Sound Tigers Take On T-Birds This MorningNov 5, 2019
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (2-7-2-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, face the Springfield Thunderbirds (8-4-0-0) this morning in their first of three games prior to noon this season. Today's contest also continues a five-game homestand. On Sunday, the Sound Tigers snapped an eight-game winless streak with a come-from-behind, 4-3 win against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Webster Bank Arena. Otto Koivula scored twice and Simon Holmstrom collected a goal for the second straight game, while David Quenneville had his first AHL goal and multi-point game (1g, 1a). Between the pipes, 19-year-old Jakub Skarek earned his first AHL win in just his second start with 31 saves on 34 shots.
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TIGERS VS. T-BIRDS
Today's contest marks the third of 12 matchups between the Sound Tigers and Thunderbirds this season, and the second of six in Connecticut. Springfield has won each of the first two meetings (2-0-0-0), including a 7-4 win at Webster Bank Arena in the last tilt on Oct. 25. Owen Tippett scored twice and added an assist that night, and now has five points in two games against Bridgeport. Three of his team-leading six goals are against the Sound Tigers. Meanwhile, Steve Bernier had two goals that night for Bridgeport.
VIEW FROM SPRINGFIELD
The Thunderbirds have the longest current win streak in the AHL, defeating opponents in six straight games entering today's contest. That success has elevated Springfield into second place in the Atlantic Division based on win percentage (.667). Leading scorer Owen Tippett is a big reason why, currently riding a five-game point streak (5g, 3a) which has him second among all AHL rookies in scoring (11 points). Meanwhile, goaltender Chris Dridger is second in the AHL in saves (252), second in minutes played (480:27), fifth in save percentage (.940) and 10th in goals-against-average (2.00). Springfield beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a shootout on Saturday, 4-3, led by regulation goals from Tippett, Daniel Audette and defending Calder Cup champion Aleksi Saarela, who was traded to the Florida Panthers from the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 22.
Having just one assist in his first 10 games with the Sound Tigers, rookie forward Simon Holmstrom made his presence felt on the score sheet last weekend with his first and second AHL goals in back-to-back games. The Islanders first-round draft pick (23rd overall) in June is in his first season in North America after coming over from Sweden. He will look to score for the third consecutive game today.
RISE AND SHINE
The Sound Tigers will play three games prior to noon this season - all at Webster Bank Arena. Today's tilt is the annual Cool Fun 101 school-day affair, presented by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The club will also host Syracuse on Feb. 5 (10:30 a.m.) and Providence on Apr. 1 (10:30 a.m.). Bridgeport went 1-2-1-0 in four morning games last season and has dropped three straight entering today.
TIP OF THE CAP
Sound Tigers captain Kyle Burroughs is expected to play his 268th game with the team this morning, tying him with former captain Ben Holmstrom for fifth place on Bridgeport's all-time list. He has played all 267 of his AHL games with the Sound Tigers since being drafted by the Islanders in the seventh round (#196) of the 2013 NHL Draft. Aaron Ness will be the next one ahead of him with 280 career games played in a Sound Tigers jersey. Mark Wotton is the club's all-time leader with 368 career games played between 2006-11.
The Sound Tigers scored multiple power-play goals on Sunday for the first time this season, going 2-for-4 on the man advantage… Bridgeport allowed its first penalty-shot goal since April when Kyle Criscuolo scored on Christopher Gibson last Saturday… Sunday’s victory marked the first time this season the Sound Tigers have won when scoring first... Bridgeport has allowed 4+ goals on seven occasions (0-6-1-0)... Andrew Ladd is currently playing with the Sound Tigers on a conditioning loan from the Islanders... Seth Helgeson was recalled by the Islanders for the first time on Tuesday, along with Otto Koivula, but both were returned to the Sound Tigers last night.
NHL: New York Islanders (10-3-0) - Next: Tomorrow vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m. ET
ECHL: Worcester Railers (3-5-0-0) - Next: Friday at Adirondack Thunder, 6 p.m. ET