Sound Tigers Face Crunch in 10:30 A.M. Puck DropFeb 5, 2020
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (16-26-4-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, face the Syracuse Crunch (20-21-3-3) in their second of three school-day matchups this season, dropping the puck at 10:30 a.m. today inside Webster Bank Arena. The Sound Tigers are looking for their second straight win after a 3-2 shootout victory against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on the road last Saturday. Simon Holmstrom scored the winner on his first pro shootout attempt, while Oliver Wahlstrom and Josh Ho-Sang each recorded a goal in regulation. Jared Coreau (8-12-1) made 25 saves in net to open February.
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TIGERS VS. CRUNCH
Today's game is the last of four tilts between the Sound Tigers and Crunch this season, and the second of two at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport collected a 3-2 win in the last meeting on Dec. 18, in which Andrew Ladd scored twice including the game-winner at 12:24 of the third period. Kieffer Bellows also scored a goal and Travis St. Denis logged two assists. However, the Crunch earned back-to-back wins at home on Nov. 1 and Dec. 7 by a combined 10-3 margin. Syracuse leads the series 2-1-0-0 entering today’s finale.
VIEW FROM SYRACUSE
The Crunch are on a five-game losing streak (0-3-1-1) and have dropped back to last place in the North Division. Last time out, Syracuse suffered a 6-2 setback to the Providence Bruins at home on Saturday, its fifth straight game allowing three goals or more. In fact, the Crunch have allowed a league-leading 171 goals on the season. Taylor Raddysh scored both goals (12, 13) and Scott Wedgewood made 24 saves on 29 shots against Providence. Second-year forward and reigning AHL Most Outstanding Rookie, Alex Barre-Boulet, leads Syracuse with 40 points (18g, 22a) in 45 games, also tied for 10th in the AHL overall. The Crunch open a four-game road trip this morning.
KIEFFER GETS THE CALL
Kieffer Bellows was recalled by the New York Islanders on Monday and made his NHL debut last night in New York's 4-3 overtime win against Dallas, recording one assist. The 19th overall pick in 2016 had been on a tear in the AHL, scoring 15 goals in his last 26 games and leading the team in goals (16) and points (24) this season. Bellows had 10 goals in 11 December games and earned league-wide recognition as CCM/AHL Player of the Month. Eight of those 10 either tied the game or gave Bridgeport a lead. Bellows has 43 points (28 goals, 15 assists) in 118 AHL regular-season games and three points (two goals, one assist) in five Calder Cup playoff contests.
PUCKS AND PANCAKES
Today is the annual Winter Fun 101 educational game at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport beat Springfield 1-0 in its only other early game this season, highlighted by Nic Pierog’s first AHL goal and a 21-save shutout for Christopher Gibson (one of two blank sheets this season) on Nov. 6. The Sound Tigers will also face Providence at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 1 to conclude their three-game slate of school-day matchups.
Simon Holmstrom showcased a remarkable forehand-backhand-forehand move to clear the benches in Saturday night’s 3-2 victory in Wilkes-Barre, Penn. He converted on his first pro shootout attempt following shootout tallies from Islanders prospects Travis St. Denis and Matt Lorito. Holmstrom has six points (three goals, three assists) in 31 games with the Sound Tigers this season after he was selected 23rd overall in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Saturday’s win was Bridgeport’s first this season when trailing after two periods… Josh Ho-Sang returned to the Sound Tigers lineup on Friday after missing seven straight games due to a lower-body injury... Seth Helgeson is the only player to appear in all 47 games this season… The Sound Tigers have scored two goals or fewer in five of their last six… Bridgeport acquired winger Dylan Sadowy from Utica on Thursday to complete the Jan. 10 trade for John Stevens... He was immediately loaned to Worcester (ECHL).
NHL: New York Islanders (30-15-5) - Next: Tomorrow vs. LA Kings, 7 p.m. ET
ECHL: Worcester Railers (17-28-2-0) - Next: Friday at Maine Mariners, 7:15 p.m. ET