Kellen Jones’ fourth goal of the season was the lone tally for the Sound Tigers, which opened the scoring in the first six minutes, Meanwhile, Christopher Gibson (19-14-3) made 28 saves on 30 shots and Warren Foegele scored twice for the Checkers.
Bridgeport concluded the season with five straight losses for the first and only time in 2017-18. On the flip side, the Checkers won their seventh straight game and are 9-0-1-0 in their last 10.
The Sound Tigers gained an early advantage at 5:27 of the opening frame thanks to Jones’ even-strength tally. Josh Ho-Sang skated along the left boards, towards the blue line, before issuing a pass to Tyler Mueller at the stripe. Mueller collected the puck and fired a slap shot that was deflected in by Jones, who screened goaltender Jeremy Smith. Two of Jones’ four goals this season came against Charlotte.
The Checkers responded less than seven minutes later with their only power-play goal of the night, which came at 5-on-3. Following penalties to Travis St. Denis (tripping) and Ben Holmstrom (boarding), Lucas Wallmark sent a pass to Trevor Carrick between the circles with less than 10 seconds remaining on the two-man advantage. Carrick stepped into a wrist shot and beat Gibson top shelf to level the game at 1-1. It was Carrick’s 11th goal of the year and fourth on the power play.
Charlotte took the lead for good at 2:30 of the second period. Foegele received a pass from Patrick Brown on the right side before he skated behind Gibson’s net. The rookie forward fought to keep possession along the end boards before he drug the puck out front and forced a forehand shot past Gibson’s shoulder to make it 2-1.
Despite heavy offensive pressure in the third period, especially late, the Sound Tigers couldn’t bounce back and instead, Julien Gauthier and Foegele each scored an empty-net goal in the final minute of regulation. Foegele’s tally was his 28th of the season, which ranks second among all first-year players in the AHL.
The Sound Tigers finished the game 0-for-2 on the power play and 7-for-8 on the penalty kill. Charlotte outshot Bridgeport 32-20, while Smith (13-13-1) made 19 saves. The Sound Tigers also fell to 8-8-1-0 all-time in regular-season finales.
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