Late goals trip up Sound Tigers
Updated 9:40 pm, Sunday, February 17, 2013
BRIDGEPORT -- Too many things went wrong Sunday for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, too many plays that didn't happen, too many trips to the penalty box.
The combination let them blow a lead to the Norfolk Admirals, who tied it with 3:58 remaining and scored 1:57 into overtime to beat Bridgeport 3-2 at Webster Bank Arena.
"You know how hard it is to come back?" Bridgeport coach Scott Pellerin said. "Statistically, going into the third period behind? We can't let other teams do that to us."
Going into Sunday, AHL teams had gone to the third trailing 557 times and had won only 76. Bridgeport has done it only once, a couple of weeks ago in Hartford.
But Emerson Etem scored on a rebound on the power play to tie it. Defenseman Mat Clark sneaked ahead of Brandon DeFazio in overtime to score his first goal in 100 games. Bridgeport has lost three in a row after winning three in a row.
"We've just got to get better at managing the game," said Bridgeport defenseman Matt Donovan, who was in the penalty box for Etem's goal. "We've got to learn to play with a lead. We've done it before this season. We've got to get back to how we were doing it."
Attendance was 3,852.
After two games when they got, as Pellerin called it Saturday, the "short end of the stick" in calls from officials, the Sound Tigers gave the Admirals eight power plays and earned only two of their own from referee Ryan Fraser.
"Maybe (that came from) a little bit of overaggressiveness," said Donovan, who took a boarding penalty and a cross-checking minor.
"We've been pushing ourselves to play hard, to be hard to play against. We've got to know the right time to do that and to do it the right way."
"He was unbelievable," Pellerin said. "If we would play and work as hard as a team as he's been working, we wouldn't be in this situation."
Mike Halmo gave the Sound Tigers a 1-0 lead in the first with a backhander from the slot. The Admirals tied it on a power play in the second -- Devante Smith-Pelly's pass attempt went in off Donovan's stick -- but Chad Costello took a pass from Matt Watkins, fresh off the bench, and beat Frederik Andersen to restore the lead.
Bridgeport spent too little time around Andersen in the last two periods. Norfolk outshot the Sound Tigers 29-13 after the first intermission, which helped the Admirals outscore them 3-1.
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1. KEVIN POULIN, BRIDGEPORT: This game's ugly without him.
2. MAT CLARK, NORFOLK: Stay-at-home defensemen sent everyone home.
3. SAMI VATANEN, NORFOLK: Put a good shot on goal for Emerson Etem to finish.
UNSUNG HERO: Mike Halmo got in a good spot to score the first goal.
UP NEXT: Friday at Springfield, 7 p.m.
-- MICHAEL FORNABAIO
Norfolk 0 1 1 1--3
Bridgeport 1 1 0 0--2
First Period -- 1, Bridgeport, Halmo 2, 8:03. Penalties -- Niederreiter, Bpt (hooking), 5:03; Smaby, Nor (interference), 9:01; Pelley, Nor (cross-checking), 12:01; DeFazio, Bpt (tripping), 15:45.
Second Period -- 2, Norfolk, Smith-Pelly 6 (Sexton), 3:42 (pp). 3, Bridgeport, Costello 2 (Watkins, Donovan), 11:44. Penalties -- Halmo, Bpt (roughing), 1:46; Donovan, Bpt (boarding), 7:34; Watkins, Bpt (high-sticking), 7:57; Cantin, Bpt (tripping), 17:00.
Third Period -- 4, Norfolk, Etem 13 (Vatanen, Hendry), 16:02 (pp). Penalties -- Cantin, Bpt (boarding), 1:04; Irwin, Nor (slashing), 11:44; Cantin, Bpt (high-sticking), 11:44; Donovan, Bpt (cross-checking), 14:56.
Overtime -- 5, Norfolk, Clark 1 (Brittain, Hendry), 1:57. Penalties -- None.
Shots on goal -- Norfolk 13-15-13-1--42. Bridgeport 10-7-4-2--23.
Power play opportunities -- Norfolk 2 of 8, Bridgeport 0 of 2.
Goaltenders -- Norfolk, Andersen 10-10-1 (23 shots-21 saves). Bridgeport, Poulin 15-13-3 (42-39).
Attendance -- 3,852. Referee -- R. Fraser. Linesmen -- Baker, Simeon.