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By Bridgeport Sound Tigers

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BRIDGEPORT, CT - The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (26-16-1-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, suffered their first loss since Jan. 14 in a 5-2 setback to the Springfield Thunderbirds (17-20-6-2) at Webster Bank Arena on Saturday.

Thunderbirds forward Kyle Rau stole the show with the first hat trick in franchise history, while Kyle Burroughs and Tanner Fritz each scored for the Sound Tigers. The loss snapped Bridgeport’s eight-game win streak, which was tied for the fourth longest stretch in team history. It also snapped a six-game win streak at Webster Bank Arena.

The Sound Tigers opened the scoring in the first six minutes of the game when Burroughs notched his first tally of the season. Connor Jones won a faceoff in the left circle to Fritz at the blue line, where he proceeded to make a diagonal pass to Burroughs on the right wing. The second-year defenseman gathered the puck, skated through the circle and ripped a high shot over Reto Berra’s glove at the 5:24 mark.

Rau responded to even the game with his first of three goals at 11:40 of the opening period. Eric Robinson created the attack with a backhand pass to the high slot, where Sena Acolatse poked it to the doorstep. In front, Rau moved from right to left and beat Stephon Williams’ glove side.

The Thunderbirds took their first lead of the game on Rau’s second goal at 8:31 of the second. Robinson drilled a shot on target from the right point that Williams turned back, but Acolatse corralled the second chance. He spun and fed the puck to Rau in the slot, where the latter was denied on another save by Williams. However, the rebound again jumped loose and Rau capitalized from the top of the crease to make it 2-1.

Bridgeport tied the game at 2-2 with Fritz’s second goal in as many nights at 12:38 of the middle frame. On an odd-man rush, Travis St. Denis gained the zone and sent a pass across to Fritz on the right wing, where Fritz capitalized by releasing a quick shot past Berra’s blocker. It was his 13th goal of the season, three off the team lead.

Springfield went on to score three unanswered goals between the second and third periods to earn the win. The first came at 15:23 of the second period courtesy of Juho Lammikko. Robinson made a behind-the-back pass to Lammikko in the slot, where the rookie hammered a quick shot over Williams’ glove and into the net for the eventual game-winning strike.

Rau made it 4-2 at 12:08 of the third period when he completed Springfield’s first ever hat trick. Williams stopped an initial shot but couldn’t control the rebound, which allowed Rau to lift the second chance over the goaltender’s glove. Ryan Horvat and Paul Thompson each recorded an assist.

The Thunderbirds capped the scoring with an empty netter and shorthanded goal in the final three minutes. With Denis Malgin in the box for holding, the Sound Tigers pulled Williams in the final seconds of the power play, searching for a 6-on-4 opportunity to close within one. However, Anthony Greco won a race to the puck in the Sound Tigers’ zone and forced a sharp-angle, backhand shot into the empty cage at the 17:20 mark.

Bridgeport went 0-for-5 on the power play and a perfect 2-for-2 on the penalty kill. Williams (6-13-0) made 27 saves in the loss, while Berra (10-11-2) stopped 25 shots to erase a personal five-game losing streak.

The Thunderbirds outshot the Sound Tigers 32-27.

Hockey Happy Hour: The Sound Tigers conclude an eight-game homestand on Tuesday with a 7 p.m. rematch against the Springfield Thunderbirds at Webster Bank Arena. Fans are encouraged to take advantage of $1 hot dogs and $5 beers (for those 21 and older) at all first floor concession stands presented by Hummel Bros. In addition, it’s another AAA Discount Night. Receive $2.00 off your game ticket at the box office when you show your AAA Membership Card. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Doors open at 6 p.m.

For additional details or to reserve seats for any of the 2016-17 giveaway and theme nights , please call the Sound Tigers’ front office at (203) 345-2300.

Executive suites and premium seat packages are also available by calling the team’s front office at (203) 345-4841. If you are interested in group outings with your friends, family, co-workers, or clients an unforgettable experience at a discounted rate, call the group sales hotline at (203) 345-2300 Ext. 7.

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