Sound Tigers Face Third Straight Three-In-Three Weekend
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (30-18-5-2), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, gear up for their third consecutive three-in-three weekend with matchups against the Providence Bruins (27-19-6-1), Springfield Thunderbirds (22-22-6-4) and Hershey Bears (29-20-0-3). The series begins tonight in Rhode Island before moving back to Webster Bank Arena for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader. The Sound Tigers enter the weekend on a five-game point streak (4-0-1-0) and second place in the Atlantic Division, eight points outside the top spot. Hershey and Providence are tied for third place, six points behind Bridgeport.
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HOCKEY WEEKEND IN CT
The Sound Tigers are hosting "Hockey Weekend in Connecticut" this Saturday and Sunday, in celebration of USA Hockey's national "Hockey Week Across America" campaign. On Saturday, the first 1,000 kids (14 years and younger) will receive a replica youth jersey, presented by J.R.C. Transportation. These youth sweaters are only available when doors open at 6 p.m. and are expected to be one of the most sought-after giveaways at Webster Bank Arena this season. Less than 24 hours later, the first 2,500 fans will r eceive a bobblehead of goalie Christopher Gibson, presented by Newtown Savings Bank. In addition, take advantage of 50-cent chicken wings and $5 16oz. Budweiser products for those 21 and older at the Mason's Bar on the upper concourse. Doors open at 2 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT
The Sound Tigers made a statement last Sunday and earned a convincing, 7-3 win against the AHL's best team, the Charlotte Checkers. Josh Ho-Sang tied a franchise record with five points (three goals, two assists) and scored his first professional (natural) hat trick, while Bridgeport recorded six unanswered goals to recover from an early deficit. The team's seven-goal performance was its most tallies in a game since Nov. 3 against Binghamton.
TIGERS VS. BRUINS
Tonight's game marks the 10th of 12 meetings between the Sound Tigers and Bruins this season, and the fifth of six matchups in Rhode Island. Bridgeport is 5-3-1-0 against Providence this season, but the Bruins have points in eight of the nine matchups (4-1-3-1) and have outscored the Sound Tigers 16-8 at home. Five of the first nine games have gone past regulation, including Bridgeport's 4-3 shootout win at Webster Bank Arena on Jan. 19. In their last tilt on Feb. 9, the Sound Tigers bounced back from a two-goal deficit to earn a 4-2 victory, with Tanner Fritz's game-winning goal and two points leading the way.
VIEW FROM PROVIDENCE
The third-place Bruins have won seven of their last 10 games, but have also dropped each of their last two including a 5-1 setback to Springfield on Sunday. Captain Jordan Szwarz scored Providence's only goal early in the third period, while Zane McIntyre made 21 saves in his first loss since Dec. 30, snapping the third-year goalie's 12-game win streak. Still, McIntyre is up to second among AHL netminders in wins (20) and ninth in goals-against-average (2.57). Paul Carey, who was acquired in a trade with Ottawa on Jan. 11, leads the offense with 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) in 41 AHL games this season.
TIGERS VS. T-BIRDS
Saturday's 7 p.m. contest marks the eighth of 10 meetings between the Sound Tigers and Thunderbirds this season, and the fourth of five at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport leads the series 5-2-0-0 and has won each of the last three games, including a 4-3 win in regulation in their last matchup on Dec. 28. Otto Koivula had the game-winning goal and one assist, while Michael Dal Colle recorded a season-high three assists just prior to his second call-up with the Islanders later that night.
VIEW FROM SPRINGFIELD
The Thunderbirds have lost eight of their last 10 games, dropping all the way back to seventh place in the Atlantic Division (seven points out of a playoff spot). Last weekend, Springfield fell in two of its three games during a "three-in-three series," but defeated Providence on Sunday, 5-1. Chris Wideman, who was traded to the Florida Panthers organization from Edmonton on Dec. 30, scored twice and added one assist to pave the way that afternoon. Jacob MacDonald also scored his 12th goal of the season and now ranks fourth among all AHL defensemen in goals, and ninth among blue-liners in points (34). Springfield is in Hartford on Friday before traveling to the Park City for Saturday's game.
