THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (16-27-4-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, face the Providence Bruins (26-17-2-3) in a home-and-home series this weekend beginning with a 7 p.m. matchup inside Webster Bank Arena on Saturday. Bridgeport is looking to get back on track after a 3-2 loss to the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday, the club’s third straight setback at home. Cole Bardreau and Josh Ho-Sang each scored to give the Sound Tigers a pair of one-goal leads, but the Crunch got two goals in the third period to win it. Christopher Gibson (5-6-3) made 33 saves on 36 shots in his 14th game of the season.
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CELEBRATING THE 90’S
Fans have spoken and for the first time ever, the Sound Tigers will host 90’s Night as a result of their inaugural Fans’ Choice promotion, presented by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The first 1,500 fans at Saturday's game will receive a Seinfeld-themed t-shirt and everyone is encouraged to wear vintage shirts and/or outfits. Click here for tickets and more details.
TIGERS VS. BRUINS
Saturday's game is the seventh of 12 meetings between the Sound Tigers and Bruins this season, and the fourth of six at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport is 2-4-0-0 in series and 0-3-0-0 in those games at home, including a 3-1 loss in their last tilt on Jan. 18. Mason Jobst’s first professional power-play goal was the Sound Tigers’ lone tally that night. Providence’s Alex Petrovic leads all players in the season series with five points (one goal, four assists) in four games.
VIEW FROM PROVIDENCE
Despite 12 games in the AHL on Friday, both Bridgeport and Providence had the night off and enter the weekend refreshed for the rivalry. In fact, the third-place Bruins have been off since Feb. 1 when they defeated Syracuse on the road, 6-2. Rookie forward and 2020 AHL All-Star Jack Studnicka had a career-high four points (two goals, two assists) and Oskar Steen also recorded a career-best three points (one goal, two assists). Studnicka now leads Providence with 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists) in 46 games and is tied with Paul Carey for the team lead in goals. Studnicka also paces the entire AHL in shorthanded goals (five) and points (eight).
Kieffer Bellows was recalled by the New York Islanders on Monday and made his NHL debut on Tuesday in a 4-3 overtime win against Dallas, recording one assist. The 19th overall pick (2016) followed that up with two goals in just his second game in a 5-3 win against Los Angeles on Thursday. Bellows had been on a tear in the AHL this season, scoring 15 goals in his last 26 games and leading the team in goals (16) and points (24). 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.
HO-SANG MAKING IT HAPPEN
Josh Ho-Sang scored once and added an assist on Wednesday for his first multi-point game of the season. He has goals in back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 16, 2019 - Feb. 17, 2019 and now boasts six points (two goals, four assists) in eight contests this year. Ho-Sang has 116 points (28 goals, 88 assists) in 164 career AHL games and 24 points (seven goals, 17 assists) in 53 NHL outings with the Islanders. He has only scored in three straight games once in his pro career (Feb. 17, 2017 – Feb. 19, 2017).
Cole Bardreau opened the scoring with his second goal in four games on Wednesday afternoon against Syracuse. Both goals either tied the game or gave Bridgeport a lead. Bardreau didn’t have a point through his first 23 appearances with the Sound Tigers, but is starting to heat up in his first season with Bridgeport. He made his NHL debut with the New York Islanders on Oct. 19 at Columbus and scored his first NHL goal on a penalty shot Nov. 5 against Ottawa.
Kieffer Bellows became the 17th player in Islanders history to record at least one point in each of his first two regular-season games - a feat last achieved by Anders Lee... With Bellows and Sebastian Aho both up with New York, Matt Lorito is the Sound Tigers' active leading scorer with 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 44 games... Bridgeport has scored two goals or less in regulation in seven straight games.
NHL: New York Islanders (31-15-6) - Next: Saturday at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m. ET
ECHL: Worcester Railers (17-29-2-0) - Next: Saturday vs. Atlanta, 7:05 p.m. ET