Sound Tigers Battle Bruins, Crunch This Weekend
DATE TIME OPPONENT FOLLOW
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (23-17-5-2), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, open a three-game homestand this weekend with matchups against the Providence Bruins (27-16-3-1) on Saturday and the Syracuse Crunch (26-17-2-3) on Sunday at Webster Bank Arena. The hardy doubleheader begins Saturday with “Pink in the Rink,” Breast Cancer Awareness Night against Providence at 7 p.m., as the Sound Tigers will recognize those who are battling or have defeated breast cancer, and will honor those who have passed.
LAST TIME OUT
The Sound Tigers stormed back from a four-goal deficit in the third period on Wednesday afternoon to earn one point in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center. Mitch Vande Sompel, Ryan Bourque, Steve Bernier and John Stevens all found the back of the net in Bridgeport's first four-goal frame of the season, while Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 16 of 17 shots in 50:32 of relief. The Sound Tigers have earned points in six of their last eight games (5-2-1-0).
The Sound Tigers are partnering with the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative on Saturday to celebrate “Pink in the Rink,” benefiting breast cancer awareness and research. Join us to support the cause and check out our gift basket raffle, designed by Sound Tigers players and coaches, located just inside the main doors to Webster Bank Arena. On Sunday, the first 2,500 kids, ages 14 and younger, will take home a Sound Tigers lunchbox when doors open at 4 p.m., courtesy of the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Great seats are on sale now.
SOUND TIGERS VS. BRUINS
Saturday's contest marks the seventh of 12 matchups between the Sound Tigers and Bruins this season, and the fourth of six meetings at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport is 5-1-0-0 against Providence overall and has won each of the last three games, including a 3-2 win at home in their last matchup on Jan. 20. Josh Ho-Sang, Kyle Schempp and Casey Bailey all scored that night, while All-Star goaltender Christopher Gibson made 25 saves. Ho-Sang leads Bridgeport with five points (one goal, four assists) in five games against the Bruins this season.
VIEW FROM PROVIDENCE
Jay Leach's club snapped a three-game winless in regulation skid with a convincing 4-0 win against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Friday night at home. Kenny Agostino, Colton Hargrove, Tommy Cross and Adam Payerl all scored, and Zane McIntyre made 22 saves to earn his fourth shutout of the season (tied for the league lead). However, the third-place Bruins return to the road tonight where they have lost five straight games (0-4-0-1), beginning with a 2-1 shootout loss in Bridgeport on Jan. 13. The team continues to play without leading scorer Austin Czarnik, who was recalled by the Boston Bruins last week, but Jordan Szwarz has been picking up the slack with nine points (one goal, eight assists) in his last seven games.
SOUND TIGERS VS. CRUNCH
Sunday's 5 p.m. contest features the first of two meetings between the Sound Tigers and Tampa Bay's affiliate this season, and the only matchup in the Park City. It will also mark a special evening for Bridgeport goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis and Syracuse forward Carter Verhaeghe, who will face their former teams for the first time. The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning swapped Gudlevskis and Verhaeghe for each other on July 1, 2017. Verhaeghe has 27 points (eight goals, 19 assists) in 31 games with Syracuse this season, while Gudlevskis is 6-8-5 with a 2.70 goals-against-average for Bridgeport. The Sound Tigers went 1-1-0-0 against the Crunch in 2016-17.
VIEW FROM SYRACUSE
The Crunch have slipped to fourth place in the North Division standings with a four-game winless streak (0-3-0-1) as they enter Saturday's action. On Friday, Syracuse suffered a 4-3 shootout loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack at home, despite two points and a shootout goal from Carter Verhaeghe. The Crunch are led by first-year forward Mathieu Joseph with 33 points (nine goals, 24 assists) in 45 games, which also places him ninth among AHL rookies. In addition, Joseph is currently on a four-game point streak entering Saturday's matchup against the Laval Rocket. Between the pipes, Eddie Pasquale, who was acquired in a three-player trade with the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 31, is 12th in the AHL with a 2.50 goals-against-average.
BRIDGEPORT'S IRON MAN
Sound Tigers captain Ben Holmstrom is expected to play his 200th consecutive AHL game on Saturday, dating back to opening night of his first season with Bridgeport on Oct. 10, 2015. The 30-year-old has played every game for the Sound Tigers since then and his active streak of 199 straight AHL contests is the longest in the AHL (and a franchise record). Hershey Bears forward Wayne Simpson is the next closest at 160, done with three different teams: Providence, Portland and Hershey. Holmstrom has 194 points (72 goals, 122 assists) in 516 career AHL games. The AHL's ironman record is held by Billy Dea, who played 548 consecutive games for the Buffalo Bisons from 1958 to 1966.
Secondary scoring was crucial in last Saturday's win against Belleville and a balanced offense was key once again in Wednesday's comeback against Hartford. In fact, it has been a theme for the Sound Tigers all season. As a team, the Sound Tigers have just one player in the AHL's top 60 in goal scoring (Scott Eansor – 16) and no active players in the top 150 in points.
Casey Bailey is one point away from his 100th as a pro... Bridgeport has allowed a power-play goal in four straight games for the first time this season, but its penalty kill remains fourth in the AHL (85.9%)… Mitch Vande Sompel suffered an upper-body injury in Wednesday's overtime loss and is listed as week-to-week... Matt Gaudreau was recalled from the Worcester Railers (ECHL) on Thursday and is expected to play his first AHL game since Bridgeport's home opener on Oct. 21, 2017 against Laval.
NHL: New York Islanders (27-23-6): Next vs. Calgary Flames - Sunday, 7 p.m. ET
ECHL: Worcester Railers (20-20-4-2): Next vs. Brampton Beast - Saturday, 7:05 p.m. ET
Don't Go It Alone: Whether it's a corporate outing, a fundraiser, or just friends getting together, a group outing with the Sound Tigers will guarantee an unforgettable experience filled with fast-paced action on the ice, great music, promotions and contests at an affordable price. The Sound Tigers have a variety of packages and promotional events to offer. Please call the team's front office at 203-345-2300 ext. 7 for more information on the benefits of bringing your group to a future game!
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.