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The Bridgeport Report: Week 7

The Sound Tigers have won three straight games

by Alan Fuehring AlanFuehring / New York Islanders

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (9-7-0-0), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, won each of their three games last week and will go for their fourth straight victory this Friday against the Hartford Wolf Pack. Second-year defenseman Devon Toews scored in all three contests (four goals total) as Bridgeport defeated a trio of Atlantic Division opponents.

On Friday, the Sound Tigers went beyond regulation for the first time this season and edged the Wolf Pack in overtime, 2-1, at the XL Center. Toews scored both goals for Bridgeport, including the game-winning tally with just 3.4 seconds left in overtime, and Christopher Gibson backstopped the effort with a season-best 35 saves.

Aside from Toews, two other Quinnipiac University products contributed to last week's success as Travis St. Denis and Connor Jones also scored in Saturday's 5-2 win against the Charlotte Checkers at Webster Bank Arena. St. Denis netted a pair of goals in the victory and Jones' tally stood as the game-winner, while Gibson made 14 saves to post his fifth win in six starts. It was Bridgeport's first ever win against Charlotte at home.

The Sound Tigers capped a busy week on Sunday by grinding out a 2-1 victory against the Springfield Thunderbirds and matching their longest win streak of the season. Toews and Ross Johnston each collected a goal and Kristers Gudlevskis faced a season-high 32 shots. He nearly blanked Springfield by stopping all 31 shots he saw until allowing a power-play goal in the final four seconds of the contest.

The Sound Tigers are off until Friday when they open a three-game weekend series against the Wolf Pack, Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Hershey Bears. Friday's 7 p.m. matchup against Hartford will take place at Webster Bank Arena before the team travels to Pennsylvania to open a three-game road trip. Fans can follow all of the upcoming action online through the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHL Live, beginning with the pre-game show 15 minutes prior to each listed start time.


The week ahead:

Friday, Nov. 24 vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (7 p.m.): The Sound Tigers return from their short Thanksgiving break by hosting Hartford for the third time this season on Friday. It's Hockey and Hops beginning with a pre-game craft beer tasting party at 5 p.m. presented by Two Roads Brewing Company, Dichello Distributors, Stony Creek Brewery, Blackhog and Brewport. A special $30 ticket package includes entry to the game, access to the beer tasting and a Sound Tigers tasting glass. This package must be purchased in advance. For more info and to order this special package, call 203-345-2300 Option 7 or click here to ORDER HOCKEY AND HOPS PACKAGE.

Saturday, Nov. 25 at Lehigh Valley Phantoms (7:05 p.m.): The Sound Tigers travel to Allentown, Penn. for the second time this season on Saturday and will look for their fifth straight victory on the road. Bridgeport is 0-2-0-0 against Lehigh Valley this year following a 4-2 loss at home Nov. 8.

Sunday, Nov. 26 at Hershey Bears (5 p.m.): Bridgeport faces Hershey for the first time this season on Sunday after going 5-3-0-0 against the Bears a year ago. The Sound Tigers went 2-2-0-0 at GIANT Center in 2016-17.


News and notes:   
  
Toews Takes Over: Devon Toews
has scored in three consecutive games, which is a career-high for the second-year defenseman and also matches a season-long streak for the Sound Tigers. The 23-year-old now has four goals in 16 games this season and currently ranks second on the team with 11 points. He had five goals all of last year. In addition, Toews leads all AHL defensemen in shots (52), is tied for second among defensemen in game-winning goals (two) and is tied for sixth among league blue-liners in points. 

Milestone Men: A pair of Sound Tigers crossed a professional milestone in Sunday's win against Springfield as eighth-year defenseman Kane Lafranchise played his 400th pro game and fourth-year forward Connor Jones made his 200th pro appearance. Lafranchise has 174 points (23 goals, 151 assists) during that span between the AHL and ECHL, highlighted by an AHL career-best 21 points (five goals, 16 assists) and plus-17 rating with Bridgeport last year. Jones has 72 points (27 goals, 45 assists) between the ECHL, AHL and NHL, including four games with the New York Islanders in 2016-17. Speaking of milestones, Ben Holmstrom is seven games from his 500th as a pro, Tanner Fritz is four games from his 100th in the AHL and Michael Dal Colle is seven games from his 100th pro appearance. 

Tweet from @TheSoundTigers: ICYMI, @roscojohnston & @DevonToews6 both scored in today's 2-1 win!Game Highlights ������ pic.twitter.com/mGRkdzFLOr

King of the Crease: Fifth-year goaltender Christopher Gibson has won two straight games and five of his last six, and hasn't allowed more than two goals in any of those outings. That success has lowered Gibson's goals-against-average to just 2.12, which ranks sixth in the AHL. In addition, Gibson has won 30 games during his Sound Tigers career and currently sits seventh on the team's all-time wins list, five behind Anders Nilsson (2011-14).

Quick hits: Devon Toews has six points (four goals, two assists) in four games dating back to Nov. 11… Travis St. Denis (two goals, two assists) and Tanner Fritz (four assists) are each on three-game point streaks… The Sound Tigers have scored the first goal and outshot their opponents in 12 of 16 games this season… Sebastian Aho is tied for first among AHL defensemen with six goals… Ross Johnston is third in the league with 53 penalty minutes... Bridgeport is nearing the end of its streak of 14 straight games against division opponents.


Team leaders:

Goals: Scott Eansor, Steve Bernier (7)
Assists: Tanner Fritz (13)
Points: Tanner Fritz (16)
Plus/minus: Kyle Burroughs (+13)
Penalty minutes: Ross Johnston (53)
Power-play goals: Scott Eansor, Sebastian Aho, Steve Bernier (2)
Shots: Casey Bailey, Devon Toews (52

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