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THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (1-5-2-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, visit Upstate New York for the first time this season, kicking off their second straight "3-in-3" with a 7 p.m. matchup against the Syracuse Crunch (3-2-2-0) tonight. The Sound Tigers will return to Webster Bank Arena tomorrow for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Bridgeport is looking to end a six-game losing streak tonight (0-4-1-1), ending October with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack last Sunday. Grant Hutton scored his first goal of the season at 14:40 of the second period and Jared Coreau made 28 saves, but Darren Raddysh (older brother of Syracuse's Taylor Raddysh) finished the game at 2:25 of OT.
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TIGERS VS. CRUNCH
Tonight's game is the first of four meetings between the Sound Tigers and Crunch this season, and the first of two in New York. Bridgeport went 1-1-0-0 against Syracuse last year, but hasn't won a game inside the War Memorial in nearly three years (since Nov. 11, 2016; 3-2 shootout win). Bridgeport's last regulation win in Syracuse was Apr. 18, 2015.
VIEW FROM SYRACUSE
Benoit Groulx's club is in the middle of a five-game homestand after beginning the season with four straight on the road. The Crunch have won points in each of their last two games (1-0-1-0), including a 4-3 overtime win against the Toronto Marlies on Sunday. Gemel Smith scored the winning goal just 39 seconds into OT - his team-leading seventh point in six appearances - while Cal Foote, Ross Colton and Taylor Raddysh also struck in regulation. Foote is tied for 10th among all AHL defensemen in scoring with six points (1g, 5a) and teammate Peter Abbandonato is tied for first among rookies in PPG (2) and GWG (2). Meanwhile, defending AHL Most Outstanding Rookie Alex Barre-Boulet leads Syracuse with four goals. The Crunch are without key players Alexander Volkov and Luke Schenn tonight, who were all recalled by Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
BERNIN' IT DOWN
Steve Bernier scored his first two goals of the season in last Friday's 7-4 setback to Springfield. He now has 63 goals in his Sound Tigers career, placing him fifth on the team's all-time list. He is eight away from Jeff Tambellini (2005-09). Bernier is currently four points shy of 400 in his pro career.
Bridgeport is determined to climb the ladder in several offensive categories this weekend. The Sound Tigers are last in the AHL in shots per game (25.89) and 29th on the power play (3-for-37), which is a big reason why the team is 29th in goals scored per game (1.89). The Sound Tigers have been outscored 35-17 in their first nine games of the season.
Second-year forward Otto Koivula earned his first career NHL recall on Wednesday when he was promoted by the New York Islanders, a corresponding move to Matt Martin and Tom Kuhnhackl being placed on IR. Koivula had two assists in six games with the Sound Tigers this season after putting up 21 goals with the club in 2018-19, which was fourth-most among all AHL rookies. He was also tied for seventh among rookie scorers (46 points) and co-led Bridgeport with a plus-14 rating. Koivula could make his NHL debut tonight against Syracuse's parent club, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
PIEROG PULLED UP
Forward Nic Pierog was recalled from the Worcester Railers (ECHL) on Wednesday and will likely make his AHL season debut tonight. He had four points (2g, 2a) in six games with the Railers earlier this season.
The Sound Tigers have scored first in four of their nine games this season, but have yet to win when doing so... Bridgeport went 9-4-2-1 against North Division opponents last season... The Sound Tigers have not outshot an opponent this season.
NHL: New York Islanders (8-3-0) - Next: Tonight vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, 7 p.m. ET
ECHL: Worcester Railers (3-3-0-0) - Next: Tonight vs. Newfoundland Growlers, 7:05 p.m. ET