No Love Lost Between Rivals this Weekend
ALLENTOWN, Penn. - Love likely won't be in the air this weekend as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (18-27-4-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (21-23-1-5) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (25-18-3-5). The two-game series kicks off tonight with a Valentine's Day matchup against the Phantoms in Allentown, Penn. (7:05 p.m.) and concludes tomorrow night against the Pens inside Webster Bank Arena (7 p.m.).
LAST TIME OUT
The Sound Tigers are looking for their first three-game win streak since Nov. 23-29 after back-to-back victories against the Providence Bruins last weekend. Grant Hutton scored his first professional overtime winner in Bridgeport's last outing on Sunday, leading the Sound Tigers to a 2-1 win at Dunkin' Donuts Center. Parker Wotherspoon recorded his fifth goal of the year in regulation and Jared Coreau made 35 saves on 36 shots. It also marked the first time this season that the Sound Tigers have won back-to-back games on the road.
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TIGERS VS. PHANTOMS
Tonight's tilt is the third of six meetings between the Sound Tigers and Phantoms this season, and the first of three in Allentown. The series is knotted at 1-1-0-0 after a weekend split at Webster Bank Arena in early November. Nic Aube-Kubel broke a late tie in Lehigh Valley's 3-2 win on Nov. 2, while Otto Koivula scored twice the next day and propelled the Sound Tigers to a 4-3 victory. Four of Bridgeport's next 12 games will come against Lehigh Valley, including tonight.
VIEW FROM ALLENTOWN
The seventh-place Phantoms have won three of their last four games, but saw a three-game winning streak come to an end on Sunday in a 5-2 loss to the Hershey Bears at home. Steven Swavely and Isaac Ratcliffe each scored in the second period, but former Sound Tigers goalie J-F Berube only made 16 saves on 20 shots. Hershey scored three times on just five shots in the third period. Lehigh Valley enters the weekend seven points ahead of the Sound Tigers and 10 points out of a playoff spot with 26 games remaining. Greg Carey leads the team in goals (13), power-play goals (6) and points (24), and is tied for fourth in the AHL with 155 shots. Meanwhile, Berube is tied for 10th in the AHL with a 2.47 goals-against-average.
TIGERS VS. PENGUINS
Saturday's game is the fifth of six matchups between the Sound Tigers and Penguins this season, and the third and final meeting at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport is 2-1-0-1 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and has won back-to-back games, including a 3-2 shootout win in Pennsylvania on Feb. 1. A trio of Islanders' first-round picks led the way that night, with Oliver Wahlstrom and Josh Ho-Sang both scoring in regulation and Simon Holmstrom ending the night in the seventh round of a shootout.
VIEW FROM WILKES-BARRE
The Penguins are tied with Providence for the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division (58 points), but have played one more game entering the weekend. Last time out, Pierre-Olivier Joseph scored twice as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defeated the Hartford Wolf Pack 2-1 at the XL Center, ending Hartford's franchise record 12-game win streak at home. Casey DeSmith made 25 saves between the pipes. The Penguins are led by veteran forward Andrew Agozzino in goals (14) and points (33), but he's been up with Pittsburgh since Jan. 30. Captain David Warsofsky is next best with 30 points (9g, 21a) in 40 games, which is ninth among AHL blue-liners. Warsofsky is also second among AHL defensemen in goals, first in power-play goals (six), third in power-play points (17) and fourth in shots (128).
COLE GETS THE CALL
Former Phantom Cole Bardreau will not be in the Sound Tigers' lineup tonight after being recalled by the New York Islanders on Wednesday. It marked Bardreau's second recall this season after he was promoted for the first time back in October and played nine games with the Isles, including his NHL debut on Oct. 19 at Columbus. Bardreau also became just the seventh player to ever score his first NHL goal on a penalty shot (Nov. 5 against Ottawa). The fifth-year forward has three points (2g, 1a) in 29 contests with the Sound Tigers this season - both goals coming in the last six games. He played 226 games with Lehigh Valley, dating back to the end of the 2014-15 campaign.
Since joining the team in mid-December, Josh Ho-Sang has consistently impacted Bridgeport's offense. He collected two assists on Sunday and two of his last three games have resulted in a multi-point effort. Ho-Sang has five points (2g, 3a) in his last four games and eight points (2g, 6a) in 10 appearances this season.
KINGS OF THE CREASE
The tandem of Christopher Gibson and Jared Coreau has been heating up and giving everyone on the ice more confidence. Gibson stopped 77 of the 82 shots he faced last week, including 44 saves in Saturday's win. It was Gibson's second 40-plus save effort this season (Oct. 11 vs. Charlotte). Meanwhile, Coreau has won four of his last five starts and continues to lead Bridgeport in wins (nine).
Each of the next seven games will take place against the Atlantic Division... Matt Lorito and Andrew Ladd have missed the last three games with an upper-body injury... The Sound Tigers have not scored a power-play goal in their last seven games... Kyle Burroughs played his 300th AHL game last Saturday - all with the Sound Tigers...He is third on the team's all-time list, only trailing Matt Wotton (368) and Jeremy Colliton (328)... Bridgeport is 3-1-0-0 during the month of February... Bode Wilde was reassigned to Saginaw (OHL) on Monday after recording two assists in 20 games this season.
NHL: New York Islanders (33-17-6) - Next: Tomorrow at Vegas Golden Knights, 10:30 p.m. ET
ECHL: Worcester Railers (17-30-3-0) - Next: Sunday at Reading Royals, 4 p.m. ET
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American Hockey League Stories from February 14, 2020
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