The Bridgeport Sound Tigers, American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, begin the second half of their 2020-21 season today with a 1 p.m. tilt against the Hartford Wolf Pack at Webster Bank Arena. It's the fifth of 12 meetings between the in-state rivals and the third of six matchups in the Park City. Bridgeport is 2-2-0-0 in the season series following a 5-2 setback in their last meeting six days ago at the XL Center in Hartford. Cole Bardreau scored both goals for the Sound Tigers and Jakub Skarek made 32 saves in his seventh appearance that afternoon.
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LOOKING TO BOUNCE BACK
The Sound Tigers (3-8-1-0) look to end a six-game winless in regulation streak today as they open a new month. On Wednesday, the Sound Tigers finished March with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Providence Bruins at home, in which Tom Kuhnhackl and A.J. Greer each found the back of the net. Cory Schneider made 21 saves in his first appearance on conditioning and his first game overall in more than a year. He helped Bridgeport take a one-goal lead into the third period, but Alex-Olivier Voyer tied the game at 11:09 and Oskar Steen scored the winner at 2:31 of overtime.
VIEW FROM HARTFORD
Head coach Kris Knoblauch's team has won back-to-back games for the first time since beginning the year 2-0-0-0 in early February. Hartford (5-6-1-0) hasn't played since its 5-2 victory against Bridgeport on Mar. 27th, when Paul Thompson and Justin Richards had two points each (one goal, one assist) and Adam Huska made 20 saves. The Wolf Pack scored twice on the power play, twice at even strength and once shorthanded that afternoon. Hartford is led offensively by rookie forward Morgan Barron's seven goals and 10 points, while forward Jonny Brodzinski also has 10 points (four goals, six assists). Today's game is the second of three in a row against the Sound Tigers.
SCHNEIDER MAKES SEASON DEBUT
Veteran NHL goaltender Cory Schneider was assigned to Bridgeport by the Islanders on Wednesday morning and played 62 minutes in the overtime loss to Providence, his first game overall since Mar. 6, 2020 (with the New Jersey Devils). It was also his first AHL contest since Feb. 17, 2020 with Binghamton. Schneider stopped 21 of the 24 shots he faced and didn't see a single shot-on-goal in the first period. He has a 2.39 career goals-against-average in 160 AHL games and a 2.43 goals-against-average in 409 NHL games with New Jersey and Vancouver.
KUHNHACKL EXTENDS STREAK
Tom Kuhnhackl scored his second goal of the season at 5:14 of the second period on Wednesday, pushing his point streak to four games - the longest scoring streak for the Sound Tigers this season. Kuhnhackl has two goals and two assists in his last four games and is one contest away from tying his career-long five-game point streak (Oct. 23rd - Nov. 4th, 2015 while playing with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins). His longest NHL point streak is three games (twice).
GREER GETS HIS FIRST
A.J. Greer scored his first goal of the season and his first with Bridgeport on Wednesday afternoon, giving the Sound Tigers a 2-1 lead late in the second period on the power play. It was his first goal since Mar. 7, 2020 with the Colorado Eagles, which was also a power-play tally. Greer ended last season on a four-game point streak (two goals, four assists) and was tied for third on the Eagles with 16 goals in 2019-20. He was acquired by the Islanders on Oct. 11th in a trade for Kyle Burroughs.
Today's game is the first of 10 contests in April, Bridgeport’s busiest month... Bridgeport's penalty kill went 4-for-4 on Wednesday and now ranks third in the AHL at home (22-for-25, 88%)... The PK is 18 for its last 18 at home, dating back to Feb. 17th against Hartford... Parker Wotherspoon is likely to play his 200th pro game next Monday at 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.