Sound Tigers Host Hartford For Teddy Bear TossDec 27, 2019
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (12-16-3-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, return from their holiday break this weekend with two divisional matchups inside Webster Bank Arena. The Sound Tigers will face the first-place Hartford Wolf Pack (17-7-2-5) at 7 p.m. Friday before hosting the Springfield Thunderbirds (16-15-0-2) at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
LISTEN LIVE: www.bit.ly/BSTRadio
WATCH AHLTV: www.theahl.com/AHLTV
WEBSTER IS WHERE IT’S AT
The Sound Tigers are letting the fur fly this weekend as part of a stacked promotional lineup at Webster Bank Arena. Friday is Teddy Bear Toss presented by Yale New Haven Health and First Responder’s Night. Bring a stuffed animal (or several) and toss it onto the ice when the Sound Tigers score their first goal. The first 1,000 fans 17 and younger will also receive a free teddy bear at the door and anyone who brings a stuffed animal to the Webster Bank Arena Click It or Ticket Box Office will get $5 off their ticket. In addition, the first 1,000 fans 18 and older will receive a Sound Tigers First Responders t-shirt courtesy of community partners. Click here for tickets and more information!
LAST TIME OUT
The Sound Tigers will try for their second straight victory following a 3-0 win against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last Saturday at home. Twenty-year-old Jakub Skarek earned his first North American shutout with 30 saves, while Travis St. Denis scored twice and Kieffer Bellows collected his eighth goal in the last 11 games. It was also Bellow's second game-winner in his last five games, helping push the Sound Tigers above .500 at home for the first time this season (7-6-1-1).
TIGERS VS. WOLF PACK
Friday's matchup is the fourth of 12 meetings between the Sound Tigers and Wolf Pack this season, and the second of six inside Webster Bank Arena. Hartford has taken each of the first three contests, including two overtime wins on Oct. 6 and Oct. 27. The two rivals haven't seen each other since Hartford recorded a 2-1 overtime victory in Bridgeport on Oct. 27, in which Darren Raddysh scored his first goal of the season at 2:25 of the extra session.
VIEW FROM HARTFORD
The Wolf Pack have been strong since the beginning the season and are currently tied for first place in the Atlantic Division with the Providence Bruins (41 points). However, Hartford's win percentage is best in the division (.661) following the holiday break. In their last outing on Saturday, the Wolf Pack earned a 3-0 win against the Providence Bruins at XL Center, thanks to a 31-save shutout from rookie goalie Igor Shesterkin. A fourth-round pick of the New York Rangers in 2014, Shesterkin is ranks third in the AHL in GAA (2.03), third in shutouts (three), fifth in save percentage (.930) and tied for third in wins (12). Offensively, Vinni Lettieri leads the club with 23 points (11g, 12a) and is fourth in the AHL in power-play goals (seven).
TIGERS VS. T-BIRDS
Saturday’s game is the eighth of 12 meetings between the Sound Tigers and Thunderbirds this season, and the fifth of six inside Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport leads the series 4-3-0-0 and has won four of the last five matchups after Springfield took the first two. They last met on Dec. 20 in Springfield, where Nick Schilkey scored Bridgeport’s only goal in a 3-1 setback. The Thunderbirds are fifth in the Atlantic Division, led by rookie forward Owen Tippett with 23 points (11g, 12a) in 33 games. Tippett is also fifth among all AHL rookies in points and first in shots (84).
MAN ON A MISSION
Kieffer Bellows has scored in four straight home games (the longest active streak in the AHL) and has eight goals in his last 11 games overall. He also has five goals in his last six contests and had a four-game goal-scoring streak come to an end last Friday in Springfield. It was the second time in Bellows' young career he had scored in four straight games overall. The 21-year-old leads the team with nine goals this season and continues to pace the club in shots (81). The Islanders' 19th overall pick in 2016 played his 100th pro game on Dec. 14 in Hershey.
Former Boston University captain Bobo Carpenter made his season debut on Dec. 18 after missing the first 29 games due to an off-season injury. The 23-year-old recorded one shot and a plus-one rating against the Crunch. Carpenter scored a goal in his professional debut with the Sound Tigers last April and played two games total at the end of last season. He agreed to a two-year, entry-level deal with the Islanders on Mar. 26 following a four-year career at Boston University.
MADE IN AMERICA
Quincy, Massachusetts native Oliver Wahlstrom was reassigned to USA Hockey by the New York Islanders on Dec. 17 in advance of the 2020 World Junior Championships. Wahlstrom, 19, recorded nine points (3g, 6a) in 20 games with the Sound Tigers this season and also played nine games with the Islanders, including his NHL debut on Oct. 14 against St. Louis. He had one assist and five shots-on-goal in USA’s 6-4 loss to Canada in the WJC on Thursday.
Arnaud Durandeau is second among AHL rookies in shooting percentage (31.3%, 5-for-16)... Christopher Gibson is 11th in the AHL with a 2.40 goals-against-average, but hasn’t played since Nov. 27 due to injury… The Sound Tigers are 9-11-2-1 against Atlantic Division teams... Josh Ho-Sang reported to the Sound Tigers on Dec. 17 and made his season debut last Saturday, recording one assist and a plus-one rating... Sebastian Aho leads the Sound Tigers and is 18th among AHL defensemen with 17 points (2g, 15a) in 30 appearances... He missed his first game of the year last Saturday with a lower-body injury.
NHL: New York Islanders (23-9-3) - Next: Friday at Chicago Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. ET
ECHL: Worcester Railers (9-17-1-0) - Next: Friday at Adirondack Thunder, 7 p.m. ET