The Bridgeport Report: Week 4
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (2-4-0-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, secured a hard-earned, come-from-behind win in their only game last week, downing the Providence Bruins (5-2-0-0) in a 3-2 final on Thursday afternoon. The Sound Tigers (four points) remain third in the Atlantic Division at the quarter mark of their 24-game regular season.
Islanders prospect Arnaud Durandeau scored a power-play goal in the final five minutes of regulation on Thursday, giving Bridgeport its only lead at the New England Sports Center. Special teams play was 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. Simon Holmstrom had one goal and one assist, while Mason Jobst contributed two assists for his third career multi-point performance.
Between the pipes, C.J. Motte (1-0-0) played his first AHL game in nearly two years and earned his first victory in the league 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.
Bridgeport finished the contest 2-for-4 on the power play and a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill, while Durandeau picked up right where he left off in 2019-20 with his first game-winning goal of the season. Two of his five goals last year were decisive.
After a full week of practice and rest, the Sound Tigers return to action on Thursday to face Boston's AHL affiliate for the fifth time this season. Bridgeport and Providence rematch at 1 p.m. inside the New England Sports Center before the Sound Tigers return to Webster Bank Arena this Saturday for a 1 p.m. puck drop against the Hartford Wolf Pack (2-3-0-0). Fans can follow all of the live action via AHLTV or the Sound Tigers Radio Network, beginning with the pre-game show at 12:45 p.m. both days.
The Week Ahead
Thursday, Mar. 4 at Providence Bruins (1 p.m.): The Sound Tigers battle Providence for the third straight game and their second straight matchup in Marlborough, Mass., where the Bruins have relocated for the 2020-21 season. Bridgeport is 1-3-0-0 in the series and 1-1-0-0 at the New England Sports Center. Simon Holmstrom leads the Sound Tigers against the Bruins with three points (one goal, two assists), while Bobo Carpenter has two goals.
Saturday, Mar. 6 vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (1 p.m.): The Sound Tigers open a two-game homestand with their third meeting against the Wolf Pack. Bridgeport is 1-1-0-0 against Hartford this season following a 5-3 victory at Webster Bank Arena in their last matchup on Feb. 17th. Five players had a multi-point performance for the Sound Tigers that day, including rookie defenseman Samuel Bolduc's career-best three points (one goal, two assists).
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.
Timely Sharpshooter: 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 goaltender Dan Vladar on Holmstrom's power-play tally. Fritz 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).
Quick Hits: Bridgeport has three shorthanded goals this season, tied for the league lead with Chicago and already matching its total from last season... Seth Helgeson played his 219th game with the Sound Tigers on Thursday and his 80th consecutive (regular season and playoffs)... He is four games behind Scott Mayfield for 11th place on the team's all-time list... Both of the Sound Tigers' wins have come when trailing after one period... 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.
Across the Sound: The New York Islanders (11-6-4) defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-0 on Sunday night, completing their four-game homestand with a 3-0-1 record and improving to 7-0-2 at Nassau Coliseum this season. Former Sound Tiger Oliver Wahlstrom scored his second goal of the year and added an assist, while Ilya Sorokin made 20 saves for his second straight shutout. The Isles went 8-2-2 during the month of February and are tied for second in the MassMutual East Division with 26 points. New York returns to action tomorrow night with a 7 p.m. puck drop against the New Jersey Devils in Newark, their first of 16 games in March.
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