BRIDGEPORT -- There haven't been many Bridgeport Sound Tigers defensemen with the kind of offensive wizardry Matt Donovan can provide at any given time.
Back down from the New York Islanders for the first time this season, Donovan's two assists helped the Sound Tigers to a 3-2 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Donovan played basically everywhere Calvin de Haan had played, the man who was called up when Donovan was sent down.
"I want to see guys go up. I'm so happy for Cal," said Ryan Strome, beneficiary of both of Donovan's assists.
"At the same time, you can't help but have a little smile on your face. (Donovan) makes unbelievable plays."
The win at Webster Bank Arena snapped a six-game winless streak. Attendance was 5,213.
Donovan said he had been putting a lot of pressure on himself offensively with the Islanders recently. They sent him down Thursday.
"I think a lot of guys come down and think they don't have to work as hard," Donovan said. "I want to come down and work as hard as I can and hopefully get some confidence back with the puck."
He looked pretty confident on the assists. The first was a power-play goal with 38.9 seconds left in the first period. He got J.T. Miller down to block a shot that never came, faked out another player while Miller rolled to try to block him again, and waited while Miller tried to poke the puck away.
Donovan then had a lane to Anders Lee in the left circle. Lee backhanded a feed to Strome for a redirection in front.
"That's what (Donovan) does," Strome said. "I think he's going to come down here and get some confidence. ... Once he gets that, he's going to be a solid NHLer."
Strome finished off a goal 54 seconds into the second period off a Hartford turnover. Strome tried to set up Mike Halmo in the slot, but he couldn't get the handle, so he got it to Donovan at the center point, who found Strome in the right circle.
"(Donovan) looked like he did last year," Bridgeport coach Scott Pellerin said. "You always wonder how a guy is going to react. He handled it like a professional."
Donovan became the 14th player, and just the second defenseman, to score 100 career points as a Sound Tiger. Five-year captain Mark Wotton was the other defenseman with 110.
The Wolf Pack cut into the lead on Shawn O'Donnell's goal from the slot, but the last 34:55 were scoreless.
Hartford had a chance to tie it late in the second on a four-on-two rush, but Donovan blocked Brandon Mashinter's shot; Conor Allen had a gaping net after the ricochet, but the Hartford defenseman put it wide from a bad angle to the right of the net.
Allen scored on a right-point blast 2:50 into the first period. Lee tied it midway through the first, banking a shot off Allen's skate.
firstname.lastname@example.org; http://twitter.com/fornabaioctp; http://blog.connpost.com/fornabaio
1. MATT DONOVAN, BRIDGEPORT: After two months in the NHL, two assists Saturday.
2. RYAN STROME, BRIDGEPORT: The beneficiary of those two assists: two goals.
3. ANDERS LEE, BRIDGEPORT: Scored a big goal; assisted on Strome's first.
UNSUNG HERO: Scott
Mayfield got some extra responsibility late in the game and had a big fight in defense of Mike Keenan.
UP NEXT: Saturday at Albany, 5 p.m.
-- MICHAEL FORNABAIO
Hartford........................................1 1 0--2
Bridgeport.....................................2 1 0--3
First Period -- 1, Hartford, Allen 3 (Bourque, Mashinter), 2:50. 2, Bridgeport, Lee 7, 9:32. 3, Bridgeport, Strome 5 (Lee, Donovan), 19:21 (pp). Penalties -- Mashinter, Hfd (cross-checking), 12:12; McIlrath, Hfd (holding), 18:50.
Second Period -- 4, Bridgeport, Strome 6 (Donovan, Halmo), :54. 5, Hartford, O'Donnell 2 (Dupont), 5:05. Penalties -- Bickel, Hfd, major (fighting), 3:49; Johnson, Bpt, major (fighting), 3:49; Hartford bench, served O'Donnell (too many men), 6:22; Kantor, Hfd, major (fighting), 12:01; Mayfield, Bpt, major (fighting), 12:01; Bickel, Hfd, major (fighting), 12:09; Johnson, Bpt, double minor-major-misconduct (holding, instigating, fighting), 12:09.
Third Period -- No scoring. Penalties -- O'Donnell, Hfd, major (fighting), 12:29; Bruton, Bpt, major (fighting), 12:29; Syvret, Hfd (holding), 19:12; Halmo, Bpt (tripping), 20:00.
Shots on goal -- Hartford 7-5-9--21. Bridgeport 16-5-4--25.Power play opportunities -- Hartford 0 of 2, Bridgeport 1 of 4. Goaltenders -- Hartford, Malcolm 1-2-0 (25 shots-22 saves). Bridgeport, Reiter 2-3-2 (21-19).A: 5,213. Referee -- Hanson. Linesmen -- Baker, Briggs.