Sound Tigers Drop Season Opener, 2-1
Scott Eansor scored in his professional debut to put the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (0-1-0-0) within one midway through the third period on Saturday, but it wasn't enough in a 2-1 season-opening loss to the Binghamton Devils (1-0-0-0) at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena.
Between the pipes, Christopher Gibson stopped 22 of the 24 shots he faced and played steady throughout the night, but suffered the setback for the first time since Mar. 11, 2016, snapping his eight-game winning streak dating back to the 2015-16 season. The difference came from Devils rookie Nathan Bastian, who scored on a penalty shot late in the first period for his first professional goal, to lift the Devils to victory.
Binghamton's Blake Pietila opened the scoring with a shorthanded tally at 8:48 of the first period, beating Gibson and the Sound Tigers defense immediately off a faceoff. Kevin Rooney won the draw in the right circle, straight back to Pietila, where the third-year forward ripped a shot glove side to make it 1-0.
Bastian doubled the Devils' advantage and collected the game-winning goal at 15:46 of the opening frame. Joe Blandisi created the opportunity with a backhand stretch pass to Bastian behind the Sound Tigers defense that Devon Toews cancelled out with a hook to Bastian's torso. A penalty shot was instantly signaled that the rookie forward capitalized on with a forehand shot past Gibson's glove.
Eansor cut the Sound Tigers' deficit in half at 11:47 of the third period following more than 36 minutes of scoreless play. At even strength, Kane Lafranchise and Mitch Vande Sompel played catch at the blue line before the latter wristed a shot on goal that Eansor tipped for his first pro tally. In addition, Vande Sompel was credited with his first professional assist in his debut.
In an effort to even things up, head coach Brent Thompson elected to pull Gibson with 80 seconds remaining, but the Sound Tigers couldn't knock home the equalizer. Both teams finished the game 0-for-4 on the power play, while Bridgeport outshot Binghamton 27-24. Mackenzie Blackwood (1-0-0-0) made 26 saves in the Devils' win.
The game also included one fight when Ross Johnston and Ben Thomson dropped the gloves at 11:26 of the first period following Thomson's hit on defenseman Sebastian Aho, which Johnston took exception to.
Matt Gaudreau, Vande Sompel and Eansor all made their pro debuts in the game.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers continue their four-game road trip to open the 2017-18 season next weekend with a pair of games against the Charlotte Checkers at Bojangles Coliseum. The series kicks off on Friday with a 7:15 p.m. puck drop. Fans can follow all of the live action on the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHL Live, beginning with the pre-game show at 7 p.m.
Hottest Tickets in Town: The Sound Tigers will boast one of their most extensive and exciting promotional lineups in team history this season. This year's calendar will feature the return of Star Wars Night (Dec. 2), meet-and-greets with the Justice League (Nov. 11) and Marvel (Jan. 27) superheroes, and all-new promotions like a camouflage baseball cap (Jan. 13) and a kid's lunch box giveaway (Feb. 11). The promotional lineup kicks off with Opening Night on Oct. 21, featuring a Sound Tigers backpack giveaway to the first 3,000 kids courtesy of All Electric Construction and Communication. Click here to tickets.
Guarantee Your Seats: Season tickets and flex plans are on sale now for the 2017-18 campaign, offering the greatest savings and ultimate flexibility of all ticket packages. Pick between a full-season, 20-game, 15-game or 10-game plan and you'll also be entitled to exclusive benefits, including the ticket holder exchange policy, which means any unused tickets can be traded for future games. Seating options are broken down into six different pricing sections, giving you the flexibility to fit Sound Tigers' hockey into any kind of budget. Please contact Brad Dworin at 203-345-4813 or via firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to guarantee your seats.
About the Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Founded in 2001, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Hockey Club is the top minor league affiliate of the New York Islanders. Don't miss your chance to take part in the family fun that occurs during home games at Webster Bank Arena. For further information on ticket or sponsorship opportunities, call our office at (203) 345-2300 or e-mail email@example.com. For more team information, log on to soundtigers.com.