The Bridgeport Report: Week 7
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (11-5-2-0), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, won a pair of defensive duels in Canada during a three-game road trip last week, and extended their unbeaten in regulation streak to a season-best eight games (7-0-1-0). Devon Toews (one goal, two assists) and Tanner Fritz (two goals, one assist) each recorded a team-high three points, helping the Sound Tigers improve to 7-1-1-0 this month.
The Sound Tigers began last week's journey in the United States with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack on Wednesday. Fritz scored his first two goals of the season, both on the power play, as Bridgeport logged one point at the XL Center. Jeff Kubiak also found the back of the cage and Christopher Gibson (6-3-1) tied a franchise record with two assists to go along with 19 saves between the pipes. However, the Sound Tigers saw their five-game win streak come to an end with their first setback since Nov. 2.
On Friday, Islanders prospects stayed hot as Toews scored his fifth goal of the season and Kieffer Bellows notched the winner in a four-round shootout, propelling the Sound Tigers to a 2-1 victory against the Laval Rocket at Place Bell in Quebec. The two clubs carried a scoreless deadlock well into the final frame before Bridgeport converted on a lengthy 5-on-3 power play midway through the third. Jeremy Smith (5-2-1) backstopped the win with 25 saves on 26 shots.
The road trip shifted to Belleville on Saturday where Ontario native Mitch Vande Sompel had two points and Scott Eansor scored his first goal of the season en route to a 2-1 victory against the Belleville Senators at CAA Arena. Vande Sompel also helped Bridgeport preserve its lead in the closing stages of regulation by kicking a loose puck off the goal line, while Gibson made 28 saves for his third win in his last four starts. Behind the bench, Sound Tigers head coach Brent Thompson earned his 200th AHL victory – all with Bridgeport.
The Sound Tigers are three points behind the Charlotte Checkers for first place in the Atlantic Division entering a trio of games this weekend, beginning with a home-and-home series against Hartford (7-9-1-2). Bridgeport will host its in-state rival at 7 p.m. Friday before visiting the XL Center on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Sound Tigers will wrap up the weekend on Sunday with a 3 p.m. matinee against the Springfield Thunderbirds (9-4-0-2) at Webster Bank Arena. Fans can follow all of the action online via the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHLTV, beginning with the pre-game show 15 minutes before each listed start time.
The week ahead:
Friday, Nov. 23 vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (7 p.m.): The Sound Tigers host Hartford for the first time this season with a pair of big-time promotions on deck: “Teddy Bear Toss” and “Hockey and Hops.” Teddy Bear Toss is a unique and highly-entertaining opportunity to give back during the holiday season. Fans are asked to bring new stuffed animals, or other soft toys, and toss them onto the ice when the Sound Tigers score their first goal. Anyone who brings a new stuffed animal or other soft toy will receive $5 off their box office ticket the day of the game. The toys will be collected and donated to the Connecticut Education Foundation (CEF) for its holiday gift-giving project.
In addition, all fans 21 and older can enjoy a pre-game craft beer tasting party in the atrium, with samples from Two Roads Brewing Company, Veracious Brewing, New England Cider Company, Bull & Barrel Brewery, Brewport, Shebeen Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada, Stella, Narraganset, New Belgium, PBR and the Thomas Hooker Brewing Company. A $25 ticket package includes game entry, access to the beer tasting event, and brand-new souvenir puck bottle opener. Please call 203-345-2300 ext. 7 or click here for more information.
Saturday, Nov. 24 at Hartford Wolf Pack (7:30 p.m.): The Sound Tigers and Wolf Pack will clash for the second straight night with their third meeting in Connecticut's capital city this season. Bridgeport is 1-0-1-0 in Hartford this year and hasn't lost in regulation at the XL Center since Mar. 25, 2017 - eight visits ago. The Sound Tigers are 5-0-2-0 in their last seven trips.
Sunday, Nov. 25 vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (3 p.m.): Bridgeport's busy weekend concludes with another “Sunday Funday” at Webster Bank Arena. Stop by the Mason's Bar on the upper concourse level and get 50-cent chicken wings, and $5 16 oz. beers (draft and cans) for those 21 and older, through the first intermission Sunday afternoon. In addition, families are encouraged to take advantage of the all-new “Sunday 4-Pack,” which includes four (4) tickets to the game, four (4) hot dogs, four (4) bags of chips, four (4) soft drinks and two (2) lunch tins all for just $80. Sunday 4-Packs can be purchased HERE within up to 24 hours from puck drop. Doors open at 2 p.m.
