November 26, 2012

AHL Journal: Sound Tigers suffer meltdown in net

By Jesse Connolly

Bridgeport's Anders Nilsson saw his four-game winning streak come to a crashing halt. (Getty Images)

When you only score one goal, as the Sound Tigers did twice in their last three games, chances are you’re not going to win. The results are bound to be the same when a team finds itself fishing five-plus pucks out of its own net, as Bridgeport did in its last trio of games, effectively putting the perfect recipe together for a three-game skid.

Kevin Poulin got the nod on Wednesday when the Sound Tigers visited Adirondack. The Phantoms launched 18 shots in the second period, three of which found twine. They tacked on two more in the final frame en route to a 5-1 victory.

On Saturday, Anders Nilsson turned in a stunningly bad performance for Bridgeport. The Swedish netminder entered the game with a perfect 4-0-0 record and superb .935 save percentage. The latter took a serious beating in the Sound Tigers’ clash with the visiting Whale.

The game was an absolute rollercoaster. Bridgeport fell behind by two early, scored three times to take a 3-2 lead, saw the Whale tie things up at three apiece and responded with two goals of their own. With 7:36 gone in the final frame, the Sound Tigers held a 5-3 lead. Then, the wheels fell off.

The Whale scored four times in a span of 9:21, including two goals from former BU standout Matt Gilroy, and pulled off a shocking, 7-5 victory.

Nilsson, who finished Saturday’s tilt with seven goals against on 34 shots, was considerably sharper on Sunday in Binghamton, but that mattered little. It was Poulin who got the start against the B-Sens, who scored four time in the first 28:36 of action, sending Poulin off for an early shower.

Nilsson slowed the bleeding, stopping 23-of-25 the rest of the way, but Bridgeport didn’t get on the board until the 14-minute mark of the third on a goal from Brandon DeFazio, their lone tally of the day in a 6-1 loss.

With the three losses, two of which came against divisional foes, Bridgeport missed a golden opportunity to gain ground on the first-place Falcons. Springfield went 0-1-1-1 this past week, picking up just two out of a possible six points.

Then again, that’s not so bad in comparison to what the Sound Tigers could muster, as Bridgeport’s ugly skid has sent them back down to sixth place in the conference standings.

News and Notes

- Bridgeport isn’t the only team that saw their young, Swedish netminder fall on hard times. Niklas Svedberg (pictured right) has now given up 13 goals in his last three appearances for Providence, during which the team’s gone 1-2. The P-Bruins saw all 40 of their shots – including seven by Ryan Spooner – stopped in a 6-0 loss to St. John’s on Sunday.

- The Pirated pulled off a wild comeback victory against the Falcons on Friday night. Portland scored four times in the second period after falling behind 4-1 before allowing a late goal in the middle frame, sending the two teams tied into the third period. After a scoreless stanza, Pirates blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson beat Paul Dainton 19 seconds into overtime.

- After starting the season with seven goals in his first 11 games, Charlie Coyle (East Weymouth, Mass.) has now gone seven straight games without a tally.

- On the flip side, Chris Kreider (Boxford, Mass.) now has three goals in his last four games. The Rangers' prized prospect had just one tally in his first 12 games this season.

- Jon DiSalvatore (South Windsor, Conn.) notched career point No. 500 over the weekend in his 696th AHL game. He ranks fourth among active AHL players in career scoring. 

Player of the Week

Tim Kennedy, Worcester Sharks

The Sharks won two of their three games over the weekend thanks largely to Kennedy’s efforts. The well-traveled forward had a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win over Manchester Friday, chipped in three helpers in Saturday’s 5-1 thrashing of the Pirates and even had an assist (and was plus-1) in a 6-1 setback against Syracuse on Sunday.

Kennedy finished the week with six points and a plus-3 rating in three games.

The Week Ahead

Here’s how the schedule looks for the Seaside Seven:

Friday, Nov. 30

Bridgeport @ Hershey (7:00)
Springfield @ Manchester (7:00)
Worcester @ Portland (7:00)
Connecticut @ Providence (7:05)

Saturday, Dec. 1

Worcester @ Bridgeport (7:00)
Syracuse @ Connecticut (7:00)
Providence @ Portland (7:00)
Manchester @ Springfield (7:00)

Sunday, Dec. 2

Portland @ Manchester (3:00)
Worcester @ Providence (3:05)
Norfolk @ Bridgeport (5:00)
Springfield @ Connecticut (5:00)

Jesse Connolly can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.