The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (3-8-0-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, open a two-game homestand this afternoon with a 1 p.m. matchup against the Providence Bruins (11-3-1-0) at Webster Bank Arena. Today's game marks the eighth of 12 meetings between the Sound Tigers and Bruins this season and the fourth of six duels in Bridgeport. Providence leads the series 6-1-0-0 and has won three in a row against the Sound Tigers dating back to Mar. 4th.
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LAST TIME OUT
Cole Bardreau scored twice to keep things close midway through the third period in Hartford on Saturday, but the Sound Tigers suffered a 5-2 loss to the Wolf Pack. Jeff Kubiak and Tom Kuhnhackl each added an assist and Jakub Skarek (1-6-0) made 32 saves on 37 shots, which tied his AHL career high in shots faced. The setback pushed Bridgeport's winless-in-regulation streak to a season-high five games (1-4-0-0).
SCHNEIDER ASSIGNED ON CONDITIONING
The New York Islanders announced this morning that goaltender Cory Schneider has been assigned to Bridgeport on conditioning and he will likely play in today’s game. A veteran of 409 NHL games, Schneider joined the Islanders on a one-year deal during the offseason following seven years in the New Jersey Devils organization. He is a former NHL All-Star (2016) and AHL All-Star (2009), as well as the AHL’s Baz Bastien Memorial Award winner (Most Outstanding Goaltender) in 2009 while playing with the Manitoba Moose. Today could be his first AHL appearance since Feb. 17, 2020 with the Binghamton Devils.
SCHEDULE PICKS UP
The Sound Tigers have averaged just one game every 4.6 days so far (since the regular season began on Feb. 5th), but things will begin to heat up starting this week as the club will play 11 games over the next month. Seven of the next 10 games will be against the New York Rangers' affiliate (Hartford), including four in a row from Apr. 7th - Apr. 17th.
VIEW FROM PROVIDENCE
The Bruins saw their four-game winning streak and eight-game unbeaten in regulation streak come to an end last Thursday in a 4-2 loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack. Robert Lantosi scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season and Anton Blidh added his third, but the Wolf Pack prevailed and handed goalie Jeremy Swayman (7-1-0) his first professional loss (27 saves). Despite allowing four goals, Swayman ranks second among all AHL netminders with a 1.88 goals-against-average in eight starts and is fourth in wins (seven) and save percentage (.932). Head coach Jay Leach's team remains first in the Atlantic Division and has won eight of its last nine games. Cameron Hughes leads Providence in scoring with 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in 15 games, while the Bruins' defense allows the fewest goals per game on average (2.00).
Cole Bardreau became the first Sound Tigers player to score multiple goals in the same game this season when he lit the lamp twice on Saturday in Hartford. It was his fifth career two-goal performance in the AHL and his first since Apr. 6, 2019 while playing with Lehigh Valley. Bardreau now leads the Sound Tigers in goals (five), shooting percentage (27.8%, minimum 10 shots) and co-leads the team in points (seven). He also leads Bridgeport with three multi-point games.
KUHNHACKL'S POINT STREAK
Tom Kuhnhackl assisted on Bridgeport’s opening goal last weekend and extended his point streak to three games (one goal, two assists), matching the longest streak for the team this season. Samuel Bolduc also had points in three straight games from Feb. 7th - Feb. 17th. Kuhnhackl has four points (one goal, three assists) in his last six games and is one of seven players to appear in every game for Bridgeport this year.
Today is Felix Bibeau's 22nd birthday... Friday’s game will be the first of 10 contests in April - Bridgeport’s busiest month all season… Parker Wotherspoon is expected to play his 200th pro game next Monday, Apr. 5th against Providence… Tanner Fritz is tied for fourth place on the team’s all-time assists list (89) with Steven Regier (2004-08)… Fritz is 11 assists behind Aaron Ness (2010-15) for third place and also three points behind Trent Hunter (2001-03) for eighth place on the team’s all-time scoring list… Francis Marotte was loaned to the Allen Americans (ECHL) on Friday and made 27 saves in a 5-2 win against Rapid City later that night.
ACROSS THE SOUND
The New York Islanders (22-10-4, T-2nd place) completed a four-game road trip with a 2-1 regulation loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night. Former Sound Tiger Matt Martin scored his sixth goal of the season in the setback. The Islanders also fell to Pittsburgh on Saturday, 6-3, despite Anthony Beauvillier’s fourth goal in as many games. Beauvillier also had a pair of overtime-winning goals last week. The Isles are two points behind the Washington Capitals for the top spot in the MassMutual East Division through 36 games. They’ll face Washington twice during their upcoming six-game homestand, which begins tomorrow.