Watch: Sound Tigers Discuss 2018-19 SeasonApr 30, 2019
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers cleaned out their stalls this week after falling in Game 5 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals on Saturday, which officially ended their 2019 playoff run. The Sound Tigers finished the regular season fifth in the American Hockey League overall (43-24-6-3, 95 points) - their highest finish in a decade.
Despite the ups and downs, Bridgeport's 2018-19 season will be a memorable one that saw New York Islanders prospects Kieffer Bellows, Otto Koivula (North America), Oliver Wahlstrom and others make their pro debuts.
But the mood in the locker room was consistent this week... frustrating... as many Sound Tigers felt the 2018-19 team had each piece needed to make a longer postseason run.
Ben Holmstrom (#21) - Holmstrom finished his fourth season in Bridgeport with eight points (three goals, five assists) in 40 games, while serving as team captain for the fourth straight campagn.
Steve Bernier (#37) - Fourteenth-year veteran Steve Bernier led the Sound Tigers in goal scoring with a career-high 24 during the 2018-19 regular season. He added 18 assists for 42 points in 62 games and also scored a team-high 10 power-play goals, all while wearing an 'A' on his sweater.
Matt Lorito (#14) - Lorito wrapped up his first season in Bridgeport with 16 points in just 23 games, including five goals. He also scored the overtime winner in Game 4 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals on April 25. The 28-year-old missed the majority of the season due to injury, but made his Sound Tigers debut in February and was strong ever since.
Sebastian Aho (#28) - Aho completed his second season with the Sound Tigers, and his second straight all-star campaign, with 46 points (nine goals, 37 assists) in 67 games, which led all team defensemen. It also ranked second on the team overall (tied with Otto Koivula).
Kieffer Bellows (#15) - Bellows finished his rookie season with 12 goals and 19 points in 73 AHL games. The New York Islanders' 19th overall pick in 2016 also scored the double-overtime winner in Game 1 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals on April 19.
Chris Bourque (#7) - Bourque led the Sound Tigers in scoring with 54 points (15 goals, 39 assists) in 72 games during his first season with Bridgeport. It was the most points recorded by a Sound Tigers player since 2014-15. He also paced the club in assists (39), shots (164) and power-play points (21).
Kyle Burroughs (#8) - Burroughs had 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 69 games while serving as Sound Tigers co-captain. He finished fifth among Bridgeport defensemen in scoring.
Otto Koivula (#12) - Koivula was Bridgeport's top rookie in 2018-19, recording 21 goals and 46 points in 69 games. He was second on the Sound Tigers in scoring overall and finished the year tied with Jeff Kubiak for the best plus-minus rating (+14).
Travis St. Denis (#24) - St. Denis was fourth on the Sound Tigers in scoring during his third professional season. The Quinnipiac University product had 43 points (17 goals, 26 assists) in 75 games and was second on the team in power-play goals (eight).
Oliver Wahlstrom (#38) - Wahlstrom turned pro late this season following his only year at Boston College. The 11th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft had three points (two goals, one assist) in just five games and became the youngest Sound Tiger to ever score a goal when he netted his first pro tally on April 6 against Providence.
Seth Helgeson (#2) - It was a career season on the offensive side for Seth Helgeson, who recorded 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) and a team-high 132 penalty minutes in 74 games. He also served as one of Bridgeport's alternate captains during his second season with the Sound Tigers.
Stephen Gionta (#13) - Gionta notched four points (two goals, two assists) in 26 games during his second full season with the Sound Tigers.
Christopher Gibson (#33) - Gibson won a team-high 22 games during the regular season and finished his sixth professional campaign with a 2.84 goals-against-average and .902 save percentage. He also played two games with the New York Islanders, who he resigned a two-year deal with in July.
Jeremy Smith (#35) - Smith played a team-high 43 games during the regular season and went 21-13-4 during his first year in Bridgeport. He added a 2.92 goals-against-average, .902 save percentage and one shutout, while earning a two-way contract with the New York Islanders for the remainder of 2018-19 in February.
John Stevens (#18) - Stevens amassed seven points (three goals, four assists) in 25 games after returning from a long-term injury, which kept him out for the majority of the season until he came back in January.