Sound Tigers Try To Clinch Playoff Spot TodayApr 1, 2019
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (40-21-6-3), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, can solidify their spot in the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs with a win this morning against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (33-26-7-3). The Sound Tigers will conclude their season-long, eight-game homestand today, as they skate in their third and final 10:30 a.m. start at Webster Bank Arena. It’s the annual “Cool Fun 102” school-day game, with thousands of local youth expected to attend.
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LAST TIME OUT
Bridgeport pocketed one point in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Hershey Bears on Sunday, completing its six-game season series with the Bears. Sebastian Aho scored his eighth goal of the season (and third on the power play) just 2:50 into the opening frame, while Chris Bourque collected his team-leading 37th assist and 52nd point on the play. Between the pipes, Christopher Gibson (19-11-5) made 25 saves in 65 minutes. The setback ended Bridgeport's streak of 12 straight wins on a Sunday afternoon, dating back to Nov. 4.
TIGERS VS. PENGUINS
Today's game features the seventh of eight meetings between the Sound Tigers and Penguins this season, and the final matchup at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport is 3-2-1-0 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton so far, including a 2-1 win in their last tilt on Feb. 2 in Pennsylvania. Ben Holmstrom had a game-high two points (two assists) that night, while Jeff Kubiak and Scott Eansor (GWG) each scored on Tristan Jarry. Ethan Prow had the Penguins only tally midway through the first period. Prow (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's leading scorer) paces all players in the season series with eight points (four goals, four assists) in six games.
VIEW FROM WILKES-BARRE
The fifth-place Penguins have won three of their last four games as they push towards a playoff berth with seven games left in the regular season. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton currently sits five points behind the fourth-place Providence Bruins for the Atlantic Division's final playoff spot. Last time out, Clark Donatelli's club suffered a 4-1 loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds at home on Saturday, despite Ryan Haggerty's 20th goal of the season (career high for the Stamford native). Between the pipes, Tristan Jarry made 26 saves but allowed four goals for the third time in his last six starts. Jarry is 16th among AHL goaltenders with a 2.60 goals-against-average in 44 appearances this season. Ethan Prow leads the Penguins with 46 points (17 goals, 29 assists), which is fourth among all league defensemen.
COULD TODAY BE THE DAY?
The Sound Tigers added two players to amateur tryout agreements (ATOs) late last week. Robert "Bobo" Carpenter (signed to a two-year, entry-level deal with the Islanders last Tuesday) and Oliver Wahlstrom (11th overall pick in 2018 who agreed to a three-year, entry-level deal with New York on Wednesday) both joined Bridgeport and could make their pro debuts today. Carpenter, the son of two-time Stanley Cup champion Bobby Carpenter, had 19 points (10 goals, 9 assists) in 27 games as captain at Boston University this year, while Wahlstrom logged 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 36 games during his freshman season at Boston College.
Chris Bourque has a team-best six points (one goal, five assists) in six games against the Penguins this season and after setting up Sebastian Aho's power-play goal on Sunday, the 14th-year pro now has a team-leading 52 points in 68 games. He also leads the Sound Tigers in assists (37), shots (157), power-play points (20) and shootout goals (4). Bourque is attempting to lead his AHL club in scoring for the fourth time in the last five years and remains the AHL’s all-time active leading scorer (tied for 20th all-time) with 744 career points – three behind Bronco Horvath's (1950-70) 747.
Steve Bernier leads all active AHL players in shooting percentage (24.5%)… Sebastian Aho is tied for ninth among league defensemen with 41 points (8g, 33a)… Bridgeport is 1-1-1-0 when the puck drops behind noon this season... Jeremy Smith has won seven of his last nine decisions and is 19th in the AHL with a 2.66 goals-against-average... Otto Koivula is tied for seventh among AHL rookies with 43 points (18g, 25a) and is tied for fourth among rookies in goals... Bridgeport's 53 points at home are tied for the league lead with Syracuse... The Sound Tigers could clinch a playoff berth today for the ninth time in franchise history and the first time since the 2015-16 season.
NHL: New York Islanders (46-27-7) - Next: Thursday at Florida Panthers (7 p.m.)
ECHL: Worcester Railers (30-28-6-4) - Next: Tomorrow vs. Manchester Monarchs (7:05 p.m.)
About the Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Founded in 2001, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Hockey Club is the top minor league affiliate of the New York Islanders. Don't miss your chance to take part in the family fun entertainment happening every home game at Webster Bank Arena. For further information on ticket or sponsorship opportunities, call our office at (203) 345-2300 or e-mail [email protected]