Tripleheader Weekend of Hockey On Tap
DATE TIME OPPONENT FOLLOW
TRIPLEHEADER OF HOCKEY
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (12-10-1-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, tackle their fifth three-game series of the season this weekend as they battle a trio of Atlantic Division opponents. Bridgeport's weekend slate begins on the road Friday with a 7:05 p.m. matchup against the Springfield Thunderbirds (10-18-1-0) at MassMutual Center. The schedule then shifts to Webster Bank Arena for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (15-7-1-1) at 7 p.m. on Saturday and Lehigh Valley Phantoms (16-9-1-2) at 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.
THE STORY COMING IN
The Sound Tigers are looking to bounce back and erase a four-game losing streak (0-3-1-0) following a pair of setbacks last weekend, including a 4-3 loss to the Thunderbirds last Saturday in Massachusetts. The Sound Tigers also suffered a 4-1 loss to the Rochester Americans in their last outing on Sunday, in which Casey Bailey scored on the power play and Shane Prince recorded a game-high seven shots in his Sound Tigers debut and return from a lower-body injury.
TIGERS VS. T-BIRDS
Friday's game marks the fourth of 10 meetings between the Sound Tigers and T-Birds this season, and the second of five matchups in Massachusetts. Bridgeport leads the series 2-1-0-0 following a pair of victories at Webster Bank Arena last month, but the Sound Tigers also suffered a 4-3 setback in their last contest six days ago. Tanner Fritz, Steve Bernier and Devon Toews all scored for Bridgeport, while Jayce Hawryluk potted two goals for the T-Birds. It was also a very physical matchup as tempers boiled over in the third period, and both teams combined for 82 penalty minutes overall. The Sound Tigers went 4-1-0-1 at the MassMutual Center last season.
VIEW FROM SPRINGFIELD
The Thunderbirds have dropped two games in a row and five of their last six entering tonight's tilt. On Wednesday, Maxime Fortunus, Maxim Mamin and Chase Balisy each scored and helped Springfield build a 3-1 lead midway through the second period at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, but they let up on the gas and allowed five unanswered tallies en route to a 6-3 loss. The T-Birds fell to 2-11-1-0 on the road, but the club is much better at home (8-7-0-0) where they defeated Bridgeport last weekend. Springfield is led by sixth-year forward Alexander Grenier, who picked up an assist on Wednesday, and now boasts a team-best 24 points and 17 helpers. Former Sound Tiger Anthony Greco leads the squad with nine goals and 93 shots, but has only scored once in his last eight games.
TIGERS VS. PENGUINS
Saturday's game features the second of six meetings between the Sound Tigers and Penguins this season, and the second of three matchups at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport fell to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 5-2 on Oct. 28, in which Steve Bernier scored just 1:19 into the first period and Ben Holmstrom also found the back of the cage, but the visitors scored midway through the first period and each of the last four goals. The Sound Tigers went 1-5-0-0 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2016-17 and 1-2-0-0 in those games at home.
VIEW FROM WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON
Clark Donatelli's team is second in the Atlantic Division and enters the weekend on a two-game winning streak after topping Springfield 6-3 on Wednesday night. Rookie scoring sensation Daniel Sprong potted two goals in that game and now leads all first-year players in the AHL with 14 goals this season. He's also tied for second in the league overall and tied for second with seven power-play tallies. Another key rookie, reigning NCAA scoring champion Zach Aston-Reese, also contributed with three assists. Between the pipes, Casey DeSmith has been dominant this season with a 10-2-1 record in 13 appearances and he enters the weekend ranked 11th among AHL goaltenders with a 2.35 goals-against-average. The Penguins open a two-game series on Friday in Hartford before traveling to Bridgeport for Saturday's contest.
TIGERS VS. PHANTOMS
Sunday afternoon's matchup features the fourth of eight meetings between the Sound Tigers and Phantoms this season, and the second of four games at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport is still looking for its first win against Lehigh Valley this year after suffering a trio of losses, including a 5-4 overtime setback on Nov. 25 at PPL Center. Tanner Fritz, Michael Dal Colle, Stephen Gionta and Travis St. Denis all scored for the Sound Tigers that night, but defenseman Will O'Neill netted both the game-tying and game-winning goals in Pennsylvania.
VIEW FROM ALLENTOWN
Scott Gordon's team is fourth in the Atlantic Division and has started to level off a bit, going just 4-3-1-0 in their last eight outings. The Phantoms are coming off of a two-game trip to North Carolina earlier this week, in which they split games against the Charlotte Checkers. Matt Read and Radel Fazleev each scored on Wednesday night at Bojangles Coliseum, but the Checkers came away victorious, 5-2. Despite just two goals that night, the notoriously high-powered Phantoms' offense has combined for 20 goals in their last five games and currently ranks third in the AHL with 3.68 goals per game this season. Much of that is thanks to Danick Martel, who leads the League with 15 goals in 25 appearances, and Phil Varone, who ranks second in the AHL with 30 points (nine goals, 21 assists) in 28 games.
BACK IN ALL-STAR FORM
New York Islanders prospect Devon Toews logged his fifth multi-point game of the season last Saturday and now ranks fifth among AHL defensemen with 17 points in 24 appearances (tied with Sebastian Aho and San Diego's Andy Welinski). Toews, who had five goals during his All-Star campaign a year ago, scored his career-best sixth tally of the season against Springfield and is also tied for second on the team in scoring. Toews played his 100th professional game last Sunday against Rochester.
The Sound Tigers went nearly a month without making a transaction, but that streak ended last week as the club adjusted its lineup several times. Among the moves, the Sound Tigers received forward Shane Prince from the Islanders on Sunday (conditioning loan) and the 25-year-old made his season debut that afternoon after missing the first part of the season with an ankle injury. Prince spent each of the last two full seasons in the NHL and has played 114 games with the Islanders and Ottawa Senators. He recorded 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in 50 games with the Isles in 2016-17.
Tanner Fritz is tied for ninth in the AHL's scoring race with 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists)… Sebastian Aho's seven goals are second among AHL defensemen… Devon Toews leads League blue-liners with 75 shots… The Sound Tigers lead the Eastern Conference with 32.67 shots per game and rank second in shots against (27.21)… Bridgeport allowed the first goal in both games last weekend, but the team ranks third in the AHL scoring the first goal on 16 occasions... Chris Gibson is 18th in the League with a 2.60 goals-against-average.
COLLECT THEM ALL!
Be sure to arrive at Webster Bank Arena early on Saturday as the first 2,500 fans will receive a Christmas “Santa” version of the Sound Tigers' mascot, Storm, courtesy of Newtown Savings Bank. Great seats are on sale now! It's the first giveaway in a four-part bobblehead series, which also includes Devon Toews (Jan. 20), former Sound Tiger and current New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson (Feb. 25), and Connor Jones (Apr. 8). In addition, Santa himself will be in attendance to meet fans and drop the ceremonial first puck of the game.
NHL: New York Islanders (17-12-3): Next vs. Los Angeles Kings - Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
ECHL: Worcester Railers (8-9-2-1): Next at Adirondack Thunder - Friday, 7 p.m. ET
Guarantee Your Seats: 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. Please contact Brad Dworin at 203-345-4813 or via firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to guarantee your seats.
Don't Go It Alone: Whether it's a corporate outing, a fundraiser, or just friends getting together, a group outing with the Sound Tigers will guarantee an unforgettable experience filled with fast-paced action on the ice, great music, promotions and contests at an affordable price. The Sound Tigers have a variety of packages and promotional events to offer. Please call the team's front office at 203-345-2300 ext. 7 for more information on the benefits of bringing your group to a future game!
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.