Sebastian Aho scored four times last weekend and goaltenders Christopher Gibson and Kristers Gudlevskis each recorded a shutout as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (6-5-0-0), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, swept a three-game series against the Providence Bruins and Springfield Thunderbirds.
The Sound Tigers outscored their opponents 10-2 over the weekend, including Aho's three-goal performance on Sunday, which put the 21-year-old into Bridgeport's record books as the first Sound Tigers defenseman to ever record a hat trick. It was also the first time Bridgeport has registered a hat trick against the Bruins and team's first overall since Alan Quine did it on April 2, 2016.
On Friday, Aho scored the game's only goal in the opening 10 minutes and Gibson made 27 saves for his fifth pro shutout as Bridgeport blanked Providence, 1-0, at Dunkin' Donuts Center. Twenty-four hours later, the Sound Tigers returned home and defeated the Thunderbirds 3-2. Casey Bailey's first goal of the season held up as the game-winner, while Josh Ho-Sang and Tanner Fritz (one goal, one assist) also found the back of the net on Saturday. Between the pipes, Gibson stopped 24 shots and earned his third straight victory. Springfield's only two goals came within a span of 1:18 in the third period.
The Sound Tigers rolled to their first three-game win streak of the season on Sunday when Aho made history and Gudlevskis stopped all 31 shots he faced in a 6-0 victory against the Bruins. It was Gudlevskis' 11th professional shutout and his first since Nov. 29, 2015 when he blanked Bridgeport with the Syracuse Crunch, also a 31-save effort. Meanwhile, John Stevens (first professional goal), Steve Bernier and Mitch Vande Sompel also beat Providence goaltender Zane McIntyre, who entered the contest with the third best goals-against-average in the AHL (1.81). It was the Sound Tigers biggest win of the season and the second time they have scored six goals in a game this year.
Bridgeport returns to action this Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. with its annual Cool Fun 101 school-day game at Webster Bank Arena, and the first of three contests before noon this season. The Sound Tigers will host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the mid-week morning affair before facing the Hartford Wolf Pack this Saturday at 7 p.m. for DC Comics presents Justice League Night! Great seats for both games are on sale now and fans can also follow all of the upcoming action online through the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHL Live.
The week ahead:
Wednesday, Nov. 8 vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (10:30 a.m.): The Sound Tigers will battle the Phantoms for the second time this season and the first of four matchups in Bridgeport, Conn. Lehigh Valley leads the season series 1-0-0-0 following a 5-2 win on Oct. 21, in which Steve Bernier and Ben Holmstrom scored for the Sound Tigers.
Saturday, Nov. 11 vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (7 p.m.): The Sound Tigers celebrate DC Comic presents Justice League Night when they host Hartford this Saturday. The first 2,500 fans will receive a light-up trident when doors open at 6 p.m. and Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the Joker will all be in attendance for pictures and autographs. In addition, take advantage of limited ticket packages that include game access, food and beverage concession specials, a Justice League souvenir figurine, and early entry opportunities starting at $25. For more info and to order this special package, call 203.345.2300 Option 7. ORDER JUSTICE LEAGUE PACKAGE.
News and notes:
Killing it on the kill: The Sound Tigers penalty kill has been sensational over the last two weeks, and it was especially strong over the weekend. Bridgeport's penalty kill went 18-for-18 during its latest three-game series and is now 24-for-25 dating back to Oct. 27. The Sound Tigers penalty kill has climbed to 10th in the AHL overall (85.2%) and sixth on the road (89.7%).
Captains of the Crease: Most teams would envy the Sound Tigers' goaltending tandem of Christopher Gibson and Kristers Gudlevskis, and the duo did not disappoint in three games last weekend. The pair combined to make 82 saves on 84 shots (.976) and earned two shutouts in Providence. For Gibson, he not only improved to 12th in the AHL with a 2.36 goals-against-average, but he did so by recording the second longest shutout streak in team history. He went 158 minutes and 40 seconds without allowing a goal from the first period on Oct. 27 against Hartford to the third frame against Springfield on Saturday. Kevin Poulin holds the team record at 221:54 from 2011-12.
Beginners luck? Not So Much: First-year defenseman Sebastian Aho scored his first career hat trick on Sunday and now has five goals in 10 games this season. Four of his five tallies came at Dunkin' Donuts Center last weekend and two of those were on the power play. The Swedish blue-liner is now tied for the team lead in power-play goals and is also tied for the league lead with three game-winners. In addition, six of the Sound Tigers last 10 goals have been scored by a rookie.
Quick hits: The Sound Tigers have scored the first goal in six consecutive games and eight of their 11 contests so far this season (6-2-0-0)… Bridgeport is one of just four teams that hasn't gone to overtime yet this season, joining Charlotte, Milwaukee and Toronto… The Sound Tigers have outshot their opponents in nine of 11 games this season and all six of the team's victories have come when recording at least 30 shots… John Stevens recorded his first pro goal and first pro fight on Sunday in Providence, just 49 miles from Northeastern University's campus, where he spent each of the last four seasons… Five of Bridgeport's last 10 goals have been scored by defensemen… Wednesday's contest will be the last game Alan Quine is eligible to play during his conditioning loan from the Islanders.
Goals: Scott Eansor (7)
Assists: Tanner Fritz (8)
Points: Tanner Fritz (11)
Plus/minus: Kyle Burroughs (+9)
Penalty minutes: Ross Johnston (47)
Power-play goals: Scott Eansor, Sebastian Aho (2)
Shots: Casey Bailey (36)