Sound Tigers Face Penguins to Begin Home Slate Tonight
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Following four straight road games to open the season, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (1-2-1-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, return to Webster Bank Arena this evening for their 2019-20 home opener - a 7 p.m. puck drop against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (2-2-1-0). The Sound Tigers are looking to get back to .500 after splitting a two-game slate in Charlotte, NC last weekend, including a 4-1 loss in their last outing on Saturday. Arnaud Durandeau scored the lone goal in his professional debut (on his first pro shot), while NY Islanders' 23rd overall pick Simon Holmstrom recorded his first North American point with an assist. Jared Coreau made 26 saves between the pipes.
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TIGERS VS. PENGUINS
Tonight's game is the first of six meetings between the Sound Tigers and Penguins this year, and the first of three matchups at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport went 4-3-1-0 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season and 2-2-0-0 in those games at home. The Sound Tigers also defeated the Penguins 5-2 in their final game of the 2018-19 regular season.
VIEW FROM WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON
Led by defending Calder Cup champion head coach Mike Vellucci, who was hired by the Penguins on June 19, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is .500 through its first five games of the season. The Penguins beat Binghamton 5-3 in their last outing on Wednesday, propelled by Stefan Noesen's two goals at home. In fact, Noesen leads the AHL with six goals in five games (tied with Utica's Reid Boucher) and is tied for second in points (6). Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is without some heavy hitters tonight, however, as Joseph Blandisi, Sam Lafferty and Adam Johnson have all been recalled by Pittsburgh due to injuries up top.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Sound Tigers return to the friendly confines of Webster Bank Arena this weekend and will play each of their next three games at home. Last season, Bridgeport was one of the strongest teams on home ice, going 26-7-3-2 and collecting 57 points - tied for the most in the AHL. The Sound Tigers' 128 goals at home were also fifth most in the league.
DURANDEAU DEBUTS STRONG
Arnaud Durandeau, the NY Islanders' sixth-round pick in 2017, made his pro debut on Saturday and scored Bridgeport's lone goal in the third period. The 20-year-old Montreal native joins the Sound Tigers after four successful seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with the Halifax Mooseheads, where he recorded career highs in goals (38), assists (35) and points (73) in just 68 games last season.
LORITO LIGHTING THE LAMP
Matt Lorito opened the season with three goals in the first three games, becoming the first player to do so for the Sound Tigers since Bracken Kearns in 2015-16. He currently leads the team in goals (3) and points (4) and has 20 points (8g, 12a) in 27 career outings with Bridgeport dating back to last season. Lorito began his Sound Tigers career with points in five straight games (2g, 6a).
JOINING THE BIG CLUB
Rookie forward Oliver Wahlstrom earned his first NHL recall on Monday and made his debut with the New York Islanders in their thrilling win against the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. Prior to reaching the NHL, Wahlstrom had three goals and three assists in just nine games during his young Sound Tigers career, which dates back to March. He was selected 11th overall in the 2018 NHL Draft.
Colin McDonald played his 700th AHL game last weekend in Charlotte... He is trying to crack into the top 50 in all-time AHL games played, currently sitting 50 appearances behind Noel Price and Jeff Hoggan... Chris Gibson is third on the team's all-time wins list (67), two behind Kevin Poulin (2010-15)... Steve Bernier is tied for fifth on the club's all-time goals list (61), 10 behind Jeff Tambellini (2005-09)...Tanner Fritz is 10th on the all-time points list (129), one behind Justin Mapletoft (2001-05)... Bode Wilde, the Islanders' second-round pick in 2018, was loaned to the Sound Tigers on Wednesday.
NHL: New York Islanders (4-3-0) - Next: Tonight at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET
ECHL: Worcester Railers (2-0-0-0) - Next: Tonight at Adirondack Thunder, 7 p.m. ET
Sound Tigers season tickets and flex plans are on sale now for the 2019-20 campaign, offering the greatest savings and ultimate flexibility of all ticket packages. Pick between a full-season, 20-game, or 10-game plan and you'll also be entitled to exclusive benefits, including the ticket holder exchange policy. Lock in your seats today by contacting Brad Dworin at 203-345-4813 or via [email protected] .
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