Sound Tigers Begin Five-Game Road Trip This WeekendMar 2, 2019
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (33-18-5-2), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, look for their season-best sixth straight win on Saturday when they face the Hershey Bears (32-21-1-3) at 7 p.m. to open a five-game road trip, and two-game weekend series. The Sound Tigers will also meet the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (27-23-3-3) at 3:05 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.
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LAST TIME OUT
The Sound Tigers not only won their fifth straight game last Sunday, but also pushed their point streak to eight in a row (7-0-1-0) with a 5-1 victory against Hershey at Webster Bank Arena. Steve Bernier notched a game-high three points (one goal, two goals), including his team-leading 18th goal this season, while Travis St. Denis (one goal, one assist), Michael Dal Colle (one goal, one assist), Matt Lorito (one goal, one assist) and Tanner Fritz (two assists) also had more than one point. Between the pipes, Christopher Gibson (17-9-4) made 25 saves and has now won six straight decisions. Former Bear Chris Bourque had the eventual game-winner at 16:41 of the first period.
TIGERS VS. BEARS
Tonight's game marks the fourth of six meetings between the Sound Tigers and Bears this season, and the second of three matchups at Giant Center. Bridgeport leads the series 2-1-0-0 and has outscored Hershey 8-6 in the first three contests, including a 2-1 regulation victory in Chocolate Town on Oct. 7. Chris Bourque scored his first goal with Bridgeport early in the second period, while Michael Dal Colle finished with a game-high two assists. Steve Bernier notched the game-winner at 2:56 of the third period (power play).
VIEW FROM HERSHEY
Spencer Carbery's club ranks third in the Atlantic Division and has recorded at least one point in 19 of their last 20 games. Last night, the Bears suffered their first overtime loss this season in a 3-2 setback against the Utica Comets in New York, completing a three-game road trip. Liam O’Brien and Mike Sgarbossa each scored and 2019 AHL All-Star Vitek Vanecek made 23 saves. Riley Barber also added one assist and continues to lead Hershey in goals (26) and points (50). The Bears return home Saturday and try for their ninth straight win at Giant Center, a streak that began Jan. 13. Ilya Samsonov is expected to start between the pipes, going for his seventh straight win and attempting to allow two goals or less in his ninth straight start.
TIGERS VS. PHANTOMS
Sunday’s game marks the sixth and final meeting between the Sound Tigers and Phantoms this season, and the third of three matchups at PPL Center. Bridgeport is 2-2-1-0 against the Phantoms thus far, with points in three of its last four meetings. Lehigh Valley earned a 4-3 overtime win in their last tilt on Feb. 15, despite two points from Matt Lorito (one goal, one assist) in his second game with the Sound Tigers.
VIEW FROM ALLENTOWN
The struggling Phantoms have lost five straight games (0-4-0-1) and dropped to sixth place in the Atlantic Division entering the weekend. In fact, Lehigh Valley has fallen in eight of its last 10 games, including a 4-0 loss to the Syracuse Crunch on Friday – the third time the Phantoms have been blanked this year. Alex Lyon made 21 saves on 24 shots and now ranks 13th among AHL goalies with a 2.52 goals-against-average. Offensively, Greg Carey leads the Phantoms with 49 points (23 goals, 26 assists) and is currently tied for 15th among league scorers.
BOURQUE KEEPS BURYING
Sound Tigers leading scorer Chris Bourque has scored in three straight games for the second time this year, including his team-best fifth game-winner in Sunday's victory against his former team. The veteran winger is up to 44 points (13 goals, 31 assists) in 56 games this season, as he attempts to lead his AHL club in scoring for the fourth time in the last five years. He led Hershey with 53 points (17 goals, 36 assists) in 2017-18. The Sound Tigers are 10-1-0-1 when Bourque nets at least one goal in a game this season.
LORITO'S HOT START
Matt Lorito has only played five games with the Sound Tigers this season, but he's collected at least one point in each of them and currently rides a team-best five-game scoring streak into this weekend's action. The 28-year-old has eight points (two goals, six assists) since returning from injury, including three multi-point performances. His five-game assists streak is also tied for the longest active string in the AHL. Lorito is a two-time AHL All-Star who signed a two-year deal with the Islanders in July.
WHEN 60 ISN'T ENOUGH
The Sound Tigers have gone past regulation in five of their last seven games and 21 times overall this year, tied for the most in the AHL (with Iowa). Fourteen of those contests have resulted in victories, which leads the league. Bridgeport has been no stranger to close games this season and the team continues to lead the AHL in one-goal outcomes with 35 (23-5-5-2).
Sebastian Aho has points in six of his last eight games, with nine points total during that span (three goals, six assists)… Aho is seventh among AHL defensemen in points (38) and third among blue-liners in assists (32)… Otto Koivula is seventh among AHL rookies in points (39) and fourth among first-year players in goals (17)… The Sound Tigers have two of the league's top five players in shooting percentage: Steve Bernier (24.3%) and Michael Dal Colle (23.6%)… Bridgeport has scored at least five goals in a game 13 times this season, going 12-1-0-0 in those contests… The Sound Tigers have outscored opponents by 17 at 5-on-5 this season.
NHL: New York Islanders (37-20-7): Next: Sunday vs. Philadelphia (3 p.m. ET)
ECHL: Worcester Railers (24-22-5-4): Next: Sunday vs. Adirondack (3:05 p.m. ET)
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 [email protected]