Sound Tigers Face Bruins at 1 p.m. in Marlborough, Mass.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (2-4-0-0) play their first of seven games during the month of March as they battle the Providence Bruins (6-2-0-0) at 1 p.m. inside the New England Sports Center. It's the fifth of 12 matchups between the Atlantic Division rivals this season and their third of six meetings in Marlborough, Mass., where the Bruins have relocated for 2020-21. Bridgeport is 1-3-0-0 against Providence this year and 1-1-0-0 in those games on the road. Simon Holmstrom leads the Sound Tigers in the season series with three points (one goal, two assists), while Bobo Carpenter has a team-best two goals.
LAST TIME OUT
The Sound Tigers earned a come-from-behind win in their only game last week, downing the Providence Bruins 3-2 last Thursday in Marlborough. Arnaud Durandeau scored a power-play goal in the final five minutes to give Bridgeport its only lead. Special teams were the story of the afternoon as Bridgeport collected a season-high two power-play goals and also added a shorthanded tally from Tanner Fritz in the first period. Holmstrom had one goal and one assist, while Mason Jobst contributed two assists for his third career multi-point performance. In net, C.J. Motte (1-0-0) played his first AHL game in nearly two years and earned his first AHL victory since Dec. 8, 2018 with the Iowa Wild. He made 23 saves on 25 shots and was perfect on 20 shots against in the final two periods.
VIEW FROM PROVIDENCE
Head coach Jay Leach's club is coming off of back-to-back wins against the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center last Saturday and Tuesday. In fact, the Bruins are a perfect 5-0-0-0 on the road this season, but just 1-2-0-0 inside the New England Sports Center where they face the Sound Tigers today. Last time out, Sam Asselin scored his first professional hat trick and Oskar Steen chipped in two assists as Providence beat Hartford 4-2 on Tuesday. Captain Paul Carey was held quiet and saw his five-game point streak come to an end, but his eight assists are tied for third in the AHL. Between the pipes, Dan Vladar (1.78 GAA, 8th) and Jeremy Swayman (2.00 GAA, 10th) both reside in the top 10 among AHL goalies in goals-against-average.
HOLMSTROM HEATS UP
Simon Holmstrom has two goals and three points in his last three games. One of those goals came in his 50th AHL appearance on Feb. 17th against Hartford, in which he tied the game at 2-2 with a perfect wrist shot from above the right circle. The 19-year-old Islanders prospect is second on the Sound Tigers in points (four), shots (12) and is one of three players with a power-play goal. Prior to joining the team in January, he attended training camp on Long Island and played five games with Team Sweden during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championships in Edmonton, recording five assists.
COMING IN CLUTCH
Arnaud Durandeau led all AHL rookies in shooting percentage last season and has already scored once on six shots in 2020-21. The Islanders' sixth-round pick in 2017 scored the game-winning goal on his third shot in last week's 3-2 win against Providence, which also helped Bridgeport finish the afternoon 2-for-4 on the power play. Two of his five goals last season were game-winners and he finished the year with a 26.3% shooting percentage (best among rookies, minimum 20 games played).
HARDLY ON THE FRITZ
Tanner Fritz factored into all three goals in Bridgeport's victory last week. He scored his first goal of the season, shorthanded, midway through the opening period, then provided a key screen in front of goalie Dan Vladar on Holmstrom's power-play tally. He also created traffic and a tie-up in front of the Providence net on Durandeau's tap-in goal with just 4:34 left. The sixth-year forward has three points in his last three games (one goal, two assists) and 132 total points in his Sound Tigers/AHL career. He is ninth on the team's all-time scoring list, four points behind Trent Hunter (2001-03). It was exactly five years ago today that Fritz scored his first AHL goal in a 4-3 overtime win against Providence on March 4, 2016.
Bridgeport has three shorthanded goals this season, tied for the league lead with Chicago and already matching its total from last season... Both of the Sound Tigers' wins have come when trailing after one period... Last Thursday's game was the first time that Bridgeport has recorded at least 30 shots on goal and also held its opponent to 25 shots or less... Bridgeport has had a lead in four of its six games... The Sound Tigers are 14 for their last 14 on the penalty kill.
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