Sound Tigers Battle Wolf Pack Tonight in Hartford
DATE / TIME OPPONENT FOLLOW
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (25-17-4-2), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, make their final trip to the XL Center this season to face the Hartford Wolf Pack (19-23-3-2) at 7 p.m. The Sound Tigers will continue a three-game road trip and are trying to build on a 2-1 win against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last Saturday, in which Jeff Kubiak and Scott Eansor (GWG) each scored in the first period and Jeremy Smith (14-8-2) made 25 saves during his fifth straight appearance. Ben Holmstrom also contributed with two assists as the Sound Tigers regained second place in the Atlantic Division. Bridgeport is one point ahead of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Providence Bruins, and just four points ahead of the fifth-place Springfield Thunderbirds with 28 games left.
TIGERS VS. WOLF PACK
Tonight's game marks the ninth of 10 meetings between the Sound Tigers and Wolf Pack this season, and the fifth of five matchups at the XL Center. Each team has won four of the first eight tilts, but Bridgeport has points in six of the eight following a pair of overtime losses in November. Meanwhile, Hartford has points in three of the four meetings at home, including three straight entering tonight's game. In their last matchup on Jan. 12, Kyle Burroughs and Mitch Vande Sompel each scored for the Sound Tigers, but it wasn't enough in a 4-2 loss at Webster Bank Arena. Two-time AHL All-Star John Gilmour (HFD) leads all players in the season series with seven points (three goals, four assists) in eight games.
VIEW FROM HARTFORD
The Wolf Pack have lost seven straight games (0-6-1-0), the longest current winless stretch in the AHL, and have dropped to last place in the Eastern Conference - two points behind the Belleville Senators. Last time out, Hartford lost its third straight game in regulation with a 4-1 setback at home to the Rochester Americans on Saturday. Ville Meskanen scored his 10th goal of the season late in the third, while Dustin Tokarski made 24 saves. Leading scorer Peter Holland was held quiet for the third time in four games, but continues to pace Hartford in goals (17) and points (45), which is tied for fourth in the AHL's scoring race. John Gilmour has also been strong this season with 36 points (15 goals, 21 assists) in 47 games, which is tied for second among all league defensemen.
TOP OF THE CHARTS
Chris Bourque is trying to lead his AHL team in scoring for the fourth time in the last five years, as he paces Bridgeport with 34 points (10 goals, 24 assists) in 46 games this season. He has eight points in his last five games (three goals, five assists) and three multi-point performances in his last four outings. The three-time Calder Cup champion and six-time AHL All-Star is the league's all-time active leading scorer with 726 points (23rd all-time) and also inside the top 50 in goals, assists and games played. Bridgeport is 15-8-1-1 when he has at least one point in a game and 7-1-0-1 when Bourque scores at least one goal in a contest.
FROM FINLAND WITH LOVE
Finnish power forward Otto Koivula has consistently impressed during his first pro season in North America. The 20-year-old collected a career-high three assists on Saturday against Lehigh Valley and now leads the Sound Tigers with 10 multi-point games this season. He also earned a plus-three rating for the second time in his last three games, improving to plus-16 this year - fifth among all AHL rookies. Koivula is second on the club and seventh among AHL rookies in scoring (32 points), and has seven points (one goal, six assists) in his last five games.
Two-time All-Star Sebastian Aho is fifth among AHL defensemen in assists (26) and tied for 10th in points (29) over 39 games... Steve Bernier scored twice against Lehigh Valley on Saturday and now has 51 goals as a Sound Tiger (2016-19), tying him with Alan Quine for ninth place on the team's all-time list... Bridgeport has gone to overtime 15 times this season, tied for third-most in the AHL behind Milwaukee and Rockford... Bridgeport leads the Eastern Conference with nine wins beyond regulation (nine)... The Sound Tigers are sixth in the AHL with 49 first-period goals... Goalie Jeremy Smith has played in five straight games (2-1-0)... Bridgeport is 0-for-11 on the power play over its last three games...Jeff Kubiak is expected to play his 100th pro game tonight against Hartford.
NHL: New York Islanders (30-15-6): Last: 4-2 W vs. LA, Sat. - Next: Tonight at BOS (7pm)
ECHL: Worcester Railers (20-19-3-3): Last: 5-1 W at NFL, Sat. - Next: Fri. vs. GRN (7:05pm)
Stick It 2 Cancer Weekend: Some things are much bigger than hockey. This weekend, the Sound Tigers will drop the gloves against adult and pediatric cancers with they host the Providence Bruins on Saturday and Utica Comets on Sunday at Webster Bank Arena. The weekend begins with a pre-game wine tasting party on Saturday that benefits the Danni Kemp Cancer Support Fund. You can also take advantage of a Stick It 2 Cancer t-shirt package that benefits Infinite Love for Kids Fighting Cancer, LIVFREE and Ryan's Rebels. The Sound Tigers will sport specialty gold and blue jerseys on Sunday to raise awareness for childhood cancers.
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 email@example.com.