UPDATE: Connor Jones signs a one-year, two-way NHL/AHL deal with the Islanders
UPDATE: Bracken Kearns was recalled by the Islanders on Wednesday morning
Bridgeport: 33-16-1-1 (64 points), 3rd in the Atlantic Division, 3rd in Eastern Conference
The white-hot Bridgeport Sound Tigers (33-16-1-1) continued on their path as the hottest team in the Eastern Conference by breaking out their brooms for the second straight weekend. Bridgeport has won seven consecutive games and 15 of its last 16 overall, improving to third place in the Atlantic Division standings.
Josh Ho-Sang and Michael Dal Colle headlined the week as the Sound Tigers defeated the Rochester Americans, Albany Devils and Hershey Bears. Ho-Sang logged an impressive eight points (three goals, five assists) in three games, while Dal Colle added five points (one goal, four assists).
Both rookies enjoyed career nights on Friday as the Sound Tigers defeated Rochester, 5-2, in their first trip to Blue Cross Arena this season. Ho-Sang was electric with a career-high four points (one goal, three assists) and Dal Colle chipped in a career-best three points (one goal, two assists). Kellen Jones, Josh Winquist and Carter Verhaeghe also found the back of the net. Between the pipes, Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves en route to his 11th straight victory, the first time he's won that many games consecutively since setting a New York Islanders franchise record in 2014.
Less than 16 hours later, the Sound Tigers scored twice in the second period and held on late for a 3-2 win over Albany at the Times Union Center on Saturday afternoon. Ho-Sang, Verhaeghe and Jon Landry all scored even-strength goals as Bridgeport won its fifth straight contest on the road. In net, Eamon McAdam made 31 saves in his return to the lineup since a 43-day stint with the Missouri Mavericks (ECHL).
The Sound Tigers capped their weekend sweep on Sunday with a 5-1 victory over Hershey at Webster Bank Arena. Halak (13-1-2) extended his personal win streak to 12 games, while Ho-Sang and Verhaeghe each scored for the third straight day. Travis St. Denis, Bracken Kearns and Kyle Burroughs also beat goaltender Vitek Vanecek in the victory. The Sound Tigers have now won 10 of their last 11 games at Webster Bank Arena.
Bridgeport begins its third consecutive three-game series on Friday with a 7:05 p.m. puck drop at Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. It will be the seventh meeting this season between the Sound Tigers and Bruins (Bridgeport leads 5-1-0-0). From there, the series shifts back home for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader against Providence and Hershey respectively. The Sound Tigers are 8-3-0-0 against those teams combined this season. Follow all of the live action via the team's online broadcast at www.ahllive.com, beginning with the pre-game show 15 minutes before puck drop.
The week ahead:
Bridgeport at Providence Bruins (30-14-5-4) - Friday, Feb. 24 at 7:05 p.m.
*Bridgeport vs. Providence Bruins (26-16-8-3) - Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.
**Bridgeport vs. Hershey Bears (26-16-8-3) - Sunday, Feb. 19 at 3 p.m.
News and Notes:
High "Five": Bridgeport's offense has ignited over the last two weeks, scoring five goals in four of its last five games. In addition, the Sound Tigers have outscored opponents 23-13 over that span, including 13-5 last weekend alone. Bridgeport has recorded five or more goals (in a game) 14 times this season. The club's season-high was a six-goal effort on Dec. 14, an 8-6 loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at the PPL Center.
First Round Phenoms: Josh Ho-Sang, the Islanders' 28th overall pick in 2014, is coming off the best weekend of his professional career. He amassed eight points (three goals, five assists) in three games and has climbed to second on the Sound Tigers' roster in scoring with 33 points this season. He is also tied with rookie Devon Toews for the team-lead in assists (24), which is tied for third among all AHL rookies. In addition, the Islanders' fifth overall pick that year, Michael Dal Colle, is currently on a career-best six-game point streak (two goals, six assists) dating back to Feb. 10.
Leading the Way: Veteran forward Bracken Kearns recorded his team-leading 18th goal of the season on Sunday when he redirected a Ryan Pulock slap shot from the blue line. That tally stood as the game-winner against Hershey, giving Bridgeport's alternate captain a team-best five game-winning goals as well. In addition, Kearns leads the Sound Tigers in points (40) and is just two assists (22) off the team lead. The 35-year-old center currently sits at 497 pro points overall.
From the Start: The Sound Tigers have scored first in nine straight games - every contest during the month of February. Bridgeport is 24-4-0-0 when logging the first goal this season and 8-1-0-0 in February contests.
Quick Hits: Carter Verhaeghe is on a five-game goal-scoring streak (six goals total during that span), the longest active streak in the AHL… With nine points (three goals, six assists) in his last six games, Tanner Fritz has moved into a tie for third on the Sound Tigers' roster.