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THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (19-30-5-2), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, face a three-in-three series this weekend with matchups against the Springfield Thunderbirds, Hartford Wolf Pack and Binghamton Devils, hoping to snap a four-game slide (0-3-0-1) dating back to Feb. 17. It’s the Sound Tigers’ seventh of nine total three-in-threes this season.
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LAST TIME OUT
The Sound Tigers suffered a 4-1 loss to Hartford in their last outing on Sunday, in which Josh Ho-Sang scored a power-play goal at 13:10 of the first period to give Bridgeport an early lead. Hartford responded with four in a row to spoil the party and knocked the Sound Tigers one game below .500 at Webster Bank Arena. Nick Schilkey and Sebastian Aho each had an assist for Bridgeport. Aho leads the Sound Tigers in points (25) and assists (23) and now has at least one helper in seven straight home games - the second-longest streak in the AHL this season.
MARVEL SUPER HERO NIGHT
Saturday’s home game features Marvel Super Hero Night and Scout Night at Webster Bank Arena. Meet Spider-Man, Hulk, Black Widow and Thor throughout the game, and all scout groups are invited to spend the night following the 7 p.m. contest. Please contact John Reis at 203-345-4848 for more information on Scout Night. Click here to purchase a $25 package for Marvel Super Hero Night! Each package includes a ticket to the game, and a food voucher valid for one (1) hot dog or slice of pizza, plus one (1) bag of chips and one (1) soft drink. This package is not available at the box office.
TIGERS VS. T-BIRDS
The Sound Tigers travel to MassMutual Center on Friday for the final time this season. Bridgeport is 4-5-1-0 in 10 outings against the Florida Panthers’ affiliate, but Springfield has won four straight meetings dating back to Dec. 20. Geordie Kinnear's club has won four of its last five games and continues to sit right in the thick of the Atlantic Division's playoff race. Like Bridgeport, the Thunderbirds have been off since Sunday when they defeated the Syracuse Crunch in overtime, 3-2, thanks to Brady Keeper's sixth goal of the season at 2:17 of OT. Springfield’s dynamic was completely changed during the NHL’s trade deadline on Monday, adding forward Eetu Luostarinen and defensemen Emil Djuse and Chase Priskie. The Florida Panthers traded Carolina for Luostarinen and Priskie (along with Erik Haul and Lucas Wallmark) for Vincent Trocheck, while acquiring Djuse from Dallas for a 2020 sixth-round pick.
TIGERS VS. WOLF PACK
Five of the Sound Tigers’ final 20 games this season will take place against their in-state rival. Saturday’s contest is the eighth of 12 meetings between the two clubs, and the fourth of six at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport is 1-4-2-0 against Hartford this season and 1-1-1-0 in those games at home. The Wolf Pack currently rank second in the Atlantic Division standings, three points behind Hershey Bears and just one point ahead of the third-place Providence Bruins. Hartford is led in scoring by forward Vinni Lettieri’s 43 points (24 goals, 19 assists), which is tied for 16th in the AHL. Lettieri is also tied for third in the AHL in game-winning goals (six) and ranks fifth in shots (164). Between the pipes, former Sound Tiger Jean-Francois Berube, who was traded by Philadelphia to the New York Rangers organization on Feb. 19, ranks 11th in the AHL with a 2.52 goals-against average.
TIGERS VS. DEVILS
Bridgeport hosts New Jersey’s affiliate on Sunday (5 p.m.) for the only time this season, which is also their first matchup since the Devils earned a 3-1 win in Binghamton, N.Y. on Jan. 3. Colin McDonald scored the Sound Tigers’ lone goal that night. Binghamton is seventh in a tightly-contested North Division, but just three points outside of a playoff spot entering the weekend. The club suffered a 6-3 loss to the Charlotte Checkers in its last outing on Saturday, but had won five straight prior to the setback. Former Checker Janne Kuokkanen was acquired by New Jersey at the NHL trade deadline (with Frederick Claesson and a conditional fourth round pick in 2020 for Sami Vatanen) and ranks first on the Devils in scoring with 42 points (12 goals, 30 assists) in 52 games played.
The New York Islanders acquired defenseman Jordan Schmaltz from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday in exchange for Matt Lorito as the NHL trade deadline passed at 3 p.m. ET. Schmaltz, a fifth-year pro, had 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in 37 games with the Toronto Marlies this season and has 106 points (17 goals, 89 assists) in 217 career AHL games spanning five seasons with Toronto, San Antonio and Chicago. He is expected to make his Bridgeport debut this weekend.
HO-SANG REASSIGNED TO SAN ANTONIO
The New York Islanders have reassigned Josh Ho-Sang to the San Antonio Rampage for the remainder of the season - AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues. Ho-Sang had 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 16 games with the Sound Tigers this season and has 120 points (29 goals, 91 assists) in 172 career AHL games – all with Bridgeport. He’s also posted 24 points (seven goals, 17 assists) in 53 NHL games with the Islanders. The Rampage are sixth in the AHL’s Central Division standings, but just one point outside of a playoff spot.
BELLOWS BACK WITH BRIDGEPORT
Kieffer Bellows returns to the Sound Tigers' lineup on Friday for his first AHL game since Feb. 1 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He was recalled by the Islanders for the first time in his career on Feb. 3 and made his NHL debut the next day against the Dallas Stars, recording one assist. Bellows was the talk of the town on Feb. 6 when he scored twice in just his second NHL game in a 5-3 win against the Los Angeles Kings. He ended his first stint with the Islanders with three points (two goals, one assist) in eight games.
Grant Hutton has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last eight games… Sound Tigers leading goal scorer, Kieffer Bellows, was returned on loan by the Islanders on Monday, while Andrew Ladd was recalled by New York… Ladd will remain with the Islanders for the rest of the season… Oliver Wahlstrom is third among AHL rookies in shootout percentage (2-for-3, 66.7%).
NHL: New York Islanders (35-20-8) - Next: Saturday vs. Boston Bruins, 1 p.m. ET
ECHL: Worcester Railers (18-33-4-0) - Next: Friday vs. Brampton Beast, 7:05 p.m. ET