Sound Tigers Battle Amerks, Marlies This Weekend
DATE TIME OPPONENT FOLLOW
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (16-12-3-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, tour through the North Division this weekend and wrap up a three-game road trip with a pair of games against the Rochester Americans (20-8-3-3) and Toronto Marlies (24-11-0-0). The action kicks off Friday with a 7:05 p.m. matchup against the Americans at Blue Cross Arena in Upstate New York. The Sound Tigers enter the weekend on a four-game unbeaten in regulation streak (3-0-1-0) following a 3-2 overtime loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Wednesday. Travis St. Denis (power play) and Michael Dal Colle each scored a first-period goal, and Christopher Gibson made 22 saves in his fourth straight start, but it wasn't enough as the Sound Tigers dropped to 4-4 beyond regulation this season.
TIGERS VS. AMERKS
Friday's game features the second of four meetings between the Sound Tigers and Americans this season, and the first of two matchups in New York. Rochester leads the series 1-0-0-0 following a 4-1 victory against Bridgeport last month, in which defenseman Zach Redmond led the way with two goals and one helper at Webster Bank Arena. Casey Bailey scored the Sound Tigers' lone tally on the power play and fifth-year goalie Kristers Gudlevskis made 29 saves. Bridgeport went 1-0-1-0 at Blue Cross Arena last season.
VIEW FROM ROCHESTER
The Amerks have won seven of their last 10 games and continue to be one of the AHL's strongest teams during the first half of the year. Rochester is currently second in the North Division, but the club is coming off of a 4-2 loss to the Laval Rocket last Saturday, in which Zach Remond and Sahir Gill each scored and Adam Wilcox made 21 saves on 24 shots. Gill now leads the team with 11 goals this season, while Redmond has climbed to third among all AHL defensemen in both goals (eight) and points (24). First-year scoring sensation C.J. Smith is also tied for second among AHL rookies in points (30) and leads all League rookies in assists (20). Rochester continues a three-game homestand on Friday.
TIGERS VS. MARLIES
Saturday's game will mark the first of two meetings between the Sound Tigers and Marlies this season, and the only matchup at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto. Bridgeport swept a two-game series against Toronto last season, including a 4-3 overtime victory on Mar. 2, 2017 in their only visit to Ontario's capital city in 2016-17.
VIEW FROM TORONTO
Sheldon Keefe's club enters the weekend on a two-game win streak and in first place in the North Division, but the Marlies are just 4-6-0-0 over their last 10 games. In their last outing on Wednesday, Toronto received goals from five different players in a 5-2 win against the Laval Rocket in Quebec. Five players also recorded multiple points including Trevor Dermott, who led the way with three assists, while goaltender Garret Sparks backstopped the effort with 22 saves for his team-leading 13th win. Sparks also lowered his goals against average to just 1.83 (second in the AHL). The Marlies are led on the offensive side by former Chicago Blackhawks prospect Ben Smith with 15 goals and 28 points in 35 games. Toronto hosts Lehigh Valley on Friday before welcoming the Sound Tigers on Saturday.
HEY NOW, YOU'RE AN ALL-STAR
The American Hockey League announced Thursday the selections for its 2018 All-Star Classic, which included forward Tanner Fritz and defenseman Sebastian Aho. Both players were recalled by the New York Islanders within the past eight days and both players also made their NHL debut during that span. Fritz recorded a team-leading 35 points (10 goals, 25 assists) in 29 appearances with Bridgeport this season and also ranked fourth in the AHL in both points and assists at the time of his call-up. He made his NHL debut on Tuesday against the Boston Bruins. Meanwhile, Aho collected 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in 29 games with Bridgeport and continues to rank second among all AHL defensemen in goals. He made his NHL debut last Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche. The 2018 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino will take place Jan. 28-29 in Utica, N.Y.
Despite losing Tanner Fritz to the Islanders on Monday, Bridgeport received veteran winger Steve Bernier and second-year forward Anthony Beauvillier from New York. The latter made his AHL debut on Wednesday and logged two shots against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Beauvillier recorded seven points (four goals, three assists) in 31 games with New York this season after playing 66 NHL games last year.
The Sound Tigers' power play has scored at least one goal in seven consecutive games and nine of the club's last 10. That success has lifted Bridgeport to eighth in the AHL overall (19.9%) and fourth in the League at home (20.3%). The Sound Tigers are 12-for-47 (25.5%) on the power play since Dec. 9.
While Bridgeport's power play has quickly become one of the best in the AHL, its penalty kill may be even better. The Sound Tigers have allowed just one power-play tally since Dec. 10 against Rochester and is currently 33 for its last 34 (over an eight game span). Bridgeport's penalty kill is fourth in the AHL overall (86.9%) and fourth in the League on the road (89.9%).
Christopher Gibson is 4-0-2 with a 1.60 goals-against-average over his last six appearances… Casey Bailey has earned three multi-point efforts in his last six games... The Sound Tigers have scored at least five goals in nine games this year and their offense is ninth in the AHL (3.16 goals/game)… Bridgeport has outscored its opponents 15-5 in the last four games.
NHL: New York Islanders (20-17-4): Next vs. Pittsburgh Penguins - Friday, 7 p.m. ET
ECHL: Worcester Railers (12-13-3-2): Next at Adirondack Thunder - Friday, 7 p.m. ET
Guarantee Your Seats: 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. Please contact Brad Dworin at 203-345-4813 or via firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to guarantee your seats.
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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 email@example.com. Keep up with the latest Sound Tigers news on Facebook and on Twitter. For more team information, log on to soundtigers.com.