Sound Tigers Host Checkers, Bears This WeekendMar 30, 2019
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (39-21-6-2), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, continue their season-long, eight-game homestand with matchups against the first-place Charlotte Checkers (46-15-7-1) tonight, and the fourth-place Hershey Bears (36-24-3-4) Sunday afternoon. The Sound Tigers will be looking to clinch a berth in the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs, with their magic number sitting at “seven” in the final eight games of the regular season.
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The Sound Tigers are thrilled to host two popular theme nights at Webster Bank Arena this weekend: “Princess Night” this evening and “Pucks & Paws” on Sunday. Meet prevalent fairy-tale princesses during tonight’s game, beginning at 6 p.m. when doors open. In addition, bring your dog to the game for free on Sunday afternoon and kids can also meet Chase and Marshall from the Nickelodeon television show Paw Patrol! Tickets for both games are on sale now!
LAST TIME OUT
On Wednesday, the Sound Tigers were shut out for just the third time this season in a 4-0 loss to Charlotte in their first of back-to-back games this week. Andrew Poturalski scored twice and had one assist for a game-high three points, while Alex Nedeljkovic made 23 saves for his fourth blank sheet of 2018-19. It was also his league-leading and franchise-record 32nd victory this season. Despite the loss, the Sound Tigers have won nine of their last 11 home games and continue to lead the league in win percentage at home (75.8%).
TIGERS VS. CHECKERS
Tonight's 7 p.m. tilt marks the eighth and final meeting between the Sound Tigers and Checkers this season, and the fourth of four matchups at Webster Bank Arena. Charlotte leads the series 4-3-0-0, but Bridgeport is 2-1-0-0 against the Checkers at home. Josh Ho-Sang leads the Sound Tigers in scoring against Charlotte with eight points (three goals, five assists) in just five appearances.
VIEW FROM CHARLOTTE
Charlotte leads the AHL with 100 points in 69 games (.725) and became the first club to clinch a playoff spot this season. In addition, the Checkers are on a five-game winning streak and nine-game point streak (8-0-1-0) following a 4-1 win at Hartford last night. Stelio Mattheos earned his first pro goal and Aleksi Saarela got his team-leading 25th of the year, while Morgan Geekie and Julien Gauthier also scored. Andrew Poturalski leads Charlotte and is fourth in the AHL with 65 points (23g, 42a) in 69 games, while Alex Nedeljkovic leads all goaltenders in wins (32), minutes played (2,682) and goals-against-average (2.24).
TIGERS VS. BEARS
Sunday’s 3 p.m. matinee marks the sixth and final meeting between the Sound Tigers and Bears this season, and the third of three matchups at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport is 3-2-0-0 in the season series and 1-1-0-0 against Hershey at home, but the Bears took the last head-to-head tilt at Giant Center on Mar. 16, when Riley Barber scored twice en route to a 5-1 victory. Mike Sgarbossa also chipped in a game-high four points (one goal, three assists), while Steve Bernier had Bridgeport’s only tally. The Sound Tigers defeated Hershey in their last game at Webster Bank Arena, 5-1 on Feb. 24, led by Bernier’s three points (one goal, two assists).
VIEW FROM HERSHEY
Hershey has dropped two straight games and is just 4-3-2-1 over its last 10 games, which has allowed Providence to move into third place in the Atlantic Division. Last time out, the Bears suffered a 4-1 road loss to the Cleveland Monsters last Sunday, in which Max Kammerer scored his second goal of the season for the only Hershey tally. Riley Barber continues to lead the Bears in scoring with 31 goals and 59 points in 61 games (Mike Sgarbossa also has 59 points in 67 games this season). Barber is second in the AHL in goals and tied for 13th in points. The Bears host Providence tonight before traveling to Bridgeport for Sunday’s matinee matchup.
SMITH STANDING TALL
Jeremy Smith has stopped 130 of the 135 shots he’s faced over his last five games, including 30 saves last Sunday against the league’s third-best offense (Syracuse). He also made a season-high 40 saves against Toronto on Mar. 10 and earned a 29-save shutout against Springfield on Mar. 17. The 10th-year netminder has won six of his last eight decisions since Feb. 22, with a 1.21 goals-against-average and .961 save percentage in his last four starts. Smith, who signed a two-way (NHL/AHL) deal for the rest of the season on Feb. 24, leads Bridgeport with 20 victories in 39 appearances this season, which is tied for fifth on the team’s all-time single-season wins list.
The Sound Tigers have signed two players to amateur tryout contracts since Wednesday's game. Robert "Bobo" Carpenter (agreed to a two-year, entry-level deal with the Islanders on Tuesday) and Oliver Wahlstrom (11th overall pick in 2018 who agreed to a three-year, entry-level deal with New York on Wednesday) both signed with Bridgeport and could make their pro debuts this weekend. Carpenter, the son of two-time Stanley Cup champion Bobby Carpenter, had 19 points (10 goals, 9 assists) in 37 games as captain at Boston University this year, while Wahlstrom logged 19 points (8 goals, 11 assists) in 36 games during his freshman season at Boston College.
LEADING THE WAY
Chris Bourque recorded his ninth multi-point effort of the season last Sunday and improved his scoring total to a team-best 51 points in 2018-19. He also leads the Sound Tigers in assists (36), shots (156), power-play points (19), game-winning goals (5) and shootout goals (4). Bourque is attempting to lead his AHL club in scoring for the fourth time in the last five years and remains the AHL’s all-time active leading scorer (21st all-time) with 743 career points – one behind Fred Thurier (1937-52) for 20th place.
Steve Bernier is second in the AHL in shooting percentage (24.4%)… Otto Koivula is tied for fourth among AHL rookies with 18 goals and tied for seventh in scoring (43 points)… Sebastian Aho is tied for 10th among league defensemen with 40 points (7 goals, 33 assists)… Miami University (Ohio) product Grant Hutton signed a one-year, entry-level contract with the New York Islanders last Thursday and also agreed to terms on an ATO with the Sound Tigers... He made his pro debut on Wednesday.
NHL: New York Islanders (45-26-7) - Next: Tonight vs. Buffalo Sabres (7 p.m. ET)
ECHL: Worcester Railers (30-26-6-4) - Next: Tonight vs. Brampton Beast (7:05 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]