Sound Tigers Visit T-Birds Tonight
DATE/TIME OPPONENT FOLLOW
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (12-6-2-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, visit MassMutual Center this evening to face the Springfield Thunderbirds (10-6-0-2) for the second time in the last four days. The Sound Tigers will go for their third straight win against Springfield following a 5-2 victory on Nov. 3, and a 4-3 win in their last outing on Sunday at Webster Bank Arena – extending the team's unbeaten in regulation streak at home to 10 games (8-0-1-1).
BERNIER'S BIG DAY
Steve Bernier scored his first career hat trick in his 837th pro game on Sunday with a trio of goals in the first 26 minutes, including two on the power play. Meanwhile, Sebastian Aho recorded the game-winner as part of a three-point afternoon (one goal, two assists) and Mike Sislo and Otto Koivula each added two assists. Christopher Gibson (7-3-1) made 25 saves between the pipes. Bridgeport is an impressive 8-2-1-1 during November entering its final game of the month.
TIGERS VS. T-BIRDS
Tonight's contest is the fifth of 10 meetings between the Sound Tigers and Thunderbirds this season, and the second of five at MassMutual Center. It also continues a stretch of three games in eight days between the division rivals. The Sound Tigers currently lead the series 2-1-0-0, but have suffered seven straight losses in Massachusetts (0-7-0-0), including a 3-2 setback in their last tilt there on Nov. 2. Bridgeport's last win in the "house of horrors" was Mar. 29, 2017 (3-2 victory) - eight visits ago.
VIEW FROM SPRINGFIELD
The Thunderbirds began the season 7-0-0-2 prior to their first trip to Bridgeport on Nov. 3, which resulted in a 5-2 loss. Since then, Springfield is 3-6-0-0 and has drifted back to fourth place in the Atlantic Division. In their last home game on Saturday, the T-Birds were shut out for the first time this season with a 3-0 setback to the Syracuse Crunch, which also ended a five-game homestand. Captain Paul Thompson paces the club with 11 goals this year, while Thompson, Harry Zolnierczyk and Henrik Borgstrom are all tied with 17 points.
Tanner Fritz was returned on loan by the New York Islanders this morning ahead of tonight's tilt in Springfield. The 27-year-old has played four games with the Islanders this season, including two contests during his recent call-up, and has one assist. He made the Islanders' 23-man roster out of training camp for the first time in his career. In Bridgeport, Fritz has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 17 games this season and ranks fourth on the Sound Tigers in helpers.
"BERN" BABY BURN
Veteran forward Steve Bernier had played 836 pro games without ever recording a hat trick. That changed Sunday when Bernier scored three times against Springfield, including his wacky bank-shot in the second period that completed his hat trick. Two of his three tallies came on the power play and Bernier now leads all AHL players with seven power-play goals this season. The 33-year-old has 138 points (74 goals, 64 assists) in 200 AHL games and 77 points (47 goals, 30 assists) in 125 games with the Sound Tigers. He is three goals away from tying David Ullstrom (2010-13) for 10th place on the team's all-time goal-scoring list.
Sebastian Aho is quickly climbing the Sound Tigers' scoring charts. The 22-year-old defenseman had four points last weekend and earned his second three-point performance of the season on Sunday, which included his first goal of the year. His 13 points are quietly tied for fifth on the club overall, second among team defensemen, and tied for 13th among all AHL blue-liners. In addition, Bridgeport is a perfect 3-0-0-0 when Aho registers a multi-point game.
GIBSON'S GOOD RUN
Christopher Gibson is 4-0-2 in his last six starts and has a 2.37 goals-against-average and .917 save percentage over his last five games. He made a season-high 32 saves against Hartford last Friday and backstopped Sunday's win with a 25-save effort. In addition, Sunday's victory was Gibson's 46th win with Bridgeport in his 99th game with the club. The 2018 AHL All-Star is fourth in both categories (wins and games played) on the Sound Tigers' all-time lists.
Devon Toews is tied for fourth among AHL defensemen with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) this season… He is also tied for second among all defensemen in power-play points (10)… Josh Ho-Sang is tied for first among all AHL forwards in assists (16)… The Sound Tigers have been involved in 13 one-goal outcomes this season, second-most in the AHL… Bridgeport is 8-2-2-1 when games are decided by a single tally… Jeremy Smith is 16th among AHL goalies with a 2.83 goals-against-average… Bridgeport's 25 first-period goals are tied for third-most in the AHL... Chris Bourque is three goals away from tying Keith Aucoin (244, 2001-14) for 47th place on the AHL's all-time goal-scoring list.
NHL: New York Islanders (12-9-2): Next at Boston, Tomorrow (7 p.m.)
ECHL: Worcester Railers (7-10-2-0): Next at Maine, Friday (7:15 p.m.)
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 ComiCONN Night (Dec. 1), Hockey and Hops (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). 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 email@example.com.