On Friday night I was able to go out and see the Bridgeport Sound Tigers take on the Hartford Wolf Pack in another edition of the "Battle of Connecticut." The Sound Tigers and Wolf Pack are two American Hockey League teams, both based in the Nutmeg State. There used to be a team in New Haven called The Beast, but they unfortunately folded back in 1999 after only a couple seasons in the AHL. The Sound Tigers came around for the 2001-2002 season (their best season to date, for that matter) and have done pretty well since.
The Sound Tigers have done pretty well this season. Right now they're 15-5, which is good enough for second in the East Division behind the Hershey Bears (who have played two more games than Bridgeport). Friday night's affair was against a mediocre Wolf Pack, so the rivalry didn't have quite the same energy to it. Still, it was a fun game.
Bridgeport came out skating well, getting a few good early chances. But after about five minutes, they slowly started to get pounded. Hartford scored first off a goofy goal, and continued to pound Daniel Danis, the Bridgeport goaltender, with shot after shot. In the end, Danis made 45 saves, allowing just the one goal, and was more than deserving of the game's first star. But for the longest time, Bridgeport couldn't get anything going.
After two periods the shot margin was huge. It didn't look good. But once the third period came around, the Sound Tigers hit their stride. Walter put in a nifty goal over the Wolf Pack goaltender's (Wiikman) shoulder to tie it up at 1-1. A few minutes later, Smith scored on the power play to make it 2-1. Before Smith put it in, Hartfod had committed another penalty, which allowed Sillinger (who is re-habbing from an injury and hopes to rejoin the NHL affiliate New York Islanders soon) to put in a nifty goal to make it 3-1 just 19 seconds later. Hartford was stunned, and began to get sloppy. So sloppy that with under five minutes to go, Haskins broke through on a break-away to score a pretty goal on a penalty kill. That's right: Hartford was on the power play and gave up a break-away goal.
The final score was 4-1, which was a complete shock for any one who saw the barrage of shots the Wolf Pack put on in the first two periods. Quite a game for Danis, who was immense in goal. Good win for the Sound Tigers!