Sound Tigers Wrap Pre-Holiday Slate This WeekendDec 20, 2019
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (11-15-3-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, battle two division rivals this weekend in their final two games before a brief holiday break. The Sound Tigers face the Springfield Thunderbirds (15-14-1-0) on the road Friday and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (14-11-3-1) at Webster Bank Arena on Saturday. Both games are slated to begin at 7 p.m. and Santa Claus will be at Saturday's home game!
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LAST TIME OUT
The Sound Tigers earned a come-from-behind, 3-2 victory against the Syracuse Crunch at Webster Bank Arena on Wednesday. Andrew Ladd scored twice and Kieffer Bellows extended his goal-scoring streak to four straight games, while Travis St. Denis and Arnaud Durandeau each had two assists. It was Ladd’s first two-goal game in the AHL since Nov. 18, 2005 and Durandeau’s first professional multi-point performance. The Sound Tigers trailed by a goal twice and it was the team’s first victory this season when down after the first period.
TIGERS VS. T-BIRDS
Friday's game is the seventh of 12 meetings between the Sound Tigers and Thunderbirds this season, and the third of six inside MassMutual Center. Bridgeport leads the series 4-2-0-0 and has won four straight matchups after Springfield took the first two. They last met on Nov. 29 in Bridgeport, where Travis St. Denis scored twice and goaltenders Jared Coreau and Jakub Skarek combined to post a 24-save win. The Thunderbirds are fifth in the Atlantic Division, led by rookie forward Owen Tippett with 23 points (11g, 12a) in 30 games. Tippett is also fourth among all AHL rookies in points and first in shots (79). Between the pipes, Chris Driedger leads the AHL in goals-against-average (2.09) and save percentage (.938), but is currently on call-up with the Florida Panthers.
TIGERS VS. PENGUINS
Saturday’s 7 p.m. matchup is the third of six meetings between the Sound Tigers and Penguins this season, and the second of three at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport is winless in two tries against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton so far (0-1-0-1), including a 5-2 setback in Pennsylvania on Nov. 30. Matt Lorito and Parker Wotherspoon had the goals for Bridgeport. The Penguins are fourth in the Atlantic Division, but have lost six of seven games since beating the Sound Tigers. Forward Andrew Agozzino leads the way offensively with 24 points (11g, 13a) in 28 games entering the weekend, while goaltender Casey DeSmith is third in the AHL in saves (541) and fourth in minutes played (1150:10).
Kieffer Bellows has seven goals in his last nine games, including tallies in four straight for the second time in his young career (Nov. 4, 2019 - Nov. 11, 2019). It's currently tied for the longest active streak in the AHL. The 21-year-old leads the team with eight goals this season and continues to pace the club in shots (76). His miraculous second-period goal last Friday in Utica stood as the game winner, giving Bellows his first professional game-winning goal in his 99th pro appearance. The Islanders' 19th overall pick in 2016 played his 100th pro last Saturday in Hershey.
Former Boston University captain Bobo Carpenter made his season debut on Wednesday after missing the first 29 games due to an off-season injury. The 23-year-old recorded one shot and a plus-one rating against the Crunch. Carpenter scored a goal in his professional debut with the Sound Tigers last April and played two games total at the end of last season. He agreed to a two-year, entry-level deal with the Islanders on Mar. 26 following a four-year career at Boston University.
FOR THE STARS AND STRIPES
Quincy, Massachusetts native Oliver Wahlstrom was reassigned to USA Hockey by the New York Islanders on Tuesday in preparation for the upcoming World Juniors Camp. Wahlstrom, 19, recorded nine points (3g, 6a) in 20 games with the Sound Tigers this season and also played nine games with the Islanders, including his NHL debut on Oct. 14 against St. Louis. His 57 shots were fourth-most on the Sound Tigers and tied for sixth among all AHL rookies.
Arnaud Durandeau is second among all AHL rookies in shooting percentage (31.3%, 5-for-16)... Christopher Gibson is 11th in the AHL with a 2.40 goals-against-average, but hasn’t played since Nov. 27 due to injury… The Sound Tigers are 8-10-2-1 against Atlantic Division teams... Josh Ho-Sang reported to the Sound Tigers on Tuesday.
NHL: New York Islanders (23-8-2) - Next: Saturday vs. Anaheim Ducks, 1 p.m. ET
ECHL: Worcester Railers (8-16-1-0) - Next: Friday at Brampton Beast, 7:15 p.m. ET