The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (18-27-4-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, picked up quite a bit of steam last weekend with a two-game sweep of the Providence Bruins (26-18-3-3) during a home-and-home series. The Sound Tigers also played well on Wednesday morning, despite a 3-2 loss to the Syracuse Crunch.
Josh Ho-Sang had four points (two goals, two assists) in three games, while Christopher Gibson and Jared Coreau each backstopped wins of at least 35 saves.
Ho-Sang scored once and collected an assist on Wednesday in front of thousands of local students for the Sound Tigers' annual Winter 101 school-day event. Cole Bardreau added his second goal in four games, but third-period tallies from Danick Martel and Alexander Volkov pushed Syracuse to the win at Webster Bank Arena. Gibson made 33 saves on 36 shots in his third game back from injury.
Motivated to turn things around, the Sound Tigers came out strong on Saturday with a 4-2 win against the Bruins at home. Bridgeport scored three times in the first 17 minutes with contributions from Colin McDonald, Mason Jobst and the eventual game-winner from Simon Holmstrom. Between the pipes, Gibson was locked in wire-to-wire and set a new season high in saves (44) on 46 shots against. McDonald and Jobst each added a helper for a multi-point effort, while Robert Carpenter also secured two points with an empty-net goal and one assist.
Less than 24 hours later, the Sound Tigers and Bruins engaged in a tightly-contested rematch in Rhode Island and Bridgeport came away victorious following Grant Hutton's first pro overtime winner. Hutton ended the game at 3:50 of overtime and broke a 1-1 deadlock that lasted more than two-thirds of the afternoon. Parker Wotherspoon scored his fourth goal of the season just 50 seconds after the Bruins took a 1-0 lead in the first period, while Coreau made 35 saves on 36 shots.
The Sound Tigers are 16 points outside of a playoff spot and seven points behind the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who they face on the road this Friday. Bridgeport returns home on Saturday night to face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 7 p.m. puck drop at Webster Bank Arena. 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. ET.
The week ahead:
Friday, Feb. 14 at Lehigh Valley (7:05 p.m.): The Sound Tigers face Philadelphia's affiliate for the first time since early November when they travel to the PPL Center in Allentown, Penn. on Friday. The series is knotted at 1-1-0-0 with Bridgeport earning a 4-3 win in the last meeting on Nov. 3. Otto Koivula scored twice including the game-winning goal at 10:06 of the third period that afternoon.
Saturday, Feb. 15 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (7 p.m.): Saturday's game is the fifth of six matchups between the Sound Tigers and Penguins this season. Bridgeport is 2-1-0-1 in the series and has won two straight against Pittsburgh's affiliate, including a 3-2 shootout victory in their last matchup on Feb. 1. The Sound Tigers also blanked the Penguins 3-0 on Dec. 21. Tickets are on sale now!
Monday, Feb. 17 at Providence (3:05 p.m.): The Sound Tigers travel to Providence for a President's Day matchup and a rare Monday afternoon contest. Bridgeport is 4-4-0-0 against the Bruins this season and has won three of the last four entering their ninth tilt of 2019-20. The Sound Tigers are 3-1-0-0 in four trips to the Dunkin' Donuts Center this season.
News and Notes:
Ho-Baby!: Since joining the team in mid-December, Josh Ho-Sang has consistently propelled Bridgeport's offense in the right direction. He collected two assists on Sunday and two of his last three games have resulted in a multi-point effort. Ho-Sang has five points (two goals, three assists) in his last four games and eight points (two goals, six assists) in 10 appearances this season.
Kings of the Crease: The tandem of Christopher Gibson and Jared Coreau has been heating up and giving everyone on the ice more confidence. Gibson stopped 77 of the 82 shots he faced last week, including 44 saves in Saturday's win. It was Gibson's second 40-plus save effort this season (Oct. 11 vs. Charlotte). Meanwhile, Coreau has won four of his last five starts and continues to lead Bridgeport in wins (nine).
Wilde Returns to Juniors: The New York Islanders announced Monday that Bode Wilde has been reassigned to the Saginaw Spirit (Ontario Hockey League) from Bridgeport, ending his time with the Sound Tigers this season. The Islanders' 2018 second-round pick (41st overall) had two assists in 20 games with the Sound Tigers after making his professional debut on Nov. 16. The defenseman's start to the season was delayed after suffering an offseason injury that kept him sidelined during training camp.
Quick Hits: Each of the next seven games will take place against the Atlantic Division… Matt Lorito and Andrew Ladd have each missed the last three games with an upper-body injury… The Sound Tigers have not scored a power-play goal in their last seven games… Kyle Burroughs played his 300th AHL game on Saturday - all with the Sound Tigers… He is third on the team's all-time list, only trailing Matt Wotton (368) and Jeremy Colliton (328)… Bridgeport is 3-1-0-0 during the month of February.
Goals: Kieffer Bellows* (16)
Assists: Sebastian Aho* (21)
Points: Kieffer Bellows* (24)
Plus/Minus: Josh Ho-Sang (+3)
Penalty Minutes: Seth Helgeson (80)
Power Play Goals: Kieffer Bellows*, Otto Koivula (3)
Shots: Kieffer Bellows* (118)
Wins: Jared Coreau (9)
* = Currently playing with the New York Islanders
The ECHL's Worcester Railers (17-30-3-0) couldn't turn things around last weekend in a three-in-three series against the Maine Mariners, Atlanta Gladiators and Newfoundland Growlers. Worcester dropped each contest and saw its losing streak hit seven games, despite more contributions from Nic Pierog. The former Sound Tiger leads Worcester in goals (20) and points (33) through 43 contests. The Railers return to action this Sunday with a 4 p.m. matchup against the Reading Royals at Santander Arena.