Sound Tigers Host Phantoms in Two This WeekendNov 2, 2019
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (1-6-2-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, open a five-game homestand this weekend (tied for the longest this season) with a 7 p.m. matchup against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (3-1-1-3) tonight at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport is looking to snap a seven-game winless streak (0-5-1-1), extended by a 5-1 loss to the Syracuse Crunch last night in Upstate New York. Travis St. Denis had the Sound Tigers' lone tally early in the second frame, but the Crunch netted four unanswered goals including three in the third period. Tonight's game also continues a three-in-three weekend series, which ends with a rematch tomorrow evening at 5 p.m.
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*Broadcast begins at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday and 4:45 p.m. on Sunday
TIGERS VS. PHANTOMS
Saturday's contest is the first of six meetings between the Sound Tigers and Phantoms this season, and the first of three matchups in Connecticut. Bridgeport went 3-2-1-0 against Lehigh Valley in 2018-19, including a 2-1-0-0 record in those games at home.
VIEW FROM ALLENTOWN
The Phantoms are currently riding a seven-game unbeaten in regulation streak (3-0-1-3), dating all the way back to their second contest of the season. Last night, Lehigh Valley suffered a 4-3 shootout loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at home, in which leading scorer Morgan Frost had the only goal in a three-round shootout. David Kase, Andy Andreoff and Greg Carey had the tallies in regulation. Between the pipes, Alex Lyon had 20 saves on 23 shots after entering the weekend second in the AHL in GAA (1.30) and tied for third in save percentage (.951).
FACING A FAMILIAR FOE
Colin McDonald is facing his former team tonight for the first time since serving as Lehigh Valley's captain each of the last four years. McDonald had 129 points (60g, 69a) in 248 games with the Phantoms including 28 points (13g, 15a) in 69 games a year ago. The 35-year-old signed a one-year, AHL deal with the Sound Tigers in August.
Bridgeport is determined to climb the ladder in several offensive categories this weekend. The Sound Tigers are last in the AHL in shots per game (24.90) and 29th on the power play (3-for-40), which is a big reason why the team is 30th in goals scored per game (1.80). The Sound Tigers have been outscored 40-18 in their first 10 games of the season (14-4 in second periods).
Second-year forward Otto Koivula earned his first career NHL recall on Wednesday when he was promoted by the New York Islanders, a corresponding move to Matt Martin and Tom Kuhnhackl being placed on IR. Koivula had two assists in six games with the Sound Tigers this season after putting up 21 goals with the club in 2018-19, which was fourth-most among all AHL rookies. He was also tied for seventh among rookie scorers (46 points) and co-led Bridgeport with a plus-14 rating. Koivula could make his NHL debut tonight against the Buffalo Sabres.
PIEROG PULLED UP
Forward Nic Pierog was recalled from the Worcester Railers (ECHL) on Wednesday and made his Sound Tigers debut in last night's setback, collecting his first AHL point (assist) in just his third game. He had four points (2g, 2a) in six games with the Railers earlier this season.
The Sound Tigers have scored first in four of their 10 games this season, but have yet to win when doing so... Bridgeport has not outshot an opponent this season... The Sound Tigers have allowed 4+ goals on seven occasions (0-6-1-0)... If Parker (Bridgeport) and Tyler (Lehigh Valley) Wotherspoon are both in the lineup tonight, it will be the first time the brothers have ever faced each other in the same game... Steve Bernier has 63 goals in his Sound Tigers career, placing him fifth on the team's all-time list... He is eight away from Jeff Tambellini (2005-09) and currently four points shy of 400 in his pro career... Andrew Ladd was placed on long-term IR by the New York Islanders today and sent to Bridgeport for conditioning... He had five points (1g, 4a) in two games with the Sound Tigers on a conditioning loan last season.
NHL: New York Islanders (9-3-0) - Next: Saturday at Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m. ET
ECHL: Worcester Railers (3-4-0-0) - Next: Saturday vs. Adirondack Thunder, 7:05 p.m. ET