THE BRIDGEPORT REPORT
Missouri Mavericks (ECHL)
Record: 52-15-3-2 (109 pts)
Rank: 1st in Central Division, 1st in Western Conference
Playoffs: Lead Quad City Mallards 2-0 in First Round
Last Week in Review:
The Mavericks started their playoff run against the Quad City Mallards and are up 2-0. Josh Robinson received the Warrior Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Year Award with 28 wins, a 1.88 goals against average and a .931 save percentage.
Missouri began the week with a 6-3 beating of the Quad City Mallards on Saturday for Game 1 of the Kelly Cup playoffs. The Mallards only took less than two minutes to take the lead, but Darren Nowick tied it up midway through the period on Missouri’s second shot on goal. The Mavericks furthered their lead with a Tyler Barnes power play tally off of a Bryce Aneloski slap shot from the point at 14:16 of the second period. Quad City scored two more quick goals but were held off scoring any further. The tie was broken when Andrew Courtney fired one home with help from Jesse Graham at 3:39 of the final frame. The Mavericks took back the lead with a wacky goal by Zach Tolkinen at 16:42 when he sent a high wrister towards goaltender Brody Hoffman that was originally saved but fell out of Hoffman’s glove and into the net for the 4-3 lead. The home team then sealed the win with two empty netters by Chris Owens and Josh Holmstrom to take Game 1.
The Mavericks also took control of Game 2 with a 2-1 victory on Sunday. Missouri struck first with a top-shelf wrister from Reed Seckel at 10:52 with help from David deKastrozza and Holmstrom. The Mavs furthered their lead with a spin-o-rama move from the knees of Holmstrom that he netted glove side at 9:45 of the second frame. The Mallards were able to score one, but it was not enough to down the top team in the ECHL and the Mavericks took home the 2-1 win. Parker Milner got his shot to play in a playoff game making 28 saves.
4/16 – MO (6) vs. QC (3)
MO Goals: Darren Nowick, Andrew Courtney, Tyler Barnes, Zach Tolkinen, Chris Owens, Josh Holmstrom
4/17 – MO (2) vs. QC (1)
MO Goal: Reed Seckel, Josh Holmstrom
Player to Watch:
The longest tenured Maverick Andrew Courtney netted his first ECHL playoff goal and assist this week. Courtney has back-to-back 20+ goal seasons with 21 this season. He also has 19 helpers and 65 penalty minutes. Last season, he had a career-high 36 goals with 22 helpers.
NHL/AHL Contracted Players:
Jesse Graham has nine points in eleven games this season and notched an assist on Saturday. In 52 games with the Sound Tigers this season, he has five goals and 12 helpers. In 39 games last season with Bridgeport, he had three tallies and 16 assists.
Tyler Barnes netted a goal this week and has 24 goals and 37 assists in 69 games with the Mavs this season. In 71 games with the Toledo Walleye last season, he had 74 points.
Parker Milner took home his first ever ECHL playoff win on Sunday and his regular season win total was 17. He also has a .926 save percentage and 2.17 goals against average. Last season with the Quad City Mallards, he has a .920 percentage and a 2.28 GAA.
New York Islanders (NHL)
Record: 45-27-10 (100 pts)
Rank: 4th in Metropolitan Division, 5th in Eastern Conference
Playoffs: Lead Florida Panthers 2-1 in First Round
Last Week in Review:
The Islanders had a very successful week and now lead the Florida Panthers two games to one after three playoff games. Five former Sound Tigers scored one or more goals: Brock Nelson, Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo, Ryan Strome and Ryan Pulock. Familiar faces Alan Quine and Nelson joined Shane Prince to form a very successful new kid line with all of them having at least one point throughout the series.
The Islanders started the week a 5-4 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday for Game 1. The first two periods were back and forth with quick responses from both teams. Nelson lit the lamp first with help from a breakaway feed from Strome and wristed it stick side for the 1-1 tie at 6:39. Nielsen notched a top-shelf power play tally and John Tavares netted one stick side with just 21.8 seconds to go in the period but the game was tied 3-3 after two periods. The Isles took control of the third with two quick goals in the first 6:01, an Okposo top-shelf wrister and a Strome rebounder off a Quine shot for the win.
New York continued with a 3-1 loss in Game 2 on Friday. Captain Tavares scored the lone Islanders goal when he buried a rebound off the boards at 16:27 of the final frame but the momentum began too late. Thomas Greiss made 28 saves in net and went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
The Isles sealed their week with a 4-3 overtime victory in Game 3 on Sunday. The Islanders found themselves down 2-0 at the beginning of the second period. The comeback began with Ryan Pulock’s signature slap shot to cut the deficit to one goal at 5:21 of the second. The Panthers then answered back with their final goal of the game and then the Isles kept rolling. Shane Prince sent a wrister from a Pulock pass in the slot past Roberto Luongo at 11:48 and Frans Nielsen quickly followed with a backhander on the power play to tie it all up at 16:55. The third period was scoreless, so the game was sent to overtime. Thomas Hickey was the overtime hero with a wrister from former Sound Tigers Josh Bailey and Nelson for the win.
4/14– NYI (5) @ FLA (4)
NYI Goals: Brock Nelson, Frans Nielsen, John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Ryan Strome
4/15– NYI (1) @ FLA (3)
NYI Goal: John Tavares
4/17– NYI (4) vs. FLA (3) OT
NYI Goals: Ryan Pulock, Shane Prince, Frans Nielsen, Thomas Hickey
Player to Watch:
Defenseman Thomas Hickey has come up clutch in big opportunities this season with two game winners in the regular season along with another one this week for the playoffs. All three game-winners have been in one-goal games and his last regular season GWG secured the Islanders a playoff spot. During the regular season Hickey was a +9 and had six goals and 12 helpers. The former 4th overall pick has found his spark lately and been very vital to the team’s success.
Sound Tigers on Long Island:
Ryan Strome came up big with the game-winner for Game 1 and it was his third career NHL playoff goal. In 71 games in the regular season, he has eight goals and 20 assists. In 55 games with the Sound Tigers, Strome had 17 goals and 43 helpers for an impressive 60 points.
Frans Nielsen has two goals and an assist in three playoff games this season. During the regular season, he had 20 tallies and 32 helpers. Nielsen played 102 games with the Sound Tigers and notched 30 goals and 52 assists.
Ryan Pulock took home third star honors in Game 3 with his first ever NHL playoff
goal. He currently has 2 points in 14 regular season games. In 108 games for the Sound Tigers, Pulock has 34 goals and 30 helpers and was named to two All-Star teams.