The Bridgeport Report: Week 9
Josh Ho-Sang scored an overtime winner and added four assists last week as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (13-7-3-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, became just the fourth team to reach the 30-point mark this season. Fellow 2014 first-rounder Michael Dal Colle chipped in three points (one goal, two assists) in three games, while Otto Koivula had two goals.
The Sound Tigers produced 42 shots on goal in their final game of November on Wednesday, but suffered a 5-2 loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds at MassMutual Center. Dal Colle and Sebastian Aho each scored at even strength for Bridgeport, while Ho-Sang assisted on both goals and took over the AHL's top spot for helpers. Former Sound Tiger Anthony Greco had three goals for the Florida Panthers' affiliate and Sam Montembeault (9-2-1) made 40 saves.
Bridgeport nearly bounced back with a win on Saturday, but came up short in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Providence Bruins at Webster Bank Arena. Ryan Fitzgerald ended the game with a successful penalty shot in OT, while the Sound Tigers pocketed one point and extended their unbeaten in regulation streak at home to 11 games (8-0-2-1). Parker Wotherspoon netted his third goal of the season and Ho-Sang earned his league-leading 19th assist, while Christopher Gibson (7-3-3) made 27 saves on 29 shots.
Less than 24 hours later, the Sound Tigers went beyond regulation once again, and this time Ho-Sang played hero and netted his second goal of the season 91 seconds into overtime. It pushed Bridgeport to a 5-4 victory against Springfield in a rematch at MassMutual Center – the club's first win in Massachusetts since Mar. 29, 2017. Koivula scored twice in regulation and Jeremy Smith (6-4-1) made a season-high 34 saves, while Dal Colle contributed two assists for the Sound Tigers.
Bridgeport currently ranks second in the Eastern Conference entering a two-game slate this week. The Sound Tigers will host the New York Rangers' top affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack (11-9-1-2), this Wednesday at 7 p.m., before traveling to Pennsylvania on Saturday for a 3:05 p.m. matinee against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (9-10-3-1). Fans can follow all of the action online via the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHLTV, beginning with the pre-game show 15 minutes before each listed start time.
The week ahead:
Wednesday, Dec. 5 vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (7 p.m.): The Sound Tigers face their Nutmeg State rival for the fifth time this season and their second matchup at Webster Bank Arena. Doors open at 6 p.m. and all fans are encouraged to take advantage of a new “3-2-1” concession special, featuring $1 hot dogs, $2 boxes of popcorn, and $3 bottled Pepsi products. Bridgeport is 1-1-1-1 in four matchups against Hartford this season.
Saturday, Dec. 8 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (3:05 p.m.): The Sound Tigers visit Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for the first time this season on Saturday. Bridgeport is 1-0-0-0 against the Penguins this year following an 8-5 win at home on Nov. 4, in which Kieffer Bellows scored twice and Josh Ho-Sang tied a franchise record with four assists. The Sound Tigers went 2-0-1-0 in three trips to Wilkes-Barre, Penn. in 2017-18.
News and Notes:
Knowing How To Finnish: New York Islanders prospect Otto Koivula has five goals and 11 points in his last 13 games, including his first two-goal performance in the AHL on Sunday. The Nokia, Finland native has played left wing, right wing, and most recently, center, during his first season in North America and is tied for fifth on the team in goals (Bridgeport is 4-0-0-0 when he scores in a game). Koivula, the Sound Tigers' youngest player at 20-years-old, also leads the team with a plus-6 rating.
Leading the Way: For the first time in his three-year career, Josh Ho-Sang leads the Sound Tigers in scoring with 22 points (two goals, 20 assists) in 24 games this season. His four-assist week also vaulted Ho-Sang into the league-lead in helpers and into a tie for 10th place in AHL scoring overall. He is seven helpers away from 10th place on Bridgeport's all-time assists list (76 - held by Trent Hunter, 2001-03) and will carry a three-game point streak into Wednesday's action.
Off on the Right Foot: The Sound Tigers scored three times in the first period on Sunday and continue to be one of the strongest teams in the opening frame. Bridgeport has 29 first-period goals this season, third-most behind the Charlotte Checkers and Chicago Wolves, and is 10-1-0-1 when scoring first in a contest. Michael Dal Colle leads the club with five goals in first periods, while four of Otto Koivula's six goals have come in the first 20 minutes of a game.
Gibson Stays Sharp: Christopher Gibson is 4-0-3 in his last seven starts and has a 1.94 goals-against-average and .933 save percentage over his last four games. He only made one appearance last weekend, but it was a respectable performance, as the sixth-year netminder made 27 saves and allowed just one goal in regulation during his 100th Sound Tigers game. The 2018 AHL All-Star ranks fourth in both wins and games played on Bridgeport's all-time goaltending lists.
Quick Hits: Devon Toews is tied for sixth among AHL defensemen with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists), but has missed three straight games with an upper-body injury… Sebastian Aho is tied for 15th among league defensemen with 14 points (two goals, 12 assists)… Steve Bernier is fourth in the league in shooting percentage (31.3%), but has missed two straight games due to illness… The Sound Tigers have been involved in 15 one-goal outcomes this season, which leads the AHL… Bridgeport is 9-2-3-1 when games are decided by a single tally.
Goals: Steve Bernier (10)
Assists: Josh Ho-Sang (20)
Points: Josh Ho-Sang (22)
Plus/Minus: Otto Koivula (+6)
Penalty Minutes: Kyle Burroughs (51)
Power-play goals: Steve Bernier (7)
Shots: Chris Bourque (66)
Wins: Christopher Gibson (7)
The New York Islanders (13-9-3) celebrated their return to Nassau Coliseum on Saturday with a come-from-behind, 3-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets in front of a hostile, sold-out crowd at NYCB Live. It was the team's first regular-season game on Long Island in more than three years, which saw former Sound Tiger Casey Cizikas net the game-winner at 7:09 of the third. Former Sound Tigers Anders Lee (goal), Anthony Beauvillier (goal) and Scott Mayfield (two assists) also made big contributions at the Coliseum. The Isles return to Brooklyn tonight for a 7 p.m. matchup against the Winnipeg Jets at Barclays Center. Lee and Brock Nelson lead the team with nine goals, while Josh Bailey has a team-best 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists).
The Worcester Railers H.C. (9-10-2-0) won their third straight game last Saturday with a 3-2 victory against the Maine Mariners at the DCU Center. Ryan Hitchcock scored his first ECHL goal in the opening frame and another former Sound Tiger, Matt Gaudreau, tallied his fourth of the year, leading the Railers back to within one game of .500. Mitch Gillam, who signed an AHL deal with the Sound Tigers on July 12, added 31 saves in the winning effort. The Railers are sixth in the North Division heading into this week's action. Worcester continues a three-game homestand against the Brampton Beast tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m.
Packed Promotional Lineup: The Sound Tigers will 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 Military Appreciation (Jan. 12), Star Wars Night (Jan. 19), Princess Night (Mar. 30) and Hockey and Hops (Mar. 17). Regional hockey fans will be elated for the addition of Hockey Weekend in Connecticut (Feb. 23-24), while another new headliner is Holiday Gift Weekend (Dec. 15-16). 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.