Bears even series with Bridgeport | News –

Bears even series with Bridgeport | News -

Ex-Gopher Aaron Ness released from hospital after being stretchered off the ice in AHL playoff game

(Bridgeport, CT) — Hershey goalie Vitek Vanecek stopped all 39 shots he faced leading the Bears to a 2-0 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

The Saturday night victory at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport evens the best-of-five AHL playoff series at 1-1.

Founded in 2001, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Hockey Club is the top minor league affiliate of the New York Islanders. Don't miss your chance to take part in the family fun entertainment happening every home game at Webster Bank Arena. For further information on ticket or sponsorship opportunities, please call our office at (203) 345-2300, visit, or e-mail [email protected]

Mike Sgarbossa scored for the Bears in the first period and Riley Barber added another early in the second to provide all the offense Hershey would need.

Despite being outshot 13-12 in the first period, the Sound Tigers logged their fair share of scoring chances. Lorito nicked the crossbar at the tail end of a busy shift alongside linemates Oliver Wahlstrom and Kieffer Bellows at 12:55. Later, Otto Koivula and Connor Jones both created high-percentage chances, but Vanecek met each shot with a pad save – two of his 12 saves in period.

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After a heated first game, the Sound Tigers and Bears were back at it on Saturday night. But the intensity of Friday’s double-overtime victory appeared to take its toll as New York Islanders AHL affiliate Bridgeport played a mostly uninspired game. The series is now even at one game apiece.

Barber extended Hershey’s lead to 2-0 nearly four minutes into the second period. Sgarbossa and Barber entered the zone on a 2-on-1 rush, before Barber finished the attack with a slick forehand-to-backhand move on a partial breakaway for his first of the playoffs. He led Hershey with a career-high 31 goals during the regular season.

Center Jeff Kubiak was inserted on the first line as Travis St. Denis served a one-game suspension for Friday’s hit on Aaron Ness.

The Hershey-Washington goalie shuttle will continue throughout these playoffs as the Capitals prefer to have a third goalie readily available. Replacement, Vitek Vanecek was perfect, turning away all 39 Bridgeport attempts.

Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz were in attendance and watched The Baby Islanders spend most of the night on their heels.

Bridgeport gifted the Bears three straight power plays over the first two periods. Hershey’s futility on the powerplay continued.

But it was 5 on 5 where Hershey consistently outperformed BST. The Sound Tigers have yet to record an even-strength goal in the series.

The Sound Tigers finished the night 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, 0-for-5 on the power play, and outshoot the Bears 39-34. Bridgeport’s penalty kill is 8-for-8 in the series.

In the third, Bridgeport started hitting bodies and the net more frequently, but it was too little too late as Vanecek preserved his shutout.

While the Sound Tigers were unable to find twine, Smith continued to hold down the fort, denying Steve Whitney’s breakaway attempt at 7:22 of the third.

Brent Thompson has fewer roster options.   The versatile Yannick Rathgeb was loaned to the Swiss National team in advance of the IIHF World Championship.

Hershey received goals from Mike Sgarbossa and Riley Barber, while Matt Lorito launched a game-high seven shots on goal and hit the post once.

Josh Ho-Sang has overhandled, undershot (3 SOG’s in 2 games) and made some egregious turnovers.  Newly acquired Bobo Carpenter has yet to dress.

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