Sound Tigers Defeat Belleville in First Meeting
Ben Holmstrom scored twice and Connor Jones netted his fifth goal of the season on Saturday as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (23-17-4-2), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, took their inaugural matchup against the Belleville Senators (19-25-1-3) with a 3-1 victory at Webster Bank Arena.
Christopher Gibson (17-8-2) made 24 saves and was steady all night long, earning his 17th win of the season – tied for third among AHL netminders. Gibson also secured sole possession of fifth place on the Sound Tigers' all-time wins list with his 42nd career victory, which passed Dieter Kochan (2003-05).
In addition, Bridgeport improved to fourth place in the Atlantic Division standings and jumped over the Charlotte Checkers for the final playoff spot.
Holmstrom opened the scoring just 5:46 into the first period when he converted from the side of the crease while falling over. Kyle Schempp chased the puck down in the left corner and slipped a centering pass to the doorstep, where Holmstrom corralled it and beat Danny Taylor's glove as he toppled to the ice. It was his sixth tally of the season, assisted by Schempp and younger brother Josh Holmstrom.
Exactly seven minutes later, the Sound Tigers doubled their advantage when Jones finished a highlight-reel setup from Josh Ho-Sang. Travis St. Denis began the attack with a stretch pass to Ho-Sang in the neutral zone and the latter skated to the right circle, slammed on the breaks, and completed a tremendous spin-o-rama. That created space in the slot and Ho-Sang guided a pass to the left side where Jones converted a one-time shot at the 12:46 mark.
Holmstrom made it 3-0 at 8:07 of the middle frame when he netted his second goal of the night from the low slot. Kane Lafranchise entered the zone and waltzed his way to the left corner before funneling a cross-ice pass to Holmstrom in front.
Belleville's only tally came at 9:34 of the third period following a cross-checking penalty to Mitch Vande Sompel. Ben Sexton entered the zone and curled on the right side before sending a pass to Nick Paul at the goal line. Paul quickly redirected the puck to Filip Chalpik in front and the rookie forward knocked it in for the power-play goal.
Bridgeport finished the game 0-for-5 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill, but outshot Belleville 27-25. Taylor (7-11-2) turned back 24 chances in the Senators' setback.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers travel to the XL Center on Wednesday for an 11 a.m. puck drop against the Hartford Wolf Pack to continue the in-state rivalry. Fans can follow all of the live action on the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHL Live, beginning with the pre-game show at 10:45 a.m.
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.