The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins lost for the sixth time in the last eight games with a 3-2 overtime defeat against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday.
The loss, coupled with a Lehigh Valley win, drops the Penguins (15-8-2-1) to fourth place in the Atlantic Division while the Phantoms move up to third.
The Penguins and Sound Tigers enjoyed a back-and-forth contest full of scoring chances and great goaltending on both sides at Webster Bank Arena. Greg McKegg got the Penguins on the board first, scoring on a wrap-around try 6:56 into the game.
Early in the second period, Bridgeport goalie Kristers Gudlevskis removed himself from the game with what was later announced as a lower body injury, and Christopher Gibson took his place in the Sound Tigers’ crease. Gibson performed well in his sudden relief appearance, denying the Penguins on all nine shots they threw his way in the second period.
While Gibson held Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at bay for the majority of the middle frame, Devon Toews brought Bridgeport even with its opponent by scoring 1:14 prior to the second intermission.
The third period was spent with the two clubs trading power play opportunities, and Scott Eansor gave Bridgeport a 2-1 lead with a man advantage marker at 13:46 of the final frame. Zach Aston-Reese answered for the Penguins 1:54 later, sending the game to overtime. The goal was the third of the season for Aston-Reese and snapped a 12-game goal-less drought.
Sebastian Aho earned Bridgeport the extra point by scoring on the backdoor during a carryover power play that spanned the third period and into overtime. Aho’s goal, the defenseman’s fourth game-winner this season, gave the Sound Tigers the 3-2 win just 26 seconds into the extra period.
Casey DeSmith made 30 saves in the loss. Gudlevskis recorded seven saves before being replaced by Gibson, who turned aside 14 of 15 shots faced to earn the win.
The Penguins take to the ice again on Dec. 22 when they host the Binghamton Devils, kicking off a four-game stretch at home.
•Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins signed defenseman Kevin Spinozzi to an American Hockey League contract for the remainder of the 2017-18 season on Saturday.
Spinozzi has been with the Penguins on a professional tryout agreement since September when he made the team out of training camp. The first-year pro has appeared in six games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season and earned his first AHL point with an assist on Dec. 15 at Hartford.
Prior to turning pro, the Granby, Québec native played five seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Sarnia Sting. Last year, Spinozzi set career highs in goals (13) and points (41) while serving as captain of the Sting. He wrapped up his OHL career with 28 goals and 85 assists for 113 points in 275 games played.