The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (8-12-3-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, won two of their three games last week and leap-frogged Charlotte to sit seventh in the Atlantic Division standings. The week was punctuated by strong showings from Arnaud Durandeau (2g), Travis St. Denis (2g) and Kieffer Bellows (2g, 1a).
Durandeau scored in his second straight game on Wednesday and helped the Sound Tigers capture a 3-2 win against the Springfield Thunderbirds in Massachusetts. In addition, Bellows recorded his first multi-point game (1g, 1a) since October 11th and Christopher Gibson stopped 37 shots to extend Bridgeport's win streak to three in a row for the first time this season.
Bridgeport took down Springfield again on Black Friday with a 4-1 victory at Webster Bank Arena. St. Denis scored twice for the first time this year and the combination of Jared Coreau and Jakub Skarek preserved the win between the pipes. Bellows and Matt Lorito also found the back of the net, propelling the Sound Tigers to a season-best fourth straight victory.
That four-game winning streak came to an end on Saturday, however, as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins collected a 5-2 decision in Pennsylvania. Five different players had a multi-point night for the Penguins, while Lorito scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season and Parker Wotherspoon added his first for the Sound Tigers. It began a three-game road trip for Bridgeport, which runs through Saturday.
The Sound Tigers head to upstate New York for a pair of games this weekend, still looking for their first win against a North Division opponent (0-3-1-0). Bridgeport will face the Utica Comets (13-8-1-0) on Friday and the Syracuse Crunch (11-8-2-0) on Saturday before returning home for a Monday night rematch against the Comets. Fans can follow all of the live action via the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHLTV, beginning with the pre-game show 15 minutes before each listed puck drop.
The week ahead:
Friday, Dec. 6 at Utica (7 p.m.): The Sound Tigers will face the Utica Comets for the first time this year, continuing a three-game road trip with a visit to New York. Bridgeport won both of its meetings against Utica last year and will be looking to stop the AHL's leading goal scorer Reid Boucher (15) on Friday night.
Saturday, Dec. 7 at Syracuse (7 p.m.): Saturday marks the second of four meetings between the Sound Tigers and Crunch this season, and the second of two in New York. Bridgeport suffered a 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay's affiliate on Nov. 1, in which Travis St. Denis scored his first goal of the year.
Monday, Dec. 9 vs. Utica (7 p.m.): The Sound Tigers return to Webster Bank Arena on Monday to square off against the Comets for the second time in four days. Bridgeport has won each of its last three games on home ice and will look to continue that success against Vancouver's AHL affiliate.
News and Notes:
Double Trouble: New York Islanders prospects Arnaud Durandeau, Travis St. Denis and Kieffer Bellows all had a pair of goals last week for the Sound Tigers. Durandeau is currently second on the team in goals (5) and leads all AHL rookies in shooting percentage (35.7%). For St. Denis, Friday's contest was the seventh multi-goal game of his career and first since Nov. 7, 2018 against Binghamton.
Tough Tandem: After suffering a minor injury while making a save in Friday's game against Springfield, Sound Tigers goaltender Jared Coreau gave way to rookie Jakub Skarek, who had just been reassigned from the Worcester Railers (ECHL) a few hours prior. The duo picked up the win after allowing only one goal combined on 25 shots. It was Bridgeport's first tandem win since December 16, 2017 when Christopher Gibson and Kristers Gudlevskis combined for a 21-save overtime victory against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Down a Man: Bridgeport's penalty kill is tied for eighth in the AHL at 85.6% and even better at home, with a success rate of 86.8% (seventh) at Webster Bank Arena. Strangely, the Sound Tigers are also the only team in the Eastern Conference that has yet to score a shorthanded goal.
Quick Hits: Matt Lorito has goals in back-to-back games and will look for his third in a row on Friday for the first time since he started the season with goals in each of his first three… Christopher Gibson is 10th in the AHL with a 2.40 goals-against-average… Bridgeport is 6-1-2-0 when scoring at least three goals in a game, something the team has done in four of its last five.
Goals: Matt Lorito (6)
Assists: Sebastian Aho (10)
Points: Sebastian Aho, Matt Lorito (12)
Plus/Minus: Arnaud Durandeau (+2)
Penalty Minutes: Seth Helgeson (41)
Power Play Goals: Andrew Ladd (2)
Shots: Kieffer Bellows, Sebastian Aho (53)
Wins: Christopher Gibson (5)
The Worcester Railers (5-12-1-0) had a mixed bag of results over four games last week. On Tuesday, the Railers managed to pick up a point in an overtime loss to the Maine Mariners, in which Nic Pierog scored once and Jakub Skarek made 30 saves. It was the final game for head coach and general manager Jamie Russell, who was relieved of his duties following the contest. Worcester faced the defending Kelly Cup champion Newfoundland Growlers on Wednesday and Friday and allowed four goals in both games, but split the series 1-1-0-0 following a 6-4 win on Friday night. The Railers finished their busy week with a 4-2 loss to the Indy Fuel on Saturday. Worcester will play its next three games on the road to open December as they do battle with the Growlers once again, as well as the Brampton Beast.