The Bridgeport Report: Week 7Nov 20, 2019
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (4-10-3-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, ventured north of the border for the first time this season, but collected just one point in a pair of games in Canada. Both Christopher Gibson and Jared Coreau had strong showings between the pipes, raising eyebrows despite the tough outcomes.
Oliver Wahlstrom, Arnaud Durandeau and Andrew Ladd each found the back of the net in Saturday’s game in Belleville, Ontario, but the team came up just short in a 4-3 overtime loss. Two of Bridgeport’s goals came on the power play, including Ladd’s third-period blast just hours after he cleared waivers, while Rudolf Balcers scored late in the third and again in overtime in push Belleville to the win. Gibson made 31 saves in the setback.
Less than 24 hours later in Laval, Quebec, the Sound Tigers engaged in a hard-fought goaltending duel, but once again came out on the losing end. Coreau stopped 29 of 30 shots, while Laval’s rookie Cayden Primeau did one better by recording his first professional shutout in a 3-0 final. The Rocket didn’t score until 13 minutes into the third period and the other two tallies were empty-net tallies.
The Sound Tigers have one more difficult test on the road this Friday, facing the Providence Bruins in Rhode Island to cap a four-game trip, before returning to Webster Bank Arena on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s 7 p.m. contest marks the first matchup this season against the Hershey Bears (8-6-2-2), while the Sound Tigers conclude another three-in-three on Sunday afternoon against the Springfield Thunderbirds (11-7-0-0) at 3 p.m. Follow all of the live action via the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHLTV.
The week ahead:
Friday, Nov. 22 at Providence (7:05 p.m.): The Sound Tigers face the Providence Bruins for the fourth time this season, and the second time at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Bridgeport is 1-2-0-0 against the P-Bruins following a 2-0 victory in their last meeting on Nov. 11, in which Simon Holmstrom and Arnaud Durandeau each scored. Christopher Gibson earned a 32-save shutout between the pipes for his second blank sheet of the year. Meanwhile, Providence will be looking to improve upon its 2-4-0-1 record at home.
Saturday, Nov. 23 vs. Hershey (7 p.m.): Saturday marks the first of six matchups between the Sound Tigers and Bears this season, and the first meeting since the opening round of the 2019 Calder Cup playoffs. Bridgeport went 3-2-0-1 against the Bears during the regular season last year, who are now led by former Islander and NHL veteran Matt Moulson. Tickets are on sale now!
Sunday, Nov. 24 vs. Springfield (3 p.m.): The Sound Tigers end the weekend on Sunday with the first of three consecutive matchups against Florida’s affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds. Bridgeport is 1-2-0-0 against the T-Birds this season, but earned a 1-0 win in their last battle on Nov. 6. Christopher Gibson made 21 saves for the shutout and Nic Pierog scored his first AHL goal that day. Sunday’s game also features the return of Sunday 4-Packs!
News and Notes:
Rising Rookies: A pair of first-round draft picks and Sound Tigers rookies and recorded their first multi-point efforts of the season in Friday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Belleville. Simon Holmstrom collected two assists and Oliver Wahlstrom netted a goal and an assist. Although Wahlstrom hasn’t been with Bridgeport very long this season, he now has seven points (3g, 4a) in nine games.
Koivula Makes NHL Debut: Otto Koivula finally made his NHL debut with the Islanders on Saturday after receiving multiple call-ups over the last few weeks. Koivula, the Islanders’ fourth-round draft pick in 2016, skated with the team in a thrilling, 4-3 comeback win against the Philadelphia Flyers on the road. Koivula previously played in 79 AHL games with the Sound Tigers over the last two seasons, leading all team rookies in goals and points last year. Koivula played just over seven minutes for the Isles, collecting a pair of hits in the process.
Landing Ladd: Andrew Ladd cleared waivers on Friday and was loaned to the Sound Tigers, joining the team in Belleville, Ontario for Friday’s contest. Ladd scored for the second straight game after ending his five-game conditioning loan with a goal against Belleville on Sunday, Nov. 10. He has two goals in seven games with Bridgeport this season – the most games he’s played in an AHL season since 2005-06 (Lowell Lock Monsters).
Quick Hits: Christopher Gibson is one of just eight goalies to post multiple shutouts this season… Gibson is also in the top 15 in goals-against-average (2.23)… Arnaud Durandeau leads all AHL rookies in shooting percentage (3-for-8, 37.5%) and is third in the league overall… Andrew Ladd, Matt Lorito, Simon Holmstrom and Arnaud Durandeau are the four Sound Tigers to have scored in back-to-back games this season.
Goals: Matt Lorito (4)
Assists: Sebastian Aho (8)
Points: Sebastian Aho (10)
Plus/Minus: Jeff Kubiak (Even)
Penalty Minutes: Kyle Burroughs (30)
Power Play Goals: 8 tied (1)
Shots: Kieffer Bellows (44)
Wins: Christopher Gibson (3)
The New York Islanders (15-3-1) tied a franchise record on Tuesday, recording a point for the 15th straight game in a wild, come-from-behind 5-4 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road. The Isles were down by two late in the third period, but rallied back to eventually win in overtime, led former Sound Tiger Brock Nelson's two goals. Former Sound Tigers Ryan Pulock, Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier also found the back of the net. New York also beat the Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers within the last week, including another thrilling, come-from-behind win against the Flyers on Saturday (5-4 in a shootout). The Isles will rematch Pittsburgh at home on Thursday before hitting the road to face the three California teams: San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim.
The ECHL’s Worcester Railers (4-9-0-0) suffered a trio of losses last week as they faced a combination of the first-place teams in the Reading Royals and Brampton Beast. On Wednesday morning, former Sound Tiger Ryan MacKinnon scored once and added an assist in a 6-4 loss to Reading during his ECHL season debut. The following day, Brampton entered the DCU Center and earned a 5-2 win over the Railers. Worcester faced Brampton again on Sunday, but couldn’t find its rhythm in an 8-3 loss, with four goals coming in the first period. The Railers have a full week off to regroup before returning to action this Sunday against the Adirondack Thunder.