BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Goals have been coming for Paul Thompson as his overall game has come along.
They came in one big bunch Sunday for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Thompson's first career hat trick, three goals in a row in the second period, lifted the Penguins to a 5-3 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena.
It feels good, Thompson said about his first professional hat trick. It came at a good time, too. We didn't have the start we wanted. We found our game in the second.
Thompson beat Kevin Poulin from the left wing, from the slot and from the right wing. Kenny Reiter replaced Poulin for the third period.
Jeff Zatkoff, following up his shutout Friday in Manchester, made 37 saves. His best stops came when the game was still in doubt, including a couple off former Penguin Brandon DeFazio.
DeFazio scored in Bridgeport's 3-2 win Saturday over Hershey while the Penguins sat idle.
We knew coming in here it was a big game for our team, especially with (the Sound Tigers') quick turnaround after they played Hershey, Zatkoff said.
Credit to them, they came out of the gates. We were able to capitalize on a couple of lucky bounces and get a greasy road win.
Attendance was 8,525 as the Sound Tigers gave out free tickets as a community gesture in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The storm hit the area hard, leaving the rented homes of several Sound Tigers players damaged.
After former Sound Tigers defenseman Dylan Reese gave the Penguins a first-period lead, Bridgeport tied the game when Nino Niederreiter changed gears on Reese. Brock Nelson hit a post on a similar play.
In the first period, they came with a lot of speed, Penguins coach John Hynes said. We decided to try to spend more time in their end, try to wear their defense down. The big thing was trying to take away their speed.
The Penguins kept it deep for minutes at a time in the second. It might have helped create room for Thompson to score his natural hat trick.
One of Bridgeport's few dangerous shifts ended in Brian Gibbons' chip-out to Thompson up the left wing. He scored off the crossbar.
We had a defensive shift there, Thompson said. Gibby made a great play to chip it out, and I was fortunate it went in. It gave us some momentum.
Thompson looked to his right on an odd-man rush, found his passing lane to Gibbons blocked, and wrested his second goal through Poulin's legs. He completed the hat trick with a soft shot from the right side.
Thompson has four goals in the past two games and six in nine games after scoring 10 all of last year. He had two on Oct. 26 against Rochester, his second professional two-goal game.
He's a guy who's really developing, Hynes said. He's playing the way we want him to play. For him to get rewarded with goals, it's nice to see.
Gibbons scored on a breakaway in the third after John Persson cut the lead to 4-2. Nelson scored in the last minute.
Jayson Megna made his professional debut at center on the fourth line.
First Period -- 1, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Reese 2 (Dupuis, Dumoulin),4:58 (pp). 2, Bridgeport, Niederreiter 5 (Cizikas, Ness), 7:37.Penalties -- Donovan, Bpt (hooking), 3:46; Smith, WBS (hooking),12:00; Strait, WBS (boarding), 15:33.
Second Period -- 3, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Thompson 4 (Gibbons), 8:00.4, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Thompson 5 (Dumoulin), 12:41. 5,Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Thompson 6 (Uher, Peters), 19:23 . Penalties --Despres, WBS, major (fighting), 13:09; Hamonic, Bpt, minor-major(roughing, fighting), 13:09.
Third Period -- 6, Bridgeport, Persson 3 (Hill, Halmo), 1:59. 7,Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Gibbons 2, 4:56. 8, Bridgeport, Nelson 4(Donovan, Sundstrom), 19:29. Penalties -- Reese, WBS, double minor(roughing, unsportsmanlike conduct), 11:06; DeFazio, Bpt, double minor(roughing, unsportsmanlike conduct), 11:06; Reese, WBS (delay of game), 18:25; Cizikas, Bpt (tripping), 18:35.
Shots on goal -- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 12-15-5--32. Bridgeport 9-12-19--40.
Power play opportunities -- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 1 of 2, Bridgeport 0 of 3.
Goaltenders -- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Zatkoff 3-4-0 (40 shots-37saves). Bridgeport, Poulin 5-2-0 (27-23), Reiter (start third, 5-4).