News and Notes:
Packing on the Points: Devon Toews is making a strong case for his first true recall to the National Hockey League. The third-year defenseman has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his last nine games and continues to pace Bridgeport with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 18 outings this season. Toews is fourth among all AHL blue-liners in scoring and is tied for 15th in the League overall. In addition, Toews is tied for the team lead in power-play points (10), which is also tied for second among AHL defensemen.
Bellows' Building with Bridgeport: Kieffer Bellows, the Islanders' 19th overall pick in 2016, continues to turn heads as he begins his pro career. The 20-year-old is second on the Sound Tigers in goal-scoring (six), third on the club in shots (40), and converted on his first career shootout attempt on Friday, which stood as the game-winner against Laval. At home, Bellows has scored in four straight games (five goals) and will look to extend that mark this weekend.
Winning at Webster: The Sound Tigers return to Webster Bank Arena for a pair of home games this weekend, where the club is currently on a seven-game point streak (6-0-1-0). In fact, Bridgeport hasn't lost in regulation at home since a 4-3 setback to Rochester on opening day. The Sound Tigers have outscored opponents 42-29 at home this season, including a 29-16 mark over their last five games.
History in the making: Three-time Calder Cup Champion and six-time All-Star Chris Bourque became just the 24th player to eclipse 700points in AHL history when he collected an assist on Nov. 10. Bourque has played 738 AHL games and is currently two points shy of 23rd place on the all-time points list held by Alex Giroux (2001-12). He is also one goal away from tying Bob Solinger (241 goals, 1945-60) for 48th place on the all-time goal-scoring list and 13 helpers shy of tying Zellio Toppazzini (476, 1948-64) for 14th all-time in assists. Bourque has 10 points (four goals, six assists) and a team-high 53 shots in 16 games with Bridgeport this season.
Quick Hits: The Sound Tigers have been involved in 11 one-goal outcomes this season, tied for most in the AHL… Bridgeport is 7-2-2-0 when games are decided by a single tally… Bridgeport has nine wins when scoring first this season (9-1-0-0), second-most in the AHL… The Sound Tigers are 4-0-0-0 when Devon Toews has a multi-point performance… Josh Ho-Sang leads the active roster with five multi-point games this season… Jeff Kubiak has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last seven games… Scott Eansor's first goal of the season on Saturday came in his second game back after missing 11 contests with a lower-body injury… Kyle Burroughs played his 200th AHL game on Saturday, while Steve Bernier is three games shy of that mark.
Goals: Michael Dal Colle (7)
Assists: Josh Ho-Sang (15)
Points: Devon Toews (17)
Plus/Minus: Connor Jones, Kyle Burroughs, Jeff Kubiak (+5)
Penalty Minutes: Kyle Burroughs (41)
Power-play goals: Steve Bernier (4)
Shots: Chris Bourque (53)
Wins: Christopher Gibson (6)
The New York Islanders (10-7-2) sit fourth in the Metropolitan Division with 22 points in 19 games this season. On Sunday, they saw a two-game winning streak come to an end with a 6-2 loss to the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Former Sound Tigers Anthony Beauvillier and Scott Mayfield each found the back of the net, while Thomas Greiss made 16 saves. Beauvillier's tally was his fourth in the last two games after he scored his first career hat trick in a 7-5 win against the New York Rangers on Thursday. The Islanders are led by former Sound Tiger Josh Bailey with 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 19 games, while Brock Nelson has a team-leading nine goals. The Isles return to action tomorrow night with a 7 p.m. matchup against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
The Worcester Railers (6-8-2-0) have points in four straight games (3-0-1-0) as they begin to heat up in ECHL play. Worcester had won three in a row including a 5-1 victory against the Orlando Solar Bears last Saturday, but fell to Orlando on Sunday, 4-3 in overtime. Former Sound Tiger Matt Gaudreau scored twice in as many days against the Solar Bears, while Mike Cornell also found the back of the cage on Saturday. The Railers are back to work this Friday with a 7:05 p.m. puck drop against the Manchester Monarchs at the DCU Center.
Packed Promotional Lineup: The Sound Tigers will boast one of their most extensive and wide-ranging promotional schedules ever for the 2018-19 season. The fan-friendly calendar includes the return of popular themes like Hockey and Hops (Nov. 23 and Mar. 17), Military Appreciation (Jan. 12), Star Wars Night (Jan. 19) and Princess Night (Mar. 30). Regional hockey fans will be elated for the addition of Hockey Weekend in Connecticut (Feb. 23-24), while other new headliners include Holiday Gift Weekend (Dec. 15-16) and a revamped Teddy Bear Toss (Nov. 23). View the full 2018-19 promotional schedule.
For additional details or to reserve a group outing for any giveaway or theme night, please call the Sound Tigers' front office at (203) 345-2300 ext 7.
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.