Bridgeport Sound Tigers: 26-16-1-1 (54 points), 5th in Atlantic Division, 5th in Eastern Conference
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (26-16-1-1) returned from their All-Star break last weekend with a two-game split at Webster Bank Arena, placing the club in a virtual tie for fourth place in the Atlantic Division standings. The Sound Tigers closed in on a franchise record following Friday's victory over the Rochester Americans, but fell to the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday
The Sound Tigers have amassed 54 points in 44 games this season (.614 win percentage), almost dead even with the Hershey Bears' 58 points in 47 contests (.617 win percentage). The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (34-10-3-0) continue to pace the Atlantic Division and the American Hockey League overall with 71 points in 47 games.
On Friday, Bridgeport recorded its eighth consecutive victory with a 3-2 win over Rochester. Tanner Fritz, Josh Ho-Sang and Ryan Pulock each tallied a second-period goal, while Jaroslav Halak (7-1-2) made 25 saves to earn his sixth straight win. Ho-Sang led the offense with two points (one goal, one assist), extending his point streak to three games. The Sound Tigers' win streak was tied for the fourth longest in franchise history, and was the fourth time the club has ever reached that mark. The other three were: Nov. 3 - 23, 2001; Jan. 2 - 21, 2012; Jan. 20 - Feb. 13, 2016.
The Thunderbirds busted Bridgeport's streak on Saturday as the Sound Tigers suffered their first loss since Jan. 14 in a 5-2 setback. Springfield's Kyle Rau stole the show with the first hat trick in franchise history, while Fritz and Kyle Burroughs each scored for the Sound Tigers. The loss also snapped Bridgeport's six-game win streak at home.
The Sound Tigers and Thunderbirds will rematch at 7 p.m. tomorrow night, concluding Bridgeport's season-long eight-game homestand. It also begins a busy four-game week for the Sound Tigers, who will face the Providence Bruins in a home-and-home series on Friday and Saturday before wrapping up the weekend against Hershey on Sunday. Fans can follow all of the live action via the team's online broadcast at www.ahllive.com.
The week ahead:
*Bridgeport vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (17-20-6-2) - Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.
Bridgeport at Providence Bruins (26-12-5-3) - Friday, Feb. 10 at 7:05 p.m.
**Bridgeport vs. Providence Bruins (26-12-5-3) - Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.
Bridgeport vs. Hershey Bears (24-13-7-3) - Sunday, Feb. 12 at 3 p.m.
News and Notes:
Fritz Heating Up: Ohio State University product Tanner Fritz has scored in back-to-back games for the third time this season and will look for his first professional three-game goal streak tomorrow night. The second-year pro currently ranks third on the Sound Tigers in goals (13) and fifth in points (26) this season.
Crossing #100: New York Islanders prospect Kyle Burroughs is scheduled to play his 100th professional game this Saturday against Providence. The second-year defenseman scored his first goal of the season last Saturday and is now on a team-best three-game point streak (one goal, two assists). In addition, Burroughs is second among Sound Tigers' defensemen with 11 assists this year. He has 29 points (four goals, 25 assists) in 97 pro games since his debut on Apr. 1, 2014 against Springfield.
Commanding the Crease: Veteran goaltender Jaroslav Halak has started six of Bridgeport's last eight games dating back to Jan. 20. During that span, the 31-year-old is 6-0-0 with a 1.95 goals-against-average and .927 save percentage. Halak, a 2015 NHL All-Star, has also allowed just two goals or less in each of his last four starts.
Quick Hits: Steve Bernier is tied for third in the league with nine power-play goals and ranks fifth in shooting percentage (25.4-percent)… Travis St. Denis leads the Sound Tigers with four game-winning goals, which also places him in a tie for the league lead among rookies… Devon Toews is tied for second among AHL rookies with 23 assists and tied for 12th among league defensemen with 27 points… The Sound Tigers are 22-4-0-0 when scoring first this season.