TIGERS VS. BEARS
Sunday's 3 p.m. matinee features the third of six meetings between the Sound Tigers and Bears this season, and the second of three at Webster Bank Arena. The series is currently knotted at 1-1-0-0, with Hershey earning a 4-1 win in their last tilt on Jan. 21. Otto Koivula opened the scoring late in the first period that afternoon, but the Bears bounced back with four unanswered goals. Bridgeport defeated Hershey in the first meeting, 2-1, on Oct. 7. The Sound Tigers and Bears faced each other just twice before Sunday's game, but four times in 36 days after that.
VIEW FROM HERSHEY
Spencer Carbery's club is hands down the hottest team in the Eastern Conference, riding a 15-game point streak (14-0-0-1) into the weekend - tied for a franchise record. Hershey has also won nine straight games after a 4-3 victory against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms last Sunday at PPL Center. Beck Malenstyn scored twice that afternoon for his first pro multi-goal game, while Ryan Sproul had one goal and two assists. Between the pipes, 2019 AHL All-Star Vitek Vanecek had 24 saves on 27 shots to earn his sixth straight win. Mike Sgarbossa and Riley Barber are tied for the team lead offensively with 44 points, while Sgarbossa boasts a team-best 23 goals in 52 games. Hershey also received NHL veteran Devante Smith-Pelly from the Washington Capitals on Thursday after he cleared waivers. Smith-Pelly has not played in the AHL since April 4, 2014 with the Norfolk Admirals.
HO-SANG NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Josh Ho-Sang was named CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the first time in his career on Monday following his offensive explosion last weekend. The 23-year-old recorded six points (four goals, two assists), a plus-five rating, and his first pro hat trick in just two games. Ho-Sang had two goals in 37 AHL games this season before tripling that output over the weekend. He currently ranks fourth on the Sound Tigers with 32 points (six goals, 26 assists) in 39 games.
Sebastian Aho quietly had five points (one goal, four assists) in three games last weekend and extended his point streak to a team-high five games. Aho's only goal stood as the game-winner on Sunday and came on his 23rd birthday. In addition, the two-time AHL All-Star is currently riding an eight-game point streak at home that began Jan. 21. He is third on the Sound Tigers in scoring with 36 points (five goals, 31 assists) this season, and eighth among all AHL defensemen. Aho is also tied for third among league blue-liners in assists.
LORITO'S HOT START
Matt Lorito missed 51 games this season as he battled his way back from injury, but returned to the ice this month and has already made a big difference. Lorito, a two-time AHL All-Star who signed a two-year deal with the Islanders in July, has five points (one goal, four assists) in his first three games with Bridgeport, including back-to-back multi-point outings. He was second on the Grand Rapids Griffins in goals last season (23) and had 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 19 games during 2017 playoffs, helping the Griffins capture the 2017 Calder Cup championship.
WHEN 60 ISN'T ENOUGH
The Sound Tigers have gone past regulation in three of their last four games and 19 times overall this season - tied for second most in the AHL. Twelve of those games have resulted in victories, which leads the league. Bridgeport has been no stranger to close games this season and the team continues to lead the AHL in one-goal outcomes with 33 (21-5-5-2).
Otto Koivula is fourth among AHL rookies in goals (17), shooting percentage (22.4%) and tied for sixth in points (39)... He has also scored in four of his last five games... Steve Bernier scored his 54th career goal with the Sound Tigers on Sunday, grabbing sole possession of eighth place on the team's all-time list... Bridgeport improved to 9-1-1-0 in Sunday games... Christopher Gibson is tied for the league lead with three shootout wins.
NHL: New York Islanders (35-18-7): Next: Tomorrow at Vancouver (10 p.m. ET)
ECHL: Worcester Railers (23-22-5-3): Next: Sunday at Maine (3 p.m. ET)
Packed Promotional Lineup: The Sound Tigers boast one of their most extensive and wide-ranging promotional schedules ever for the 2018-19 season. The fan-friendly calendar includes the return of popular themes like Hockey and Hops (Mar. 17), Military Appreciation (Jan. 12), Star Wars Night (Jan. 19) and Princess Night (Mar. 30). Regional hockey fans will also be elated for the addition of Hockey Weekend in Connecticut (Feb. 23-24). View the full 2018-19 promotional schedule.
For additional details or to reserve a group outing for any giveaway or theme night, please call the Sound Tigers' front office at (203) 345-2300 ext 7.
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