Phantoms, T-Birds On Tap in Three-Game Series
DATE TIME OPPONENT FOLLOW
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (28-22-5-3), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, will face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (38-15-3-4) and Springfield Thunderbirds (27-28-3-1) in a three-game series this weekend, looking to push their win streak above four games for the first time this season. The “3-in-3” series begins Friday with a 7:05 p.m. matchup in Allentown, Penn. as Bridgeport tries to sweep a four-game road trip. Last time out, the Sound Tigers battled back from an early two-goal deficit to earn a 4-2 victory against the Belleville Senators at Yardmen Arena on Sunday. Parker Wotherspoon registered the game-tying and go-ahead goals in the third period, while Eamon McAdam (1-1-0) made 23 saves in his second AHL start this year. It was just the second time this season Bridgeport has won when trailing after two frames, and the club is now five points outside of a playoff spot, with two games in hand on the Charlotte Checkers.
WILD WEEKEND AT WEBSTER
The Sound Tigers will host two of their biggest theme nights of the season this weekend, featuring “ComiConn Night” at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and “Pucks ‘N Paws” at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Arrive early on Saturday, as your favorite comic book characters will take over Webster Bank Arena to meet fans, take pictures and sign autographs. In addition, a portion of ticket sales and concessions proceeds will benefit Make-A-Wish Connecticut to help grant future wishes for kids in the state. On Sunday, the Sound Tigers and VCA Veterinary Referral and Emergency Centers (Shoreline and VREC) are inviting all fans to bring their dog(s) to the game. There will be several animal welfare organizations on hand to showcase pets that are available for adoption.
TIGERS VS. PHANTOMS
Friday's game marks the sixth of eight meetings between the Sound Tigers and Phantoms this season, and the third of four matchups at PPL Center. Bridgeport is still searching for its first win against Lehigh Valley (0-3-2-0) and has been outscored 22-10 in the previous five games. In their last meeting on Feb. 13, Nicolas Aube-Kubel guided the Phantoms to a 5-0 victory with a three-point performance (all assists) at Webster Bank Arena. Lehigh Valley also earned a 5-4 overtime win during their last tilt in Pennsylvania on Nov. 25, in which Will O'Neill capped a two-goal night with the winner 82 seconds into the extra frame.
Scott Gordon's club has gathered points in nine of its last 10 games (8-1-0-1) and enters Friday's contest on a four-game win streak. The first-place Phantoms are also 20-5-3-2 at home this season and their 83 points overall lead the American Hockey League. Last time out, Corban Knight and Mikhail Vorobyev each scored in regulation and again in a five-round shootout to propel Lehigh Valley to a 3-2 win against the Hershey Bears on Sunday. Phil Varone was held without a point for just the ninth time in 2018, but the seventh-year forward continues to lead the AHL with 57 points (18 goals, 39 assists) in 59 games. In addition, veteran defenseman T.J. Brennan, who has seven assists against Bridgeport this year, is fourth in the League with 39 points (12 goals, 27 assists) in 48 games. Lehigh Valley has scored more goals than any other team this season (212 total).
TIGERS VS. T-BIRDS
Sunday's matinee will feature the ninth of 10 meetings between the Sound Tigers and Thunderbirds this season, and the fifth of five matchups at Webster Bank Arena. The home team has won all but one game in the series, and Bridgeport is 3-5-0-0 against Springfield this season following a 1-0 setback at Webster Bank Arena on Feb. 2. Ludwig Bystrom scored the only goal that night, while Evan Cowley made 25 saves to blank the Sound Tigers. Springfield forward Anthony Greco leads the series with seven goals in eight games against his former team. The Sound Tigers and T-Birds will complete their 10-game season series on Friday, Mar. 30 in Massachusetts.
VIEW FROM SPRINGFIELD
Geordie Kinnear's team enters the weekend with points in each of its last seven games (5-0-2-0), including a 2-0 win against the Providence Bruins last Sunday. Anthony Greco scored his league-leading fifth shorthanded goal of the season (team-leading 23rd overall) and Chase Balisy put it away with an empty-net tally in the final second, while Harri Sateri stopped all 30 shots he faced. Despite their recent success, the seventh-place T-Birds are 11 points outside of a playoff spot with one game in hand on the Charlotte Checkers. Curtis Valk leads the club with 45 points (15 goals, 30 assists) in 56 games as Springfield opens its own “3-in-3” this weekend. The Thunderbirds will battle the Utica Comets in a home-and-home series before traveling to Bridgeport on Sunday afternoon.
ONE TOUGH TANDEM
Kristers Gudlevskis and Eamon McAdam have been nearly untouchable over the last four games in the absence of Christopher Gibson, who was recalled by the New York Islanders on Feb. 19. The duo has guided Bridgeport to its first four-game win streak since November, allowing just five goals total during that span. In addition, the Sound Tigers have allowed two goals or less in each of their last five games. Gudlevskis is 3-0-0 with a 0.99 goals-against-average and .966 save percentage in his last three starts, while McAdam is 1-1-0 with a 1.62 goals-against-average and .934 saves rate in the AHL this season.
Prior to Travis St. Denis' second-period goal in last Friday's win at Laval, Bridgeport had gone 0-for-31 on the power play – their worst drought in more than two years. However, St. Denis buried a wrist shot behind goaltender Michael McNiven, which ignited the club's power play and led to a 4-for-8 performance over the team's last two contests. The Sound Tigers' power play has scored at least two goals in eight games this season and currently ranks 19th in the AHL (16.3%).
STRAIGHT DOWN THE ROAD
Yale University captain Ryan Hitchcock agreed to an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO) with the Sound Tigers on Thursday, and is expected to make his professional debut at some point this weekend. The 21-year-old forward spent each of the last four seasons at Yale, less than 30 minutes up I-95 in New Haven, and collected a career-high 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 31 games during his senior campaign. The Manhasset, N.Y. native recorded 68 points (21 goals, 47 assists) in 103 career games with the Bulldogs and attended New York Islanders Development Camp last summer.
Steve Bernier played his 800th pro game last Saturday and Casey Bailey also crossed a milestone, making his 200th pro appearance against Belleville… The Sound Tigers' penalty kill is fifth in the AHL at 85.7%... Travis St. Denis has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in his last 17 games… Josh Ho-Sang is on a three-game point streak (one goal, two assists).
NHL: New York Islanders (29-29-10): Next at Calgary Flames - Sunday, 7 p.m. ET
ECHL: Worcester Railers (26-25-4-3): Next at Adirondack Thunder - Sunday, 3:05 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.