The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (9-14-3-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, saw several players extend season-long streaks last week, but fell in two of three games against North Division opponents. Nick Schilkey scored in all three contests, while Colin McDonald (4A) and Matt Lorito (3G, 2A) each pushed their point streaks to four and five games, respectively.
The Sound Tigers currently sit eighth in the Atlantic Division with 22 points in 27 outings. They are one point behind the Charlotte Checkers and just seven points outside of a playoff spot.
On Friday, Bridgeport faced Vancouver's affiliate, the Utica Comets, for the first time this year and put up a season-high five goals in a 5-4 shootout win at the Adirondack Bank Center. Three Sound Tigers recorded a multi-point night, while Oliver Wahlstrom scored the winner on his first professional shootout attempt. It was Bridgeport's fifth win in the last six games and just the second time it's registered more than 40 shots on goal (41). Lorito paced the offense with one goal and one assist.
Twenty-four hours later against the Syracuse Crunch, the Sound Tigers couldn't quite get the same offensive production in a 5-2 loss at the Oncenter War Memorial Arena. Schilkey appeared on the score sheet for the second straight game, while Parker Wotherspoon netted his second goal in the last three. Islanders prospect Jakub Skarek (2-4-0) made 27 saves on 32 shots in his seventh AHL appearance.
Bridgeport returned to Webster Bank Arena on Monday for a rematch against the Comets, but a sloppy third period ended its hopes of a fourth straight win at home. Utica scored four times in the final frame en route to a 6-3 win, with Quinnipiac University product Brogan Rafferty registering a four-point night (1G, 3A). Kole Lind also had two goals and an assist for the visitors. Meanwhile, Schilkey pocketed his third goal in the last three games for the Sound Tigers and Kieffer Bellows scored his fourth goal in the last six games. Jeff Kubiak's second-period breakaway translated to Bridgeport's only other tally.
The Sound Tigers return to the road this weekend with a Friday-Saturday doubleheader in Utica (14-8-1-2) and Hershey (12-9-2-3). Fans can follow all of the live action via the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHLTV, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.
News and Notes:
Streaking Through December: Multiple Sound Tigers carry impressive scoring streaks into the weekend, despite the mixed bag of results last week. Nick Schilkey is on a career-best three-game goal streak and is up to second on the team with six goals this season, trailing only Matt Lorito. Speaking of Lorito, his current five-game point streak is the longest for a Sound Tiger this season and Colin McDonald is actively on Bridgeport's longest assist streak this year (four games).
Mr. 300: Sound Tigers captain Kyle Burroughs played his 300th professional game on Monday - all but 18 of them coming with Bridgeport in the AHL. Burroughs has scored 76 career points in 282 games with the Sound Tigers, and now sits fourth on the team's all-time games played list behind only Steve Regier, Jeremy Colliton and Mark Wotton.
Closers: Bridgeport had enjoyed incredible success when leading after two periods this season, going 6-0-0-0 until Monday. The Sound Tigers led 3-2 after 40 minutes against the Comets, but fell in regulation, marking the first time all season the club has failed to win a game when ahead after the second period. The team has also emphasized a shots advantage, losing only two games when outshooting opponents.
Quick Hits: Kieffer Bellows has four goals in his last six games and is now tied with Arnaud Durandeau for third on the team in goal scoring (five)… Bridgeport's penalty kill continues to rank in the top half of the league (82.7%, 14th), but the power play is 0-for-29 over its last seven games and has dropped to last (8.1%)… Sebastian Aho is tied for 13th among all AHL defensemen with 15 points (2G, 13A)… Oliver Wahlstrom is fifth among all league rookies in shots (55).
The week ahead:
Friday, Dec. 13 at Utica (7 p.m.): The Sound Tigers will face the Utica Comets for the third time in the last four games, beginning a two-game weekend trip through New York and Pennsylvania. The series is currently knotted at one win apiece, with five of the last six meetings going beyond regulation.
Saturday, Dec. 14 at Hershey (7 p.m.): Saturday marks the second of six matchups between the Sound Tigers and Bears this season, and the first of three at Giant Center in Chocolate Town. Bridgeport earned a 3-2 win in their first tilt on Nov. 23, in which Sebastian Aho (2A), Nick Schilkey (1G, 1A) and Andrew Ladd (1G, 1A) all had multi-point games.
Goals: Matt Lorito (7)
Assists: Sebastian Aho (13)
Points: Matt Lorito (16)
Plus/Minus: Colin McDonald (+3)
Penalty Minutes: Seth Helgeson (41)
Power Play Goals: Andrew Ladd (2)
Shots: Kieffer Bellows (63)
Wins: Christopher Gibson (5)
The ECHL's Worcester Railers (6-14-1-0) opened December with a win last Wednesday, but couldn't solve the defending Kelly Cup champions in two games at Newfoundland over the weekend. Worcester began the stretch with a mid-week, 2-0 shutout of the Brampton Beast, in which AHL contracted goalie Evan Buitenhuis made 30 saves for his first shutout of the season. Former Sound Tiger Nic Pierog scored the eventual game winner, shorthanded. Pierog got another one on Friday in St. John's, Newfoundland, but the Growlers earned a 7-5 victory and followed up with a 3-2 win on Saturday. Worcester's next four contests are all at home as they welcome the Maine Mariners and Reading Royals to the DCU Center, beginning Friday.