The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (3-10-1-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, make their third trip to Connecticut's capital city this afternoon for a 1 p.m. face-off against the Hartford Wolf Pack (6-6-1-0) at the XL Center. Today's game is also the sixth of 12 matchups between the in-state rivals this season. Hartford has won three of the first five meetings, including a 5-2 win at Webster Bank Arena last Friday, which was the first time the home team hasn't won in the series this season. Sam Bolduc and Cole Bardreau each scored on the power play that afternoon, while Otto Koivula had two assists.
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LOOKING TO BOUNCE BACK
The Sound Tigers look to snap an eight-game winless in regulation streak today (1-6-1-0) as they complete a two-game road trip. On Monday, Bridgeport suffered a 2-1 loss to the Providence Bruins at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Mass. despite Kyle MacLean's second professional goal. MacLean scored just 12 seconds into the third period to make it 1-1 and that deadlock lasted until the 17:00 mark when Brady Lyle beat Ken Appleby (1-1-0), who ended the afternoon with 23 saves.
VIEW FROM HARTFORD
Head coach Kris Knoblauch's team has won three straight games for the first time this season and currently ranks second in the Atlantic Division, 14 points behind Providence with four games in hand. Hartford hasn't played since its 5-2 win against Bridgeport on Friday, when Ty Ronning scored twice, and Morgan Barron had one goal and one assist. The Wolf Pack also scored four times on the power play for the first time in more than 10 years. Today's game is the third of three in a row against the Sound Tigers.
SKAREK RETURNED FROM TAXI SQUAD
Goaltender Jakub Skarek was returned from the Islanders' Taxi Squad on Monday and could play in today's game. Skarek has been up-and-down between the Islanders and Sound Tigers this season and had been recently recalled to the taxi squad due to Cory Schneider's two-game conditioning assignment with the Sound Tigers. Skarek has been the workhorse in Bridgeport this season, playing seven of the team's 14 games and recording a 3.33 goals-against-average and a .895 save percentage.
BOLDUC'S BRILLIANCE AGAINST HARTFORD
Bolduc's fourth goal of the season, which was also his first professional power-play goal, came against the Wolf Pack last Friday at Webster Bank Arena. Bolduc has now scored in four of his five games against Hartford and six of his team-leading eight points (tied with Cole Bardreau) have come against the New York Rangers’ affiliate. He leads all Sound Tigers defensemen in goals (four), assists (four) and points (eight), and leads all Bridgeport players in shots (35).
WOTHERSPOON PLAYS #200
Parker Wotherspoon played his 200th professional game on Monday and recorded four shots on goal, second-most on the team behind Dmytro Timashov's five. All 200 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.
Tom Kuhnhackl has points in four of his last six games (two goals, two assists)... Otto Koivula has three assists in his last three games... April is Bridgeport's busiest month this season (10 games), with seven of those contests coming against Hartford... 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.