DUBIE GIVES TIGERS 2-0 SERIES LEAD
By Kerry Gwydir
A three-goal explosion in the second period and the combination of superb penalty killing and clutch goaltending by Wade Dubielewicz (42 saves) led the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to a 3-2 Game 2 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday night at the Wachovia Center. The win gives the Sound Tigers a 2-0 lead in the East Division Semifinals with Game 3 Sunday at Bridgeport's Arena at Harbor Yard at 3:00 pm. Expect Islanders fans to make the trek to Bridgeport in full force for what should be an intense matinee.
"The Penguins showed in the third period what kind of team they are," said Bridgeport coach Dave Baseggio after the game. "But we're thrilled with how we've played so far this series. Dubie was the difference in both games, but that's the playoffs for you. Our guys have worked hard and we've been opportunistic. We're looking to give the Sound Tigers and Islanders fans a big performance on Sunday."
The action from Thursday's 2-1 Bridgeport win carried over immediately into Game 2 as both teams went right at each other from the drop of the puck. The hitting was fierce, the pace was furious and the raucous Wilkes-Barre crowd energetically urged their players on.
The Sound Tigers spent much of the second half of the first stanza shorthanded as Sean Bergenheim, who played an extremely feisty first, wound up being tagged for four minor penalties. Bridgeport's penalty killers, led by Dubielewicz, managed to fend off the Wilkes-Barre attack each time.
Bridgeport dominated the second period, reeling off three straight goals until a controversial Wilkes-Barre tally finally got the hosts on the board. Jeff Tambellini blasted-home his first goal as a Sound Tiger just 2:25 in when he rifled home a centering pass from Blake Comeau. The 2004 second rounder surveyed things down low to the right of Marc-Andre Fleury, which allowed him to find Tambellini unchecked for a shot that beat the Wilkes-Barre goaltender over the left shoulder.
Six minutes later, Rob Collins recorded his second goal of the playoffs via the power play when he beat Fleury with a one-timer from the left faceoff dot. Robert Nilsson fired a pass through the slot to Collins to set up the scoring sequence. Tambellini, playing the point on the power play, garnered the second helper for his second point of the game.
"A great pass from Robert," said Collins.
David Masse opened up a 3-0 lead for the Sound Tigers at the 9:54 mark off a re-direction in the high slot. Bruno Gervais made the play happen by walking the puck from the right boards, then faking a shot to commit a Wilkes-Barre player to the ice. The Bridgeport defenseman then unleashed a slapper from the blueline that Masse managed to tip past Fleury.
Bridgeport should have had a 3-0 lead going into the second, but Wilkes-Barre's Jonathan Filewich was awarded a goal off a deflection in front that clearly hit the crossbar behind Dubielewicz. The Baby Pens were awarded a goal with seven minutes to go in the second by the on-ice official as replay is not available at the AHL level.
In the third, the Baby Pens threw all they could at the Bridgeport net, but Dubielewicz was the star of the show. For stopping 20 of 21 shots in the third period and making 42 for the game, Dubielewicz was named the game's the first star.
"When we win a game, Dubie is usually our best player," said Gervais. "That was definitely the case tonight."
Wilkes-Barre received a great chance to get one back with 13:21 left in regulation when Collins and Cole Jarrett were sent to the penalty box simultaneously. Dubielewicz made two great stops off blasts from Chris Kelleher, but the Sound Tigers had to contend with another penalty with 51 seconds left in the 5-on-3 after Steve Regier was called for roughing in front of his net. But Dubielewicz made two more big stops off Krys Kolanos to repel the attack, and then drew a penalty to Kolanos after the former Phoenix Coyotes' first rounder sticked the goaltender after the whistle.
Shane Endicott pulled the hosts to within one with five minutes to go in regulation with a shorthanded goal as he banked a shot off Denis Grebeshkov behind Dubielewicz. The defenseman attempted to prevent a 2-on-1 feed to Maxime Talbot, but instead had the puck inadvertently hit off his body and over the goal line.
Wilkes-Barre pushed for the equalizer in the final minutes, but the pesky Sound Tigers didn't crack as they shut down the Penguins' shooting lanes and eventually worked the clock until the end.
"Any time you start a series with two wins on the road, you take it," said Baseggio. "But there's room for us to improve, and the guys know it. To say that Sunday is a crucial game is an understatement."
RW Jeff Hamilton (concussion), C Ryan O'Marra (eye) and D Allan Rourke (groin) are day-to-day...The series now switches to Bridgeport, where Game 3 is Sunday at 3:05 pm and Game 4 has a 7:05pm faceoff at the Arena at HarborYard...For ticket info call 203-334-GOAL...Long Island fans can purchase a special $16 round-trip fare on the Port Jefferson Ferry during the playoffs. Advance purchase is required through New England Tours by calling 631-473-5138 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The last ferry will also wait until 15 minutes after the end of the game or 10:30 p.m., whichever comes first, to depart following weekend playoff games at Bridgeport's Arena at Harbor Yard. Log on to www.bpjferry.com to find out more.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
10 Sean Bergenheim - 23 Jeremy Colliton - 11 Robert Nilsson
9 Jeff Tambellini - 19 Rob Collins - 14 Blake Comeau
58 David Masse - 24 Matt Koalska - 15 Masi Marjamaki
36 Chris Thompson - 39 Steve Regier - 17 Justin Papineau
12 Bruno Gervais - 8 Cole Jarrett
3 Denis Grebeshkov - 41 Harlen Pratt
21 Ryan Caldwell - 25 Tomi Pettinen
31 Wade Dubielewicz
29 Fredric Cloutier
28 Matt Hussey 16 Erik Christensen - 11 Krystofer Kolanos
13 Daniel Carcillo - 23 Ryan Stone - 15 Kenny Corupe
17 Guillaume Lefebvre 21 Maxime Talbot - 18 Jonathan Filewich
10 Stephen Dixon 14 Shane Endicott 27 Dennis Bonvie
26 Ryan Lannon - 19 Ryan Whitney
5 Noah Welch - 4 Chris Kelleher
20 Paul Bissonnette - 33 Drew Fata
29 - Marc-Andre Fleury
35 - Danny Sabourin