Bridgeport, CT – Former Sound Tiger Micheal Haley scored two goals against his former club, but it was Mike Halmo who saved the day for the Sound Tigers, as his first goal of the season lifted Bridgeport to a 4-3 win over the Connecticut Whale on Sunday afternoon at the Webster Bank Arena.
Haley jumped out quickly against his former team as he scored just 28 seconds into the game to give the Whale an early 1-0 lead:
After five seasons in the New York Islanders organization, Haley departed as a free agent during the off-season, signing a two-year deal with the New York Rangers, and missed out on an opportunity to compete for a full-time NHL role due to the lockout. In his first game at the Webster Bank Arena since changing organizations, Haley proved to be a major force in the first period for the Whale.
Also having an impact was Sound Tigers defenseman Matt Donovan, who led the Sound Tigers defense with 10 goals last season, but was without one until Sunday afternoon when he tied the game with his first of the season at 9:06 of the opening period:
The tie score was short-lived as Whale rookie Kyle Jean’s wraparound at 13:57 reclaimed the Whale lead, which was extended 39 seconds later on Haley’s 2nd goal of the period:
Bridgeport’s comeback came later in the 2nd period, but not without some tense moments. Connecticut native Colin McDonald was assessed with a game misconduct at 1:38 of the period after he boarded Jyri Niemi, who ended up having to be removed off of the ice by a stretcher, but according to several sources named on Mike Fornabaio’s post-game blog appears to be fine.
Niemi’s injury also seemed to rattle the rest of the Whale, who were unable to generate any offense on their power play, and then committed several key penalties that would lead to a pair of Sound Tigers goals from Brock Nelson and Travis Hamonic:
The Sound Tigers completed their comeback in the third period as Mike Halmo broke free from the Whale defense, while Jon Landry’s home run pass found him in stride at 15:06 for the game-winning goal:
Halmo’s game is very reminiscent of the style that Haley displayed during his salad days with the Sound Tigers, so it might be fitting that on Sunday afternoon it was one of the “new guard” that put home the game winning goal against Haley’s new team.
Anders Nilsson started his second straight game and stopped 16 shots in the win. Casey Cizikas was injured in the first period and did not return. While no further details were provided, the absence sounded precautionary.
With three straight wins under their belt, the Sound Tigers travel to Wilkes-Barre to face the Penguins on Friday night at 7pm.