The Bridgeport Report: Week 3
Scott Eansor scored three more times and Tanner Fritz collected five points (one goal, four assists) last week as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (2-4-0-0), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, notched two points in their first three-game series of the season. Bridgeport currently occupies sixth place in the Atlantic Division standings heading into this weekend's action against the Hartford Wolf Pack (3-3-0-1) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (4-2-0-0).
The Sound Tigers are coming off a commanding 6-3 victory over the Wolf Pack on Sunday, helped by a balanced offense and a strong first period. Mitch Vande Sompel recorded his first professional goal in just his sixth appearance, while Eansor and Fritz also scored in a three-goal opening frame. In addition, Michael Dal Colle, Kyle Burroughs and Steve Bernier (pictured) found the back of the net as Bridgeport snapped a three-game slide with a win over its in-state rival. Between the pipes, Kristers Gudlevskis (2-1-0) made 22 saves on 25 shots.
The previous two days weren't as successful for the Sound Tigers, which included a 5-2 loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and a 6-3 loss to the Laval Rocket. On Friday, Bridgeport fell behind the Phantoms with three goals allowed in the first 40 minutes before Bernier and Ben Holmstrom beat goaltender Dustin Tokarski 47 seconds apart in the third. However, it wasn't enough in the setback. Twenty-four hours later, Eansor scored twice and Travis St. Denis chipped in a power-play goal in Bridgeport's home opener, but Laval notched more than five goals for the fourth time in five games and earned the victory.
The Sound Tigers return to action this Friday with their first trip to the XL Center this season. Bridgeport will rematch Hartford at 7:15 p.m. before circling back to Webster Bank Arena for a 7 p.m. contest against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday. Tickets for that game are on sale now and fans can also follow all of the action online through the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHL Live.
The week ahead:
Friday, Oct. 27 at Hartford Wolf Pack (7:15 p.m.): Friday's matchup will be the second of 10 meetings against the Wolf Pack this season, and the first of five games at the XL Center.
Saturday, Oct. 28 vs. W-B/Scranton Penguins (7 p.m.): Halloween comes early as the first 2,000 fans at Saturday's game will receive a Sound Tigers trick-or-treat bag at the door, which can be used to collect goodies on the concourse throughout the game. In addition, all fans are invited to participate in a costume contest at Webster Bank Arena. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the first matchup of the season against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Click here for tickets!
News and Notes:
Top of the Leaderboard: Scott Eansor has already become a household name among Sound Tigers fans, and the rest of the American Hockey League is beginning to take notice. The rookie forward has seven goals in his first six professional games, which is tied for the league lead with Daniel Sprong (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) and Danick Martel (Lehigh Valley). In addition, Eansor has scored at least one goal in five of the Bridgeport's six games and leads the team in points (seven) and power-play goals (two). He is also second on the team in shots (18). Last season, Eansor helped the Seattle Thunderbirds win the Western Hockey League Championship, while serving as co-captain alongside Islanders center Mathew Barzal.
Continuing To Impress: Third-year forward Tanner Fritz finished second on the Sound Tigers in scoring last season and he is picking up right where he left off to begin the 2017-18 campaign. After another strong performance last weekend, Fritz leads the Sound Tigers in assists (five) and multi-point games (three), and is on a three-game point streak entering Friday's game in Hartford.
Going Streaking: Veteran winger Steve Bernier scored twice last weekend and is now on a team-best five game point streak (four goals, one assist), dating back to Oct. 13 against the Charlotte Checkers. The 32-year-old is second on the team in goals, third in shots (18) and tied for third in points after earning 26 points (16 goals, 10 assists) in 33 games prior to injury last season.
Quick Hits: The Sound Tigers eclipsed the six-goal mark on Sunday for the first time since Dec. 14, 2016... Bridgeport has outshot its opponent in all but one games this season and is currently 10th in the AHL in shots per game (30.83)… Casey Bailey is expected to play his 150th professional game on Friday… Chris Gibson is ninth on the Sound Tigers all-time games played list for goaltenders (52), two behind Steve Valiquette (2001-03).
Goals: Scott Eansor (7)
Assists: Tanner Fritz (5)
Points: Scott Eansor, Tanner Fritz (7)
Plus/Minus: Kyle Burroughs (+5)
Penalty Minutes: Ross Johnston (26)
Power-play goals: Scott Eansor (2)
Shots: Casey Bailey (22)
The New York Islanders (4-3-1) jumped above .500 for the first time this season and improved to 2-0-1 at home following a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks at Barclays Center on Saturday. Former Sound Tigers Anders Lee (two goals) and Josh Bailey (goal-of-the-year candidate) both had strong performances, while captain John Tavares (three points) and Thomas Greiss (28 saves) helped pave the way. Lee, Bailey and Tavares currently lead the offense with six points each and former Sound Tigers Brock Nelson and Casey Cizikas aren't far behind with five points in eight games. The Islanders return to action tonight with a 7 p.m. puck drop against the Arizona Coyotes at home.
The ECHL's Worcester Railers HC (2-0-0-0) topped the Manchester Monarchs for the second time in as many games with a 2-0 victory in Manchester, N.H. on Saturday. Mitch Gillam stopped all 28 shots he faced and defenseman Mike Cornell, who signed an AHL contract with the Sound Tigers in September, scored his first goal of the year in Worcester's only game last week. The Railers return to action tomorrow night when the club begins a three-game trip out west, visiting the Colorado Eagles at 9:05 p.m. Worcester then battles the Utah Grizzlies on Friday and Saturday before returning home to face the Toledo Walleye on Halloween.
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). 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 email@example.com 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 entertainment happening every home game at Webster Bank Arena. For further information on ticket or sponsorship opportunities, call our office at (203) 345-2300 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep up with the latest Sound Tigers news on Facebook and on Twitter. For more team information, log on to soundtigers.com.