Sound Tigers Face Bruins To Kick Off 2020-21 Season

Sound Tigers Face Bruins To Kick Off 2020-21 Season

Feb 5, 2021

THE STORY COMING IN

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers travel to the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Massachusetts at 1 p.m. this afternoon to open their 2020-21 regular season against the Providence Bruins, AHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins. It will mark the first game for both teams since March 11, 2020 - 331 days ago. The Sound Tigers will face the Bruins 12 times during the shortened campaign, including six tilts on the road. Bridgeport went 4-5-0-0 against Providence in 2019-20 and six of those matchups were decided by two goals or less.

 

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THE SCHEDULE

The Sound Tigers will play just 24 games over a 92-day period this season, running through Saturday, May 8th. It's the lightest schedule in the AHL (tied with Hartford) and features just two opponents all year, the Bruins and Wolf Pack. In addition, the Sound Tigers will not play on consecutive days at all this season and will average a game every 3.8 days. Bridgeport will not have a road trip longer than two games.

 

VIEW FROM PROVIDENCE

Led by head coach Jay Leach, the Bruins had more points than anyone in the Eastern Conference (82) when the 2019-20 season came to a halt. In fact, Providence was on a 12-game winning streak and a 13-game point streak, and finished the season at 38-18-3-3. Bridgeport was the last team to beat them in regulation on Feb. 8, 2020. Providence will play 26 games this season, facing Utica twice aside from the Sound Tigers (12 games) and Hartford Wolf Pack (12 games).

 

THE ROSTER

Eighteen players on the Sound Tigers' season-opening roster have previously worn the team's jersey in at least one regular-season game. That includes highly-touted winger Simon Holmstrom and defenseman Parker Wotherspoon, Bridgeport's top returning point-getter from 2019-20. Six players have NHL experience (1,321 total games) and 17 players are currently on an NHL contract with the New York Islanders, including A.J. Greer who signed after being acquired in a trade for Kyle Burroughs in October. There are 15 AHL rookies on the Sound Tigers' season-opening roster and nine players are looking to make their pro debut (forwards Kyle MacLean, Brett Neumann, Felix Bibeau, Blade Jenkins, Cole Coskey and Nick Pastjuov, defenseman Sam Bolduc and Adam Brubacher, and goaltender Francis Marotte.

 

HELGESON NAMED CAPTAIN

Veteran defenseman Seth Helgeson was named Sound Tigers captain last weekend and will wear the 'C' for the first time in his eight-year professional career. Helgeson was an alternate captain with Bridgeport each of the last three seasons and also served as an alternate captain with the Albany Devils in 2016-17. The University of Minnesota product signed a two-year, AHL deal with the Sound Tigers in October, and has 74 points (10g, 64a) and 626 penalty minutes in 431 AHL games. Tanner Fritz and Cole Bardreau will each serve as an alternate captain.

 

KUHNHACKL SIGNS AHL DEAL

Two-time Stanley Cup champion Tom Kuhnhackl agreed to terms on an AHL contract last month and is expected to be a big part of today's opening-day lineup. A veteran of more than 400 professional contests, Kuhnhackl has played at least 28 NHL regular-season games in each of the last five seasons (232 total between New York and Pittsburgh) and an additional 58 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He helped the Pittsburgh Penguins win back-to-back Cups in 2016 and 2017.

 

THOMPSON'S TIGERS

Head coach Brent Thompson returns for his eighth season behind the Bridgeport bench and his 10th year with the New York Islanders organization. Thompson is the Sound Tigers' all-time winningest head coach and is 255-212-52 in 519 regular-season games with Bridgeport. He coached his 500th AHL game on Jan. 24, 2020. Previously, Thompson served as head coach of the ECHL's Alaska Aces from 2009-11, winning the Kelly Cup Championship and the John Brophy Award (ECHL Coach of the Year) in 2011.

   

QUICK HITS

Tanner Fritz enters the 2020-21 season ranked 10th on the Sound Tigers' all-time scoring list (129 points) and tied for seventh on the team's all-time assists list (86)... One more assist will tie him with Matt Donovan (2010-14) and one more point will match Justin Mapletoft (2001-05)... A.J. Greer is expected to play his 200th AHL game this afternoon... Cole Bardreau is expected to play his 275th professional game today.

 

SEASON-OPENING ROSTER, NUMERICALLY BY POSITION

 

FORWARDS (18)

10 - Kyle MacLean

11 - Tanner Fritz

12 - A.J. Greer

13 - Brett Neumann

14 - Bobo Carpenter

15 - Simon Holmstrom

16 - Andrew Ladd

17 - Felix Bibeau

18 - Erik Brown

21 - Cole Bardreau

24 - Blade Jenkins

25 - Mason Jobst

28 - Cole Coskey

29 - Arnaud Durandeau

32 - Yanick Turcotte

33 - Nick Pastujov

36 - Jeff Kubiak

41 - Tom Kuhnhackl

 

DEFENSEMEN (9)

2 - Seth Helgeson

3 - Samuel Bolduc

4 - Mitch Vande Sompel

6 - Mike Cornell

7 - Grant Hutton

8 - Bode Wilde

27 - Parker Wotherspoon

34 - Adam Brubacher

44 - Ryan MacKinnon

 

GOALTENDERS (4)

1 - Francis Marotte

35 - Jakub Skarek

39 - Ken Appleby

50 - C.J. Motte

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