral zone with DeSmith pulled for an extra attacker. However, the Penguins got back to break up the rush.
Bridgeport finished the game 1-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill. DeSmith (17-14-2) made 25 saves on 28 shots.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers return to action on Monday with a President's Day matchup against the Providence Bruins at Dunkin' Donuts Center (3:05 p.m.) Fans can follow all of the live action of the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHLTV, beginning with the pregame show at 2:45 p.m. ET.
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