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THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (7-11-3-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, face the Springfield Thunderbirds (12-10-0-0) for the third straight game tonight, dropping the puck at 7 p.m. inside Webster Bank Arena. The Sound Tigers will look for their fourth straight win both overall, and against Springfield, following a 3-2 victory against the T-Birds in Massachusetts on Wednesday. Kieffer Bellows scored once and added an assist (his first points since Oct. 19), while Arnaud Durandeau and Mason Jobst also found the back of the net. It was Jobst's second goal in the last three games and Durandeau's fourth in his last six (and second in a row). Between the pipes, Christopher Gibson made 37 saves to record his fifth victory of the season. Gibson is now 10th in the AHL with a 2.40 goals-against-average.
HOCKEY & HOPS TONIGHT!
Due to its overwhelming popularity the past three seasons, the Sound Tigers are once again hosting “Hockey and Hops,” featuring a pre-game craft beer tasting party with local breweries tonight! A $30 ticket package is available that includes access to the pre-game tasting event (4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.), a ticket to the game, and a Sound Tigers tasting sampler glass and koozie. Click here to purchase or to see which breweries will be in attendance.
TIGERS VS. T-BIRDS
Tonight's tilt is the sixth of 12 meetings between the Sound Tigers and T-Birds this season, and the fourth of six at Webster Bank Arena. It's also the third of three straight matchups in a six-day span. Bridgeport has won each of the last three meetings, including Wednesday's 3-2 victory and a near shutout (3-1 win) last Sunday. Parker Wotherspoon leads all Sound Tigers in the season series with three points (all assists) in five games.
VIEW FROM SPRINGFIELD
The T-Birds have lost three of their last four games and dropped to fourth place in the Atlantic Division, still just three points out of the top spot. Henrik Borgstrom and Owen Tippett scored the goals for Springfield on Wednesday, the first coming shorthanded and the second on the power play. Between the pipes, Samuel Montembeault made 32 saves on 35 shots in his AHL season debut after he was loaned by the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. Montembeault went 3-2-1 with a 3.31 goals-against-average in Florida this season. On the offensive side, Tippett leads the Thunderbirds with nine goals and 16 points in 22 games. He's also tied for the league lead among rookies in goals and is third among rookies in points.
20-year-old rookie Arnaud Durandeau has burst onto the scene this season with five goals on 12 shots to begin his professional career. The Islanders prospect leads all AHL players in shooting percentage (41.7%) and has scored in four of his last six games. Durandeau collected his first pro goal in his debut on Oct. 11 at Charlotte, which also came on his first pro shot. He was selected in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL Draft and signed a three-year entry level deal with the Isles on May 31, 2019. He has six points (5g, 1a) in 11 games with Bridgeport.
LEADING THE WAY
Third-year defenseman Sebastian Aho has six points (6a) in his last eight games and now paces the Sound Tigers in scoring (2g, 10a) through 22 contests. The two-time All-Star is also tied for 12th among all AHL blueliners in points and is tied for seventh in assists.
Christopher Gibson won his 70th career game with Bridgeport on Saturday, passing Kevin Poulin (2010-15) for second place on the team’s all-time list. Gibson is 5-3-3 this season and 10th among all AHL netminders with a 2.40 goals-against-average. He sits 10 victories behind Wade Dubielewicz (81 - 2003-08), who is currently the Sound Tigers’ all-time winningest goalie.
The Sound Tigers are 6-2-0-0 in their last eight games against Atlantic Division opponents… Bridgeport is 5-0-0-0 when leading after two periods this year… Andrew Ladd has points in three straight at home (3g, 1a), the longest streak for the team this season... Bridgeport leads all teams in the AHL with 18 major penalties, while Springfield is second with 16... The Sound Tigers are 1-for-19 on the power play over the last five games... Bridgeport has won eight of its last nine games against Springfield at Webster Bank Arena, dating back to March 11, 2018... The Sound Tigers have scored three goals in each of their last three games (and four of their last six).
NHL: New York Islanders (16-5-2) - Next: Tonight vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET
ECHL: Worcester Railers (4-11-1-0) - Next: Tonight vs. Newfoundland Growlers, 7:05 p.m. ET