A near record-breaking playoff crowd of 5,002 New York Islander fans, filled Bridgeport’s Webster Arena Saturday, only to see the SoundTigers fall 2-0 to the Hershey Bears.
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.
Each team made roster changes.
In goal, Bridgeport netminder Jeremy Smith replaced Game one winner Chris Gibson.
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.
Ness left that game on a stretcher but could reportedly return to the ice as early as Tuesday.
On Saturday, Ness was replaced in the lineup with Colby Williams (2015, 6th rd-Capitals).
After his 49 save performance on Friday, the Caps recalled Bears goalie Ilya Samsonov.
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.
The shot totals may have favored Bridgeport 39-32. The overall play, however, did not.
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.
In the third, Bridgeport started hitting bodies and the net more frequently, but it was too little too late as Vanecek preserved his shutout.
Brent Thompson has fewer roster options. The versatile Yannick Rathgeb was loaned to the Swiss National team in advance of the IIHF World Championship.
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.
The best of five series resumes Tuesday night at Hershey’s Giant Center.