Robert Nilsson and Rob Collins scored and Wade Dubielewicz made 24 saves as Bridgeport pulled out a 2-1 win at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in Game 1 of their East Division semifinal series on Thursday night.
Game 2 is Saturday in Wilkes-Barre.
Both goaltenders made some big saves early while their respective teams were on the power play. The Penguins’ Dany Sabourin denied Matt Koalska on a first-period breakaway while Sound Tigers netminder Wade Dubielewicz slid across the crease to make a right-pad save on Maxime Talbot in the middle frame.
After the teams raced through an intense but scoreless first period, the Sound Tigers took the first lead 1:45 into the second when Sean Bergenheim zipped a cross-slot feed from the left circle to Nilsson who, from his off wing in the right circle, was able to beat Sabourin and make it 1-0.
Bridgeport doubled its lead just past the mid-point of the game when Collins, the team’s all-time leading scorer, blasted his first postseason goal through traffic at the 10:49 mark of the middle period off a nice feed from behind the net by Justin Papineau.
However, the Penguins pulled right back to within one at 2-1 when Jonathan Filewich beat Dubielewicz from the slot just 26 seconds after the Collins goal.
PORTLAND 6, PROVIDENCE 0
Meanwhile, in the Atlantic Division, the Portland Pirates got a goal and four assists from defenseman Maxim Kondratiev en route to a 6-0 victory over the Providence Bruins in Game 1 on Thursday.
Game 2 is Saturday in Portland.
Kondratiev, acquired by Anaheim mid-season in the deal that sent Petr Sykora to the New York Rangers, recorded a point on each of the Pirates’ four first-period goals as the regular-season division champions raced out to a commanding 4-0 lead through 20 minutes.
Kondratiev then assisted on the first of Zenon Konopka‘s two goals to become the first AHL defenseman in five years (Chris Kelleher, 2001) to record five points in a playoff game.
Simon Ferguson, Kent Huskins and Curtis Glencross also scored for the Pirates, and Jani Hurme made 19 saves for the shutout.
Bobby Ryan selected second overall by the Mighty Ducks in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, recorded an assist in his professional debut.
The teams combined for 163 penalty minutes on the night, 134 in the third period alone.