BRIDGEPORT, CT - Christopher Gibson made 21 saves and Nic Pierog scored his first American Hockey League goal on Wednesday to lift the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (3-7-2-1), AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, to a 1-0 win against the Springfield Thunderbirds in front of 6,237 fans at Webster Bank Arena.
It was Gibson’s first shutout of the season, his eighth blank sheet with the Sound Tigers and the 10th of his professional career, which propelled Bridgeport to its second straight victory. It was the Sound Tigers’ first 1-0 victory since Dec. 16, 2018.
The first period was quiet on the scoreboard, but loud in the building with thousands of local school groups and youth organizations on hand for the annual Cool Fun 101 matchup. The game remained scoreless after 20 minutes, despite 13 combined shots against Gibson and T-Birds netminder Chris Driedger, who entered the day in the league’s top 10 in several goaltending categories.
However, Pierog put the Sound Tigers out front at 5:16 of the second period with a rebound goal for his first in the AHL. David Quenneville hammered a slap shot from the right point that bounced off of traffic in front and Pierog cleaned up the second effort to make it 1-0. Jeff Kubiak also collected an assist.
Both teams continued to trade chances as the morning rolled into afternoon, but the game was tightly contested, and the goaltenders didn’t give an inch. Bridgeport outshot Springfield 16-14 in the final two periods, with both clubs creating rushes and offensive opportunities that came up short. The Thunderbirds best chances came on an Anthony Greco breakaway that missed the net and Aleksi Saarela’s backdoor one-timer that hit the post in the third period.
Aside from Gibson, the Sound Tigers penalty kill was also a big reason for the win, going 5-for-5 on the day. Bridgeport’s power play went 0-for-3.
Driedger (5-4-0) made 21 saves, while Bridgeport outshot Springfield 22-21. The contest also included two fights when Mike Cornell and Tommy Cross dropped the gloves before the game was even five minutes old, and Kieffer Bellows battled Brady Keeper just after the final horn.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers continue a five-game homestand on Saturday with a 7 p.m. puck drop against the Providence Bruins at Webster Bank Arena. It’s Purple Heart Night and tickets are on sale now! Fans can also follow all of the live action via the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHLTV, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are on sale now!
Sound Tigers season tickets and flex plans are on sale now for the 2019-20 campaign, offering the greatest savings and ultimate flexibility of all ticket packages. Pick between a full-season, 20-game, or 10-game plan and you'll also be entitled to exclusive benefits, including the ticket holder exchange policy. Lock in your seats today by contacting Brad Dworin at 203-345-4813.
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