HERSHEY, Pa. -- One more time, Kenny Reiter was waiting in the runway to be named one of the three stars of the game. And one more time, after the Bridgeport Sound Tigers' 1-0 overtime loss to the Bears at Giant Center, he somehow wasn't the winning goalie.
"We talked in the hallway before the stars," Bridgeport coach Scott Pellerin said.
"I said, `Don't change.'" The only thing the Sound Tigers, who came inches away from a desperately needed two points, needed to change was the support they've gotten for Reiter.
Since he came up from Fort Wayne (ECHL) last month, Reiter has four starts. He has played them to a 1.94 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage, allowing just eight goals.
Bridgeport has scored five goals for him in those four games. He's 0-3-1 with two losses in overtime but was one of the three stars in all four.
"I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing," Reiter said. "The win's going to come. Give the guys a lot of credit. They battled hard." He held a finger and thumb on his right hand about an inch apart. "We were right there." They were. Philipp Grubauer (second AHL shutout) stopped Brock Nelson twice on breakaways; the second time, Nelson put the rebound off the left post. Nino Niederreiter had a partial breakaway stopped as well.
"I get a shot that goes off the post -- if that goes in, it's a 1-0 game, it's over," Nelson said. "It's a matter of finding that extra inch." Bridgeport remained six points behind Hershey and the Connecticut Whale, who are tied for seventh place in the Eastern Conference; the top eight make the playoffs. One more game slipped away; just 16 remain.
Reiter looked good throughout, putting himself in good position to make big saves.
"I saw pretty much 90, 95 percent of the opportunities," Reiter said. "The guys had great sticks, deflecting pucks up into the netting." They couldn't get the last chance. Jon Landry's stick broke on a shot, and as he went for a change, Bridgeport never quite seemed to recover as the Bears broke out.
"I battled to get here," Reiter said. "I'm just going to keep battling to stay here and try to get better every day, to make the guys better every day."
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1. PHILIPP GRUBAUER, HERSHEY: Finished with a 27-save shutout.
2. KENNY REITER, BRIDGEPORT: Could a goalie have worse luck? Made 31 saves.
3. GARRETT MITCHELL, HERSHEY: Got in on the forecheck, then got open to score the winner.
UNSUNG HERO: Scott Campbell blocked shots as usual.
UP NEXT: Sunday vs. Albany, 3 p.m.
Bridgeport................................................. 0 0 0 0--0
Hershey ......................................................0 0 0 1--1
First Period -- No scoring. Penalties -- Orlov, Her (slashing), 7:05; Wishart, Bpt (hooking), 8:50.
Second Period -- No scoring. Penalties -- DiSalvatore, Her (tripping), 2:43; Niederreiter, Bpt (slashing), 3:38; Schilling, Her (holding), 7:48; Riley, Bpt (slashing), 10:05; Kabanov, Bpt (hooking), 14:27.
Third Period -- No scoring. Penalties -- Schilling, Her (delay of game), 5:49; Halmo, Bpt (slashing), 11:35.
Overtime -- 1, Hershey, Mitchell 12 (Taffe), 2:49. Penalties -- None.
Shots on goal -- Bridgeport 5-11-10-1--27. Hershey 10-11-9-2--32.
Power play opportunities -- Bridgeport 0 of 4, Hershey 0 of 5.
Goaltenders -- Bridgeport, Reiter 0-4-1 (32 shots-31 saves). Hershey, Grubauer 9-6-1 (27-27).
Attendance -- 10,825. Referees -- Chmielewski, Sylvain. Linesmen -- Lemon, Sylvester.