The Bridgeport Report: Week 8
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (11-7-1-0), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, secured five of six possible points last weekend in a three-game series against the Hartford Wolf Pack, Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Hershey Bears. That success lifted the team to fourth place in the Atlantic Division as the Sound Tigers reached the quarter mark of the 2017-18 campaign.
Bridgeport is riding a season-high six-game point streak heading into another 3-in-3 this weekend against the Utica Comets and Providence Bruins. It's the first time the Sound Tigers have recorded points in six straight games since the team won seven in a row from Feb. 3 through Feb. 19 of last season.
The Sound Tigers scored a season-high seven goals from seven different players last Friday in a 7-3 victory against the Wolf Pack at Webster Bank Arena. It was Bridgeport's fourth straight win overall and its fourth in five games against the Wolf Pack this season. It was also the first time the Sound Tigers netted seven goals in a game since Feb. 13, 2016 – also against Hartford by a 7-3 final. Seth Helgeson, Scott Eansor, Ben Holmstrom, Josh Holmstrom, Sebastian Aho, Travis St. Denis and Casey Bailey all found the back of the cage.
Twenty-four hours later, St. Denis scored again and forced overtime with the game-tying goal in the final 10 seconds of regulation, but the Sound Tigers suffered a 5-4 loss to Lehigh Valley on the road. Will O'Neill scored twice for the Phantoms, including the winner at 1:22 of overtime, while Tanner Fritz, Michael Dal Colle and Stephen Gionta also collected a goal for Bridgeport. Bailey led all shooters with a season-high 10 shots on Saturday at PPL Center.
Bridgeport went to overtime again on Sunday and closed out the weekend with a 3-2 shootout victory against Hershey at Giant Center. Former Bear Ryan Bourque scored two goals in his return to Chocolate Town, and Bailey posted the winning tally in a three-round shootout, helping the Sound Tigers to their sixth road win of the season. In fact, the Bourque family scored all four goals in regulation, as Ryan's older brother, Chris Bourque, netted both tallies for Hershey. Christopher Gibson picked up the win with 33 saves on 35 shots.
The Sound Tigers conclude a three-game road trip this Friday and open their second straight 3-in-3 with a 7 p.m. matchup against the Comets in New York. Bridgeport will look to earn points for the seventh straight contest before returning to Webster Bank Arena for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader against the Comets and Bruins. Fans can follow all of the upcoming action online through the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHL Live, beginning with the pre-game show 15 minutes prior to each listed start time.
The week ahead:
Friday, Dec. 1 at Utica Comets (7 p.m.) – The Sound Tigers will face the Utica Comets for the first time this season and the first of two matchups on the weekend. Bridgeport went 1-3-0-0 against the Comets in 2016-17.
Saturday, Dec. 2 vs. Utica Comets (7 p.m.): Star Wars Night headlines Saturday's game at Webster Bank Arena and the first 3,000 fans will take home a Sound Tigers light saber when doors open at 6 p.m. The team will also be wearing special Star Wars jerseys during the game, which will be up for bid at a silent auction on the concourse, and you just might bump into popular members of the Star Wars trilogy. Limited ticket packages are still available that feature access to the game, a pass to see "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" at Bow Tie Theaters and a character bobblehead for just at $25. For more info and to order this special package, call 203.345.2300 Option 7 or CLICK HERE.
Sunday, Dec. 3 vs. Providence Bruins (3 p.m.): Bridgeport hosts Providence for the first time this season after shutting out the Bruins in a pair of games in Rhode Island on Nov. 3 and 5. The Sound Tigers outscored Providence 7-0 in those games combined.
News and notes:
November To Remember: The Sound Tigers capped one of their best months in more than a year on Sunday, finishing November with a record of 8-2-1-0. Bridgeport outscored its opponents 36-22 during the month and has battled back to a winning record after going 3-5-0-0 in October. The Sound Tigers went 9-3-0-0 in November and February of last season, as well as 8-2-1-1 last January.
Streaking Rookie: Islanders prospect Sebastian Aho will enter this weekend's action on a team-best four-game point streak (one goal, three assists), which is also the longest streak of his young professional career. The Isles fifth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft leads all AHL defensemen with seven goals this season and is tied for seventh among defensemen in points, alongside teammate Devon Toews. Aho and Toews are also tied for second on the Sound Tigers in scoring.
King of the Crease: Fifth-year goaltender Christopher Gibson has won four straight games and seven of his last eight, and has only allowed more than two goals once in those outings. That success has lowered Gibson's goals-against-average to just 2.17, tied for seventh in the AHL. In addition, Gibson has won 32 games during his Sound Tigers career and currently sits seventh on the team's all-time wins list, three behind Anders Nilsson (2011-14).
Quick hits: The Sound Tigers are 4-0-0-0 this season when playing on Sunday… Bridgeport has scored first and outshot its opponent in 14 of 19 games this season… Devon Toews leads all AHL defensemen with 59 shots… The Sound Tigers are 1-0 in shootouts this season following Sunday's victory at Hershey… The club went 5-1 in shootouts in 2016-17... Ryan Bourque notched his first two-goal game on Sunday since Nov. 15, 2015… Bourque now has three goals this season after finishing last year with four total.
Goals: Scott Eansor (8)
Assists: Tanner Fritz (15)
Points: Tanner Fritz (19)
Plus/minus: Kyle Burroughs (+13)
Penalty minutes: Ross Johnston (53)
Power-play goals: Scott Eansor, Sebastian Aho, Steve Bernier, Ryan Bourque (2)
Shots: Casey Bailey (67)
The New York Islanders (14-7-2) have won each of their last three games and six of their last seven, vaulting to third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Islanders are coming off of a 2-1 victory against the Ottawa Senators last Saturday, in which former Sound Tiger Anders Lee scored his 12th goal of the season and Josh Bailey earned his team-leading 23rd assist and 28th point. Bailey also has a team-best 13 power-play points this year. Another former Sound Tiger, goaltender Jaroslav Halak, made 31 saves as the Isles completed a short two-game road trip. The Islanders return to action tonight with a 7 p.m. matchup against the Vancouver Canucks at Barclays Center.
The ECHL's Worcester Railers HC (8-7-1-1) pocketed three points in three games on the road last week, including a 4-3 win against the Wheeling Nailers on Saturday. Former Cornell star Jeff Kubiak scored his second tally of the season and Nick Saracino, who was in training camp with the Sound Tigers, recorded two goals, while Islanders prospect Eamon McAdam (5-3-1-1) made 34 saves on 37 shots. McAdam has now won three of his last four starts. The Railers complete a four-game road trip on Friday with a 7 p.m. matchup against the Adirondack Thunder.
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.