The Bridgeport Sound Tigers, proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, opened their 2017-18 season on Saturday night with a 2-1 setback to the Binghamton Devils at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena. The loss dropped Bridgeport to 0-1-0-0 after their season opener for the first time since 2014-15.
Scott Eansor headlined Saturday's contest for the Sound Tigers, scoring his first professional goal in his pro debut, which put the visitors within one midway through the third period. Mitch Vande Sompel also secured his first point in his pro debut with an assist on Eansor's goal.
Between the pipes, Christopher Gibson was steady from the start but allowed two goals on 24 shots and suffered his first loss since Mar. 11, 2016, which snapped a string of eight straight wins for the fifth-year netminder. Both tallies he allowed were in the opening frame, including a penalty shot from Nathan Bastian at the 15:46 mark. That goal ultimately stood as the game-winner.
Bridgeport continues its four-game road trip to open the regular season this weekend with a pair of games against the Charlotte Checkers at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C. Fans can follow all of the action online through the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHL Live, beginning Friday night with a 6:45 p.m. pre-game show leading up to a 7 p.m. puck drop in Charlotte.
The week ahead:
Friday, Oct. 13 at Charlotte Checkers (7:15 p.m.): Friday's matchup will be the first of eight meetings this season between the Sound Tigers and Charlotte Checkers, and the first of four matchups in North Carolina.
Saturday, Oct. 14 at Charlotte Checkers (6 p.m.)
News and Notes:
Night To Remember: Scott Eansor's third-period goal on Saturday wasn't enough to push the Sound Tigers past Binghamton, but it will certainly be an unforgettable moment for the 21-year-old center. Eansor celebrated his first professional goal and kept the puck from that tally, which was tipped on a Mitch Vande Sompel shot from the blue line. A native of Englewood, Colo., Eansor netted a career-high 18 goals in 40 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League last season, while serving as team co-captain with current Islanders forward Mathew Barzal.
Scouting Report: Fresh off their move back to the Eastern Conference over the offseason, the Charlotte Checkers are the early front runners in the Atlantic Division with a pair of road wins last weekend. On Friday, Charlotte scored twice in the final seven minutes to steal a 5-4 win in Hartford before defeating the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday, 5-2. Warren Foegele collected four goals on the weekend (tied for the league lead), while Phil Di Giuseppe also chipped in two on Saturday.
Quick Hits: Ross Johnson recorded his first fight of the season on Saturday after leading the club with 11 tilts in 2016-17… Along with Scott Eansor and Mitch Vande Sompel, Matt Gaudreau also made his pro debut on Saturday… Sebastian Aho made his AHL and North American debut on Saturday… The Sound Tigers will play each of their first four games on the road before returning to Webster Bank Arena for their home opener on Saturday, Oct. 21… Ryan Bourque is expected to play his 400th pro game this Friday.
Goals: Scott Eansor (1)
Assists: Mitch Vande Sompel, Kane Lafranchise (1)
Points: Scott Eansor, Mitch Vande Sompel, Kane Lafranchise (1)
Plus/Minus: Many Tied (+1)
Penalty Minutes: Ross Johnston (5)
Power-play goals: n/a
Shots: Casey Bailey (6)