The Bridgeport Report: Week 8Nov 25, 2019
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (6-11-3-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, won two of their three games last weekend and crossed the quarter mark of the season during an important stretch against Atlantic Division opponents.
Andrew Ladd had two game-winning goals and Sebastian Aho improved his scoring total to a team-best 12 points (2g, 10a), while Christopher Gibson and Jared Coreau each backstopped a crucial victory in net.
On Saturday, Mason Jobst scored his first professional goal and three players recorded a multi-point effort in a 3-2 win against the Hershey Bears at Webster Bank Arena. Ladd broke a 2-2 deadlock at 12:08 of the second period, while he and Nick Schilkey each scored once and added an assist. Aho also notched a multi-point performance with two assists and Gibson (4-3-3) became the second-winningest Sound Tigers goalie with his 70th career victory. He made 18 saves to pass Kevin Poulin on the team's all-time list.
It was the first of two home wins last weekend as Coreau (1-6-1) stopped 39 shots on Sunday afternoon, and was 83 seconds from his first shutout of the season, to help Bridgeport earn a 3-1 win against the Springfield Thunderbirds. Arnaud Durandeau and Ladd scored 10 seconds apart in the opening three minutes to help the Sound Tigers lead nearly wire-to-wire, and John Stevens added his first goal of the season late in the third period. Meanwhile, Coreau was miraculous from start to finish in his first win with the team. He traded his 18th career shutout for a chance at a “goalie goal,” shooting at Springfield’s empty net in the final two minutes, which was knocked down and put into Bridgeport’s cage by Kevin Roy.
The Sound Tigers also fell to the Providence Bruins in a 5-0 final on Friday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Providence goaltender Max Lagace stopped 17 shots for his league-leading fourth shutout of the season and Brendan Gaunce had three points for the Bruins (2g, 1a).
Bridgeport will go for its first three-game win streak on Wednesday with a 7:05 p.m. rematch against Springfield at MassMutual Center. It’s also the second of three consecutive meetings between the two rivals over a six-day span, which ends at Webster Bank Arena this Friday at 7 p.m. The Sound Tigers will immediately travel to Wilkes-Barre, Penn. for a 7 p.m. tilt against Pittsburgh’s affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, on Saturday. Fans can follow all of the live action via the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHLTV, beginning with the pre-game show 15 minutes prior to each listed puck drop.
The week ahead:
Wednesday, Nov. 27 at Springfield (7:05 p.m.): The Sound Tigers will make their second trip to Massachusetts on Wednesday for a Thanksgiving Eve showdown against Florida’s affiliate. Bridgeport is 2-2-0-0 against Springfield this season, but dropped a 5-1 decision on the road in its season opener on Oct. 5. Matt Lorito scored the Sound Tigers’ lone goal at MassMutual Center that night.
Friday, Nov. 29 vs. Springfield (7 p.m.): Bridgeport and Springfield will conclude their three-game set on Black Friday at Webster Bank Arena. It’s also “Hockey & Hops,” featuring a pre-game craft beer tasting party before the Tigers and T-Birds drop the puck. A $30 ticket package includes access to the game, access to the beer tasting event, a Sound Tigers tasting sampler glass and koozie. Click here to see which local breweries will be there!
Saturday, Nov. 30 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (7 p.m.): The Sound Tigers open a three-game road trip on Saturday with their first visit to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza this season. Bridgeport dropped its first meeting against the Penguins on Oct. 19, coming up short in a 3-2 shootout loss at home. Ryan Bourque and Nick Schilkey each scored that night and Christopher Gibson made 25 saves on 27 shots.
News and Notes:
El Durandeau: 20-year-old rookie Arnaud Durandeau has burst onto the scene this season with four goals on 10 shots to begin his professional career. The New York Islanders prospect leads all AHL players in shooting percentage (40.0%) and has scored in three of his last five games. Durandeau collected his first pro goal in his debut on Oct. 11 at Charlotte, which also came on his first pro shot. He was selected in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL Draft and signed a three-year entry level deal with the Isles on May 31, 2019. He has five points (4g, 1a) in 10 games with Bridgeport.
Leading the Way: Third-year defenseman Sebastian Aho has six points (6a) in his last seven games and now paces the Sound Tigers in scoring (2g, 10a) through 21 contests. The two-time All-Star is also tied for 10th among all AHL blueliners in points and is tied for seventh in assists.
Gibson Climbs Ladder: Christopher Gibson won his 70th career game with Bridgeport on Saturday, passing Kevin Poulin (2010-15) for second place on the team’s all-time list. Gibson is 4-3-3 this season and 14th among all AHL netminders with a 2.44 goals-against-average. He sits 11 victories behind Wade Dubielewicz (81 - 2003-08), who is currently the Sound Tigers’ all-time winningest goalie.
Quick Hits: The Sound Tigers are 5-2-0-0 in their last seven games against Atlantic Division opponents… Bridgeport was not shorthanded at all in Saturday’s win, which was just the fifth time in team history… The Sound Tigers are 5-0-0-0 when leading after two periods this year… Andrew Ladd has points in three straight games at home (3g, 1a), the longest streak for the team this season.
Goals: Matt Lorito, Arnaud Durandeau, Andrew Ladd (4)
Assists: Sebastian Aho (10)
Points: Sebastian Aho (12)
Plus/Minus: Thomas Hickey, Mason Jobst, John Stevens (Even)
Penalty Minutes: Seth Helgeson (41)
Power Play Goals: Andrew Ladd (2)
Shots: Sebastian Aho (49)
Wins: Christopher Gibson (4)
The New York Islanders (16-4-2) saw their franchise-record 17-game point streak come to an end on Monday in a 3-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. It was the first time the Isles had been shut out this season and it was their first regulation loss since Oct. 11 (15-0-2 streak). New York is in the middle of a three-game road trip through California, which started on Saturday with a 2-1 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks. The Islanders are led in scoring by Mat Barzal and former Sound Tiger Brock Nelson, who has seven points (2g, 3a) in his last five games. Both players have 20 points on the season. The Isles are back in action on Wednesday night with a 10:30 p.m. ET start against the Los Angeles Kings.
The ECHL’s Worcester Railers (4-10-0-0) have dropped five straight games, including a 4-1 loss to the Adirondack Thunder last Sunday at home. Worcester is also winless in regulation in 10 in a row. Islanders prospect Jakub Skarek made 30 saves on 33 shots in Sunday’s setback, which was the Railers only game last week. The club returns to action tonight with a 7:05 p.m. matchup against the Maine Mariners and plays four games over the next five days.