The Bridgeport Sound Tigers host the Providence Bruins at 1 p.m. this afternoon in their 2020-21 home opener at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport is still in search of its first win this season after coming up short in both games on the road last weekend. Bobo Carpenter scored the team's first goal of the season last Friday in a 4-1 loss at Providence, two days before the Sound Tigers suffered a 5-2 setback against the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center. Today's game marks the second of 12 matchups between the Sound Tigers and Bruins this season, and the first of six in Bridgeport.
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LAST TIME OUT
Rookies Samuel Bolduc and Cole Coskey (in his pro debut) each scored their first professional goal to help the Sound Tigers build a 2-0 lead in the second period, but Hartford stormed back with five unanswered tallies to win in its season debut. Felix Bibeau and Erik Brown also collected their first pro points with assists on Bolduc's goal. Between the pipes, Jakub Skarek stopped 21 of 26 shots in his second straight appearance.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Sound Tigers return to the familiar confines of Webster Bank Arena this afternoon for their first home game since Mar. 11, 2020. It’s the first of 12 home games this season and the first of three in a row – their longest homestand all year. The Sound Tigers went 12-14-2-2 at home last season and earned one point in their 2019-20 home opener – a 3-2 shootout loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
VIEW FROM PROVIDENCE
Led by head coach Jay Leach, the Bruins had more points than anyone in the Eastern Conference (82) when the 2019-20 season came to a halt. In fact, Providence was on a 12-game winning streak and a 13-game point streak, and finished the season at 38-18-3-3. They hadn't lost in regulation since Feb. 8, 2020 (to Bridgeport) until the Bruins suffered a 4-0 setback to Hartford on Thursday. Providence couldn't beat goalie Keith Kinkaid despite 25 shots on net, while Dan Vladar made 20 saves on 22 shots in his season debut. Providence will play 26 games this season, facing Utica twice aside from the Sound Tigers (12 games) and Hartford Wolf Pack (12 games).
BOLDUC BRINGS THE HEAT
Rookie defenseman Samuel Bolduc has grabbed the attention of Islanders fans ever since he was selected 57th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, but after he debuted with the Sound Tigers last weekend, he’s gotten even more people talking. The 6’4, 212-pound blue-liner made his professional debut on Friday and then scored his first pro goal on Sunday with long slapshot from the point, reminiscent of a Ryan Pulock blast. Bolduc played each of the last three-plus years in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), recording 94 points (22 goals, 72 assists) in 189 games with Blainville-Boisbriand and Sherbrooke.
ISLES RE-ASSIGN KOIVULA AND TIMASHOV
The New York Islanders announced Wednesday that forwards Otto Koivula and Dmytro Timashov have been reassigned from the taxi squad to the Sound Tigers. Koivula has not played a game in the NHL this season after making 12 appearances with the Islanders in 2019-20, while Timashov played one game, his Islanders debut, on Jan. 31st at Philadelphia. Timashov was acquired in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 11, 2020 for future considerations and is expected to make his Sound Tigers debut today.
BOBO GETS BRIDGEPORT'S FIRST
Bobo Carpenter picked up right where he left off last March and scored the Sound Tigers’ first goal of the season on Friday with a redirection on a shot from Mitch Vande Sompel. Carpenter had two goals in his last three games of the 2019-20 campaign and now has three goals in his last five. He had just four goals in 28 games last season following an injury that kept him out until December, but he’s off to a great start in 2020-21 wearing #14 on his sweater - the same jersey number he wore for four years at Boston University.
THE NEXT WAVE
Six players made their professional debuts last weekend including forwards Felix Bibeau, Cole Coskey, Blade Jenkins, Kyle MacLean and Brett Neumann, who each turned pro out of major junior hockey. Along with Samuel Bolduc, Coskey also scored his first pro goal in Sunday’s loss at Hartford, while Bibeau and rookie Erik Brown each earned their first pro point with an assist on Bolduc’s goal. The Sound Tigers’ season-opening roster included 15 AHL rookies and an average age of 25.4-years-old.