(Bridgeport, CT) – The Rochester Americans (19-25-0-2) scored two unanswered goals to come within one, but were unable to complete the comeback for the second straight game as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (26-15-1-1) rode a three-goal second period to claim their eighth straight win with a 3-2 decision Friday at the Webster Bank Arena.
Justin Bailey scored his team-leading 19th of the season, placing him one goal away from tying his rookie total at the end of last season. Fifth-year forward Dan Catenacci had a two-point night, including his fifth goal of the year, and newcomer Patrick Mullen tallied his first point in his first game as an Amerk, assisting on the goal by Catenacci. Fresh off his Top Goaltender performance at the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic, Linus Ullmark stopped 25 of 28 shots faced and was perfect in the both first and third periods.
Josh Ho-Sang’s multi-point night paced the Sound Tigers, which included his sixth goal on the season. Tanner Fritz notched his 12th goal, and with 5:27 remaining in the second, Ryan Pulock fired a shot past Ullmark from the right wing to round out the scoring for Bridgeport. Jaroslav Halak earned his sixth straight win with a 25-save effort for the Sound Tigers, who also extended their home win streak to six straight games.
A quiet first period of play gave way to an eventful second stanza, starting five minutes in when Casey Nelson fanned on a backhand as he tried to clear the puck from behind the Amerks net. Fritz skated past Nelson, stealing the puck and shooting it past Ullmark to give the hosts a 1-0 lead just 4:09 in.
Just over two minutes later, Ho-Sang streaked down the ice on a breakaway opportunity. The rookie fired off a forehand shot that was stopped by Ullmark, but the momentum of the save carried Ullmark – and the puck – into the back of the net for a 2-0 Sound Tigers advantage.
Bridgeport took its largest lead of the night with 5:27 remaining in the middle frame when Pulock launched the game-winning goal into the Amerks net, tallying his seventh of the season.
Before the period was up, Nelson sent the puck to Bailey, who fired it in from the slot to put the Amerks on the board. The second-year pro has found the back of the net 11 times in his last 13 games, tying him for fifth in the league in goals.
Rochester pulled within one at the 12:47 mark of the third period after Mullen, who officially joined the team yesterday, found Catenacci at the left corner for a quick release through the pads of Halak. With time winding down, the Amerks pulled Ullmark in favor of the extra attacker, but the Sound Tigers were able to hold on for the 3-2 victory.
Rochester returns to the XL Center on Saturday, Feb. 4 to face the Hartford Wolf Pack for the second time in 14 days and the fourth and final time of the campaign. Game is slated for a 7:30 p.m. start and can be heard live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Bailey (19), Catenacci (5)
BRI: Fritz (12), Ho-Sang (6), Pulock (7)
RCH: Ullmark – 25/28 (L)
BRI: Halak – 25/27 (W)
RCH: PP (0/0) / PK (1/1)
BRI: PP (0/1) / PK (0/0)