The Bridgeport Report: Week 1Oct 8, 2019
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (0-1-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, made short trips to both Hartford and Springfield to open their 2019-20 season last weekend, but collected just one of a possible four points against their Atlantic Division rivals.
Bridgeport carried a first-period lead in both games but couldn’t hold onto them. The Springfield Thunderbirds (1-1-0-0) took the win on Saturday, 5-1, despite an early power-play goal from Matt Lorito – the Sound Tigers’ first tally of the new season. Owen Tippet and Johnathan Ang each had a multi-point game for Springfield.
The offense started to come alive more in the second game of the weekend against Hartford on Sunday, with Lorito scoring in his second consecutive game (on a penalty shot) and Ryan Bourque tying the contest with just 3:08 left in regulation. Oliver Wahlstrom also pocketed his first goal of the season, but Hartford (2-0-0-0) prevailed in overtime, 4-3, courtesy of Sean Day’s heroics at the 1:28 mark.
The Sound Tigers continue a four-game road trip to kick off the season with a visit down south to face the defending Calder Cup champion Charlotte Checkers (1-1-0-0). The two teams will meet Friday and Saturday at Bojangles’ Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C. Fans can follow the action all season long via the Sound Tigers Radio Network or AHLTV.
The week ahead:
Friday, Oct. 11 at Charlotte (7 p.m.): The Sound Tigers make their way to the Queen City for the first of four contests against the Charlotte Checkers. Like Bridgeport, the Checkers opened their season with road matchups against the Wolf Pack (5-3 loss) and Thunderbirds (4-2 win) last weekend. The Sound Tigers went an even 4-4-0-0 against Charlotte in 2018-19.
Saturday, Oct. 12 at Charlotte (6 p.m.): The Sound Tigers wrap up their two-game season series in North Carolina with the second game in as many days against the Checkers. Puck drop is scheduled for one hour earlier at 6 p.m.
News and Notes:
Holmstrom Makes Debut: Swedish forward Simon Holmstrom made his North American debut with the Sound Tigers on Saturday and showed immense promise and potential on the left wing. The Islanders 23rd overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft did not register a point, but had four shots-on-goal and played solid minutes on a line with Tanner Fritz and rookie Mason Jobst. In addition, Holmstrom became the youngest Sound Tigers player ever by making his debut at 18 years, four months and 10 days old (three months and one day younger than Parker Wotherspoon in 2016). Prior to coming to North America, Holmstrom won a gold medal for Sweden at the 2019 Under-18 World Junior Championships.
200 and Counting: Fourth-year forward Travis St. Denis played his 200th professional game on Sunday, all of them in the AHL with the Sound Tigers. He became the 17th player in team history to reach that mark. He also reached an early milestone last season, scoring his 50th goal with the franchise.
Feels Like the First Time: Ohio State University product Mason Jobst is the latest player to make his professional debut with the Sound Tigers. He joined the club late last season on an amateur tryout contact (ATO), but didn’t make an appearance until Saturday’s season opener in Springfield, where he recorded two shots. The Speedway, Ind. native spent each of the last four seasons at Ohio State, serving as team captain the last two. He was selected as a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award (top NCAA player) last Spring.
Quick Hits: Matt Lorito scored the first two goals of the season for the Sound Tigers, including one on a penalty shot…It was the first penalty-shot goal for the team since March 4, 2016 (Bracken Kearns)… Five players made their Sound Tigers debut on Saturday, the most since the 2014-15 season….This is the first time in more than a decade the Sound Tigers have dropped their first two games of the regular season… Kyle Burroughs was named team captain last Friday.
Goals: Matt Lorito (2)
Assists: Five players tied (1)
Points: Matt Lorito, Oliver Wahlstrom (2)
Plus/Minus: Ryan Bourque, Cole Bardreau (+1)
Penalty Minutes: Nick Schilkey (19)
Power-Play Goals: Matt Lorito (1)
Shots: Oliver Wahlstrom, Sebastian Aho (6)
The New York Islanders (1-1-0) began their season with a tight 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals last Friday, but bounced back Sunday night to take down the Winnipeg Jets 4-1. Former Sound Tiger Anthony Beauvillier was awarded the game’s first star after scoring a goal and adding an assist. Former Bridgeport players Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, Josh Bailey and Devon Toews also registered goals in the team’s opening two games, including Toews’ tally in the season opener at NYCB Live on Friday. The Isles host the Edmonton Oilers tonight in third game of the season - a 7 p.m. matchup at the Coliseum – before hitting the road on Friday to face the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C.
The Worcester Railers begin their third season in the ECHL this weekend at home, facing the Adirondack Thunder at 7:05 p.m. In their lone contest of the preseason, the Railers picked up a 4-1 win against the Maine Mariners last weekend. Worcester is led by forwards Ryan Hitchcock, Nic Pierog, Tanner Pond, J.D. Dudek, defenseman Justin Murray, and goaltender Evan Buitenhuis – all on AHL contracts with the Sound Tigers.