The Bridgeport Report: Week 2
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (1-2-0-0), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, hit the road to North Carolina last weekend and split a two-game series against the Charlotte Checkers at Bojangles Coliseum. Rookie forward Scott Eansor continued to make headlines with three goals on the trip, including two in Bridgeport's 5-3 victory on Friday, while Tanner Fritz, Steve Bernier and Sebastian Aho also found the back of the net.
Friday's win was the Sound Tigers' first ever against the Checkers, who moved back to the Eastern Conference during the offseason for the first time since 2010-11. Eansor notched Bridgeport's first two goals of the evening before Fritz took the puck 1-on-4 and capitalized on a highlight-reel opportunity in the final minute of the second period to make it 3-2. As the pendulum swung back and forth, Aho made it 4-3 and notched the game-winner midway through the third with a sharp-angle tally, his first North American goal. Kristers Gudlevskis made 18 saves on 21 shots and earned the win in his Sound Tigers debut.
Less than 24 hours later, Bridgeport's power play came to life in a 3-2 setback against the Checkers on Saturday. Eansor opened the scoring with his fourth goal in just three pro games midway through the first period and Bernier pulled Bridgeport to within one late, but it wasn't enough in the loss. Between the pipes, Christopher Gibson made 23 saves on 26 shots.
The Sound Tigers conclude their four-game road trip to open the regular season this Friday with a 7:05 p.m. puck drop against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at the PPL Center. The three-game series then shifts to Webster Bank Arena for opening weekend, featuring a 7 p.m. matchup against the Laval Rocket on Saturday and a 3 p.m. showdown against the Hartford Wolf Pack on Sunday. Tickets are on sale now and fans can follow all of the action online through the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHL Live.
The week ahead:
Friday, Oct. 20 at Lehigh Valley Phantoms (7:05 p.m.): Friday's matchup will be the first of eight meetings this season between the Sound Tigers and Phantoms, and the first of four matchups in Allentown, Penn.
Saturday, Oct. 21 vs. Laval Rocket (7 p.m.): The Sound Tigers celebrate opening night with a backpack giveaway to the first 3,000 kids (14 years and younger) courtesy of All Electric Construction and Communication. In addition, Big Y presents a Kids Zone on the Plaza beginning at 5:30 p.m. It will be the first ever matchup between the Sound Tigers and Laval Rocket. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the puck drops at 7 p.m. Click here for tickets!
Sunday, Oct. 22 vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (3 p.m.): Sunday's weekend finale will feature the first of eight rivalry games between the Sound Tigers and Wolf Pack, and the first of four matchups at Webster Bank Arena. The first 2,000 fans will receive a Sound Tigers 2017-18 magnet schedule presented by the CT Department of Transportation and Sunday 4-Packs are available for the first time, which include four tickets (4), four (4) fidget spinners, four (4) hot dogs, four (4) bags of chips and four (4) soft drinks for as low as $99. Get tickets here!
News and Notes:
The Real Deal: First-year forward Scott Eansor has scored in each of his first three professional games (four goals total) and is proving to be the real deal, following up a strong performance during New York Islanders training camp last month. The 21-year-old has half of the Sound Tigers goals this season and leads the club in scoring through three games after collecting a career-high 18 goals in 40 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds (Western Hockey League) last season. He also helped Seattle win the 2017 WHL Championship while serving as co-captain alongside Islanders center Mathew Barzal.
Experience Paying Off Early: Veteran winger Steve Bernier netted two goals last weekend, including one on the power play, and is picking up right where he left off prior to injury in 2016-17. The 32-year pro had 26 points (16 goals, 10 assists) in 33 games last season and led the club with nine power-play tallies. He currently serves as an alternate captain for the second straight year and is tied for second on the team with nine shots through three games.
Quick Hits: This weekend marks the first of nine “3-in-3” series for the Sound Tigers this season… Ryan Bourque played his 400th pro game last Friday and his 400th AHL game last Saturday… The Sound Tigers are fifth in the league with 18.67 penalty minutes per game.
Goals: Scott Eansor (4)
Assists: Mitch Vande Sompel, Kane Lafranchise (2)
Points: Scott Eansor (4)
Plus/Minus: Kyle Burroughs (+3)
Penalty Minutes: Ross Johnston (26)
Power-play goals: Scott Eansor, Steve Bernier (2)
Shots: Casey Bailey (13)
The New York Islanders (2-3-1) pocketed two points during a three-game road trip to California last week, featuring stops in Anaheim, San Jose and Los Angeles. The Isles topped the San Jose Sharks, 3-1, on Saturday with a 40-save performance from Thomas Greiss and goals from former Sound Tigers Anders Lee and Brock Nelson, as well as Cal Clutterbuck. In addition, the Islanders fell to Anaheim on Wednesday and Los Angeles on Sunday, both by a 3-2 count. The club is currently led by former Sound Tigers center Casey Cizikas with five goals (two goals, three assists) in six games, while Josh Ho-Sang has four assists in five appearances. Next up: The Islanders meet their crosstown rival, the New York Rangers, on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
The ECHL's Worcester Railers HC (1-0-0-0) began their inaugural season on Saturday with a 4-3 win against the Manchester Monarchs in front of 12,135 fans at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. Yale University product Frankie DiChiara scored the game-winning goal in the final eight minutes, while Patrick McNally logged one goal and one assist on the night. Both were in training camp with the Sound Tigers. In addition, Eamon McAdam made 33 saves on 36 shots to backstop the winning effort. The Railers return to action this Saturday with a 6 p.m. puck drop against the Monarchs in Manchester, N.H.
Hottest Tickets in Town: The Sound Tigers will boast one of their most extensive and exciting promotional lineups in team history this season. This year's calendar will feature the return of Star Wars Night (Dec. 2), meet-and-greets with the Justice League (Nov. 11) and Marvel (Jan. 27) superheroes, and all-new promotions like a camouflage baseball cap (Jan. 13) and a kid's lunch box giveaway (Feb. 11). The promotional lineup kicks off with Opening Night this Saturday, featuring a Sound Tigers backpack giveaway to the first 3,000 kids courtesy of All Electric Construction and Communication. Click here to tickets.
Guarantee Your Seats: Season tickets and flex plans are on sale now for the 2017-18 campaign, offering the greatest savings and ultimate flexibility of all ticket packages. Pick between a full-season, 20-game, 15-game or 10-game plan and you'll also be entitled to exclusive benefits, including the ticket holder exchange policy, which means any unused tickets can be traded for future games. Seating options are broken down into six different pricing sections, giving you the flexibility to fit Sound Tigers' hockey into any kind of budget. Please contact Brad Dworin at 203-345-4813 or via firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to guarantee your seats.
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. Keep up with the latest Sound Tigers news on Facebook and on Twitter. For more team information, log on to soundtigers.com.