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The Bridgeport Report: Week 3

Bridgeport improved to 4-3-0-0 this season

by Alan Fuehring AlanFuehring / Bridgeport Sound Tigers

From Casey Cizikas to Brock Nelson, many current Islanders got their start with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the next crop of Islanders are currently plying their trade in Connecticut. Stay on top of all things Bridgeport with the The Bridgeport Report - put together by Sound Tigers play-by-play voice Alan Fuehring. 

Bridgeport: 4-3-0-0, 3rd in Atlantic Division, 5th in Eastern Conference

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (4-3-0-0) earned four points in a trio of games last weekend, lifting the club into a tie for fifth place in the AHL's Eastern Conference. The Sound Tigers scored five goals both Friday and Saturday against the Springfield Thunderbirds and Lehigh Valley Phantoms respectively, but came up short to the Thunderbirds on Sunday.

Bridgeport opened its first three-game series of the season on Friday with a 5-1 victory over Springfield at MassMutual Center. Veteran forward Steve Bernier notched two points (one goal, one assist) in his Sound Tigers debut, while Christopher Gibson made 27 saves and only allowed a 5-on-3 power-play tally in the final three minutes of the third period. Bracken Kearns, Carter Verhaeghe, Michael Dal Colle and Kellen Jones also recorded goals in the win.

Twenty-four hours later, Kearns scored twice and Josh Ho-Sang earned his first professional goal to guide Bridgeport to a 5-4 win over Lehigh Valley at Webster Bank Arena. Dal Colle and Connor Jones also lit the lamp on Philadelphia Flyers prospect Alex Lyon, while Gibson (4-0-0-0) stopped 23 shots to earn the win for the fourth time in as many starts. Kearns (2g), Ho-Sang (1g, 1a), Dal Colle (1g, 1a) and Jon Landry (2a) all finished the game with multiple points. It was the first professional multi-point performance for Dal Colle and Ho-Sang.  

The Sound Tigers fell short of the weekend sweep on Sunday with a 2-0 setback to Springfield at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport peppered Reto Berra with 28 shots, but the visiting goaltender stopped every one of them to put the Thunderbirds up 2-1-0-0 in the season series. In addition, Juho Lammikko scored the eventual game-winning goal midway through the first period, while the Sound Tigers penalty kill was impressive going 5-for-5 and stopping two separate 5-on-3 attacks.
Bridgeport has not lost back-to-back games this season.

The Week Ahead
Bridgeport vs. Albany Devils (6-2-0-0) - Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 11 a.m.

Bridgeport at Hartford Wolf Pack (3-4-0-0) - Friday, Nov. 4 at 7:15 p.m.

Bridgeport vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (5-1-1-0) - Saturday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.

News and Notes
Tomorrow's game is one of only three this season that will begin before noon. Bridgeport will face Toronto on the road March 2nd (11 a.m.) and Springfield at home April 4th (11 a.m.). Last season, the Sound Tigers went 1-1-0-0 in morning games including a 5-2 victory over Providence in their latest on March 29, 2016. Christopher Gibson earned the win with 31 saves that morning, while the Sound Tigers put up an impressive 46 shots offensively. 

Gibson Stays Perfect: Fourth-year netminder Christopher Gibson has allowed just eight goals through his first four starts, helping him to a 4-0-0-0 record to begin the year - tied for second among AHL goaltenders. In fact, Gibson has won six straight AHL games dating back to March 29th (6-0-0-0), with a 2.00 goals-against-average and .935 save percentage during that span. The 23-year-old is tied for eighth on Bridgeport's all-time wins list with 23 career victories, even with Mike Morrison (2007-08). He made 42 appearances with the Sound Tigers last season.

Top of the Leaderboard: Veteran center Bracken Kearns has earned multiple points in three of his last five games and leads the Sound Tigers in goals (4), points (8) and multi-point games (3) this season. The 12th-year pro paced the team in each of those categories last season, along with assists and plus-minus. He is expected to play his 600th AHL game on Friday at Hartford. Kearns currently has 352 points (143g, 209a) to his credit in the AHL with the Cleveland Barons, Milwaukee Admirals, Rockford IceHogs, Norfolk Admirals, San Antonio Rampage, Worcester Sharks and Sound Tigers.  

Quick Hits: Adam Pelech is scheduled to make his 100th AHL appearance Wednesday... Andrew Rowe is one helper away from his 150th professional assist... Two of Michael Dal Colle's three pro goals have stood as game-winners... Scott Mayfield leads the Sound Tigers with 20 shots, but is still looking for his first goal of the season... Bridgeport has not been outshot in each of its last five outings... The Sound Tigers are 2-0-0-0 following a loss this season... Wednesday's game will be the team's first outside of the Atlantic Division this season.

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