The Bridgeport Report: Week 19
Eleven players recorded a point last week as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (23-19-5-2), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, endured a tough three-game stretch and fell back to fifth place in the Atlantic Division. Bridgeport collected one point in three games against the Hartford Wolf Pack, Providence Bruins and Syracuse Crunch, and the team currently sits four points outside of a playoff spot with 27 contests remaining.
The Sound Tigers got off to a slow start on Wednesday morning in Hartford, allowing three goals in the opening period and trailing 4-0 after 40 minutes. However, Bridgeport stormed back in the third period with its first four-goal frame of the season to force overtime, before falling 5-4 to the Wolf Pack. Mitch Vande Sompel, Ryan Bourque, Steve Bernier and John Stevens all scored against Hartford's Alexandre Georgiev, but the Sound Tigers dropped to 5-1-0-2 against the Wolf Pack this season.
Another sluggish start hindered the Sound Tigers on Saturday in a 3-1 loss to Providence on “Pink in the Rink” Night at Webster Bank Arena. Three of the four goals were scored on the power play and Casey Bailey collected Bridgeport's lone tally late in the first period. However, the Bruins recorded three goals in the opening 10:39 and earned just their second win against the Sound Tigers this season. Saturday's game was also physical from the get-go and featured 46 combined penalty minutes, including a fight 23 seconds into the contest between Mike Cornell and Adam Payerl.
On Sunday, Bridgeport scored twice on the power play and carried a one-goal lead into the third period against Syracuse, but let their late advantage slip away in a 3-2 loss in the weekend finale at Webster Bank Arena. Travis St. Denis (pictured) and Michael Dal Colle each found the back of the cage for the Sound Tigers, while Christopher Gibson (17-11-2) made 23 saves on 26 shots in his sixth consecutive start. Dennis Yan notched the game-winner for Syracuse at 8:01 of the third.
Up next is a sequence of three games in six days this week, all against Atlantic Division opponents. The Sound Tigers will face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (30-14-3-3) Providence Bruins (28-16-3-2) and Hartford Wolf Pack (24-20-4-3) with six crucial points on the line. Fans can follow all of the upcoming action via 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:
Tuesday, Feb. 13 vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (7 p.m.) – Take advantage of terrific concession specials during every weekday home game this season, including $1 hotdogs courtesy of Hummel Bros. and $5 draft beers for those 21 and older, presented by Budweiser. Each deal is available at all first-level concession stands as Bridgeport hosts Lehigh Valley for the third time this season. The Sound Tigers are 0-2-2-0 against the Phantoms in four meetings overall. Great seats are on sale now!
Friday, Feb. 16 at Providence Bruins (7:05 p.m.) – The Sound Tigers head north on I-95 to battle the Providence Bruins at Dunkin' Donuts Center for the fourth time this season. Bridgeport is 3-0-0-0 in Rhode Island this year, including a 3-2 victory in their last trip on Jan. 12, in which Casey Bailey scored the game-winning goal with just 2:04 remaining in the third period.
Sunday, Feb. 18 vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (3 p.m.) – “Sunday 4-Packs” highlight every Sunday home game at Webster Bank Arena and are perfect for families. Take advantage of four (4) great seats, four (4) hot dogs, four (4) bags of chips, four (4) soft drinks and four (4) fidget spinners for as low as $99. Call the Sound Tigers front office at 203-345-4813 or CLICK HERE to reserve yours (must be purchased before 3 p.m. on Friday). Sunday's game will feature the ninth of 10 meetings between the in-state rivals and the final matchup in Bridgeport this season.
News and notes:
Bridgeport's Iron Man: Sound Tigers captain Ben Holmstrom played his 200th consecutive AHL game on Saturday, dating back to opening night of his first season with Bridgeport on Oct. 10, 2015. The 30-year-old has played every game for the Sound Tigers since then and his active streak of 201 straight AHL contests is the longest in the AHL (and a franchise record). Hershey Bears forward Wayne Simpson is the next closest at 162, done with three different teams: Providence, Portland and Hershey. Holmstrom has 194 points (72g, 122a) in 518 career AHL games. The AHL's ironman record is held by Billy Dea, who played 548 straight games for the Buffalo Bisons from 1958 to 1966.
You're A Saint: Second-year forward Travis St. Denis enters Tuesday's contest on a team-best four-game point streak (one goal, three assists) following his highlight-reel goal on Sunday. St. Denis lined up for an offensive-zone faceoff and in one fluid motion, slapped the puck off the ice and past the glove of Syracuse goaltender Eddie Pasquale. St. Denis is second on the Sound Tigers in scoring with 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) in 47 games this season after placing outside of the team's top 10 a year ago. The Trail, B.C. native is also tied for third on the club in goals.
Balancing Act: Secondary scoring and a balanced offense has been a theme for the Sound Tigers this season. Bridgeport has just one player in the AHL's top 70 in goal scoring (Scott Eansor – 16) and no active players in the top 135 in points. Bridgeport is 23rd in the League with 2.78 goals per game on average.
Quick Hits: Casey Bailey logged his 100th professional point with a power-play goal last Saturday... Bridgeport has allowed seven power-play goals in its last six games, but the club's penalty kill is fifth in the AHL (85.5%)... After tonight's game, six of the Sound Tigers' next nine will take place on the road… Christopher Gibson has started six straight games for Bridgeport… He is tied for sixth in the AHL with 17 wins and 10th in goals-against-average (2.48)… The Sound Tigers have outshot their opponent 38 times in 49 games this season (77.6%), including five straight, but are just 16-15-5-2 when doing so.
Goals: Scott Eansor (16)
Assists: Tanner Fritz (27)*
Points: Tanner Fritz (37)*
Plus/minus: Kyle Burroughs (+13)
Penalty minutes: Ross Johnston* (113)
Power-play goals: Scott Eansor, Casey Bailey (6)
Shots: Casey Bailey (146)
* = Currently playing with the New York Islanders
The New York Islanders (27-24-6) suffered a 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Sunday, despite building a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals from former Sound Tigers Casey Cizikas and Anthony Beauvillier. Matthew Tkachuk scored twice in the third period for Calgary, including the game-winner with 65 seconds left, as the Flames and former Sound Tiger Travis Hamonic escaped Barclays Center with the win. However, the Islanders celebrated a wild 7-6 overtime victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday, in which the team scored four times on the same power play late in the third period, and Brock Nelson completed a hat trick with the overtime winner. Mat Barzal set up the game-winning tally with his fifth assist of the game. The Islanders currently sit just outside of a wild card spot, tied with Tuesday's opponent, the Columbus Blue Jackets (60 points). The Isles and Blue Jackets drop the puck at Barclays Center at 7 p.m.
The ECHL's Worcester Railers H.C. (21-20-4-2) won two of their three games last week, led by former Sound Tigers forward Chris Langkow with three goals and two assists. The Railers wrapped up an 11-game homestand on Saturday with a 5-3 victory against the Brampton Beast, backstopped by Islanders prospect Eamon McAdam (13-9-4) with 23 saves. Former Sound Tiger Jeff Kubiak also scored a goal in Friday's 4-1 setback to the South Carolina Stingrays. Worcester opens a seven-game road trip on Thursday with their first visit to the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., where the club will face the Orlando Solar Bears at 7 p.m.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep up with the latest Sound Tigers news on Facebook and on Twitter. For more team information, log on to soundtigers.com.