The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (3-9-1-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, begin a two-game road trip this afternoon with a 1 p.m. matchup against the Providence Bruins (12-3-1-0) at the New England Sports Center. It's the ninth of 12 meetings between the two rivals and the fifth of six games in Marlborough, Mass. Their last matchup went to overtime on Mar. 31st in Bridgeport, when Tom Kuhnhackl and A.J. Greer each scored to build a 2-1 lead late in the second period, but Bruins' forward Alex-Olivier Voyer tied the game at even strength and Oskar Steen pushed Providence to a 3-2 victory at 2:31 of OT. Providence leads the season series 7-1-0-0.
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LAST TIME OUT
The Sound Tigers scored twice on the power play Friday afternoon, but suffered a 5-2 loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack at home. In fact, six of the seven combined goals came on the man advantage including Samuel Bolduc’s fourth goal of the season and Cole Bardreau’s team-leading sixth. Otto Koivula assisted on both of Bridgeport’s tallies, while Ty Ronning had three points (two goals, one assist) to pace the Wolf Pack. Cory Schneider (0-1-1) made 22 saves in the second and final game of his conditioning assignment from the Islanders.
VIEW FROM PROVIDENCE
The Bruins are 8-1-1-0 in their last 10 games including Wednesday's overtime victory in Bridgeport, which is Providence's most recent contest. Head coach Jay Leach's team was scheduled to face Utica on Saturday, but that game was postponed due to the AHL's COVID-19 protocols affecting the Comets. The Bruins are led offensively by forward Cameron Hughes with 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in 16 games, while Robert Lantosi has a team-best six goals. Jeremy Swayman (8-1-0) has won eight his first nine pro games and enters today ranked third among all AHL goaltenders in goals-against-average (1.89) and save percentage (.933). He's also tied for fourth in wins.
WOTHERSPOON HITS #200
Parker Wotherspoon is expected to play his 200th professional game this afternoon. All 199 of his pro appearances have come with the Sound Tigers since his debut as an 18-year-old rookie on April 3, 2016. Wotherspoon is in his fourth full season in the AHL and has 70 points (17 goals, 53 assists) and 202 penalty minutes with Bridgeport. He was drafted by the Islanders in the fourth round (#112 overall) in 2015.
Cory Schneider was recalled by the Isles on Saturday following two starts during his recent conditioning assignment with Bridgeport. He played each of the Sound Tigers' two games last week, including 21 saves on 24 shots in Wednesday's overtime loss to Providence and 22 saves on 27 shots in a 5-2 setback to Hartford on Friday. The former NHL and AHL All-Star has a 2.39 career goals-against-average in 161 AHL games and a 2.41 goals-against-average in 409 NHL games with New Jersey and Vancouver. Goalies C.J. Motte and Ken Appleby remain on the Sound Tigers' roster for today's game against Providence.
AGAINST THE BRUINS
Bridgeport's last trip to Marlborough three weeks ago resulted in a 5-2 setback on Monday, Mar. 15th. Cole Bardreau and Tom Kuhnhackl each scored for the Sound Tigers, both in the final 1:36. Those two players each lead Bridgeport against Providence with two goals and three points in eight games. Simon Holmstrom (one goal, two assists) and Mitch Vande Sompel (three assists) also have three points in the season series, while four different goalies have faced the Bruins in 2021: Francis Marotte (two games), C.J. Motte (three games), Cory Schneider (one game), and Jakub Skarek (four games).
Tom Kuhnhackl has points in four of his last five games (two goals, two assists)... Otto Koivula has three assists in his last two games... April is Bridgeport's busiest month this season (10 games), but only three of those contests will be against Providence… Tanner Fritz is tied for fourth place on the team’s all-time assists list (89) with Steven Regier (2004-08)... Fritz is 11 assists behind Aaron Ness (2010-15) for third place and also three points behind Trent Hunter (2001-03) for eighth place on the team’s all-time scoring list.