Sound Tigers Face Phantoms, Penguins This Weekend
DATE / TIME OPPONENT FOLLOW
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (24-16-4-2), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (24-16-3-2) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (22-18-4-1) this weekend in their return to action following the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic. The series begins Friday at Webster Bank Arena with a 7 p.m. puck drop against the Phantoms, before Bridgeport hits the road for Saturday's 7:05 p.m. matchup against the Penguins at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
LAST TIME OUT
The Sound Tigers entered their hiatus on a high note after defeating the Phantoms at home last Saturday (4-1), in which six-time AHL All-Star Chris Bourque led the way with three points (two goals, one assist). Kieffer Bellows and Kyle Burroughs also beat goalie Carter Hart, who was recalled by Philadelphia on Sunday, while Steve Bernier and Otto Koivula added two assists each. In net, Jeremy Smith (13-8-2) made 28 saves to help Bridgeport snap an 11-game winless in regulation streak and regain second place in the Atlantic Division standings. Lehigh Valley is one point back in third place with one game in hand.
HAT TRICK OF PROMOTIONS
The Sound Tigers are offering a hat trick of promotions for Friday's 7 p.m. game against the Phantoms. All fans 21 and older may purchase 12 oz. Budweiser products through the end of the first intermission as part of “Frosty Friday.” In addition, receive a Bryac hockey bingo card when doors open at 6 p.m. and stay glued to the action all night, with opportunities to win some great prizes. “Souper Bowl of Caring” also takes over the Webster Bank Arena concourse this evening, giving fans the chance to receive two (2) free tickets to a Sound Tigers game by donating 10 non-perishable food items at the door. Tickets are still on sale.
TIGERS VS. PHANTOMS
Friday's 7 p.m. game marks the fourth of six meetings between the Sound Tigers and Phantoms this season, and the third of three matchups at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport leads the series 2-1-0-0, but each team has points in two of the three games as the Phantoms lost in a shootout on Oct. 21 at Webster Bank Arena. It was Bridgeport's first of nine wins beyond regulation this season, which leads the AHL. Greg Carey (LV), Steve Bernier (BRI) and Chris Bourque (BRI) pace all active players in the series with four points each.
VIEW FROM ALLENTOWN
The Phantoms saw their season-best six-game point streak come to an end last Saturday with a 4-1 loss in Bridgeport. Justin Bailey scored Lehigh Valley's only goal (his second in as many games) and Carter Hart made 32 saves, including 20 in the first period alone. Greg Carey was held quiet, but continues to rank sixth in the AHL's scoring race (43 points) and tied for seventh in goals (20) - both of which lead the Phantoms. Carey is also second in the AHL in power-play goals (11), while T.J. Brennan is fourth among league d-men with 33 points (seven goals, 26 assists). Alex Lyon is 10th among AHL goaltenders with a 2.57 goals-against-average.
TIGERS VS. PENGUINS
Saturday's 7:05 p.m. game marks the sixth of eight meetings between the Sound Tigers and Penguins this season, and the third of four in Pennsylvania. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has won three of the first five matchups, but Bridgeport has points in three of the five following a 4-3 overtime loss in their last tilt at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Dec. 19. In their last meeting overall, the Penguins scored five straight goals to start the game and earned a 5-2 win in Bridgeport just nine days ago (Jan. 23). Teddy Blueger and Ryan Haggerty each scored twice, while Chris Casto and Tanner Fritz had the goals for the Sound Tigers.
VIEW FROM WILKES-BARRE
The sixth-place Penguins have won three games in a row and enter the weekend just two points outside of a playoff spot, and only five points behind second-place Bridgeport. In their last outing on Saturday, the club scored each of the first three goals and held on for a 5-4 overtime win against the Binghamton Devils on the road. Adam Johnson had three points (one goal, two assists) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's leading scorer Teddy Blueger potted the overtime winner just 41 seconds in. Blueger paces the Penguins in goals (21) and points (39), but head coach Clark Donatelli's club may be without him on Saturday after Blueger was recalled by Pittsburgh on Tuesday. He made his NHL debut Wednesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will likely still have AHL All-Star Ethan Prow, who is third among all league defensemen in goals (13) and tied for fifth in points (32).
SHINING IN SPRINGFIELD
Michael Dal Colle and Sebastian Aho represented the Sound Tigers in Springfield last weekend during the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic. Dal Colle, who was recalled by the Islanders along with Devon Toews on Thursday, had one goal, one assist, and the Atlantic Division's only shootout tally during Monday's All-Star Challenge, while Aho had one assist, helping the Atlantic finish runner-up to the North. Both players skated in their first All-Star Classic, but Aho was also selected last season as a rookie.
BIRTHDAY BOY BLASTS TO THE TOP
Three-time Calder Cup champion Chris Bourque, who celebrated his 33rd birthday on Tuesday, has led his AHL team in scoring three of the last four years and with six more points (two goals, four assists) last week, he became the Sound Tigers' leading scorer this season with 32 points. Bourque has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his last nine games, including points in three straight. Bridgeport is 15-7-1-1 when he has at least one point in a game and continues to be the AHL's all-time active leading scorer with 724 points. He is also expected to play his 767th career AHL game tonight – tying him with Don Cherry.
FREE HOCKEY FRENZY
The Sound Tigers have only gone past regulation twice in their last 10 games, but the club has gone more than 60 minutes on 15 occasions this year - tied for second-most in the AHL behind Rockford (16). The club also has nine wins past regulation - most in the league. The Sound Tigers have been no strangers to close games this season and the team continues to lead the AHL in one-goal outcomes with 27 (17-4-4-2).
The Sound Tigers complete a five-game homestand Friday and open a three-game road trip Saturday in Wilkes-Barre, Penn... Jeremy Smith is 12th among AHL goalies in minutes played (1,473) and tied for 13th in wins (13)… Christopher Gibson won his 57th game with the Sound Tigers on Saturday, Jan. 19, passing Rick DiPietro for third place on the team's all-time wins list... Otto Koivula is tied for eighth among league rookies in goals (13) and seventh in plus-minus (+13)…Stay-home defenseman Chris Casto has three goals in his last seven games.
NHL: New York Islanders (29-15-5): Next: Friday vs. Tampa Bay (7 p.m. ET)
ECHL: Worcester Railers (19-18-3-3): Next: Saturday at Newfoundland (5:30 p.m. ET)
Packed Promotional Lineup: The Sound Tigers 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 (Mar. 17) and Princess Night (Mar. 30). Regional hockey fans will also be elated for the addition of Hockey Weekend in Connecticut (Feb. 23-24). 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.