Sound Tigers Begin 2019 Tonight in RochesterJan 2, 2019
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Islanders (21-9-4-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, open the new year and continue their season-long, six-game road trip tonight with a 7:05 p.m. matchup against the Rochester Americans (20-11-2-0) at Blue Cross Arena. The Sound Tigers go for their fourth straight win following a three-game sweep of Atlantic Division opponents last week. On Saturday, Bridgeport defeated the Hartford Wolf Pack for the second time in three days with a 3-2 overtime victory at the XL Center. Travis St. Denis scored the game-winner with 33.8 seconds left in the extra session, while Otto Koivula and Kieffer Bellows also potted regulation goals. Between the pipes, Jeremy Smith (11-5-1) earned his fourth straight win with 31 saves. It pushed the Sound Tigers above .500 on the road for the first time this season.
TIGERS VS. AMERKS
Tonight's game features the third of four meetings between the Sound Tigers and Amerks this season, and the first of two at Blue Cross Arena. The Amerks won the first two matchups at Webster Bank Arena in October, including a 3-2 overtime win on Oct. 14 in their last tilt. Rochester forward Victor Olofsson led all players with four points (two goals, two assists) that weekend, helping him win CCM/AHL Player of the Week honors. Travis St. Denis leads Bridgeport against Rochester this season with two goals.
VIEW FROM ROCHESTER
Chris Taylor's club is just 5-5-0-0 over its last 10 games, but the Amerks are still tied with Syracuse for the top spot in the North Division with 42 points. Last time out, Rochester suffered a 4-3 setback to Utica on Saturday despite goals from C.J. Smith, Eric Cornel, and Justin Bailey, and 31 saves from Adam Wilcox. Smith and Victor Olofsson lead the Americans with 29 points this season, but Rochester is without Smith tonight as the 2018 AHL All-Star was recalled by the Buffalo Sabres on New Year's Eve and faced the Islanders on Monday. Zach Redmond leads Rochester, and all AHL defensemen, with 15 goals and is second among league defensemen with 27 points.
ST. DENIS COMING IN CLUTCH
Third-year forward Travis St. Denis pushed the Sound Tigers above .500 on the road for the first time this season when he scored the overtime winner at the 4:26 mark on Saturday. It was his team-leading second OT winner this season and his third game-winning goal overall, tied with Chris Bourque and Steve Bernier. In addition, it was St. Denis' fourth career overtime-winning goal for Bridgeport, which is second-most in team history. The Quinnipiac University product is tied for third on the Sound Tigers in goals this season (nine) and tied for sixth in points (19).
START ME UP
The Sound Tigers struck first in all three games last week and have now recorded the opening goal in 11 of their last 12 outings. In fact, Bridgeport has scored first 22 times this season (tied for second-most in the AHL) and continues to be one of the league's strongest teams early in games. The club's 41 first-period goals are tied for second in the AHL and the Sound Tigers are currently 18-2-1-1 when scoring first.
KOIVULA KEEPS COLLECTING
New York Islanders' 2016 fourth-round pick Otto Koivula has showed no signs of slowing down in his first pro season in North America. The Nokia, Finland native chipped in his eighth and ninth goals of the season last week and is up to fifth on the team in scoring (21 points in 31 games). He is third on the team with seven multi-point games and the Sound Tigers are 7-1-0-0 when he scores a goal. Koivula, the Sound Tigers' youngest player at 20-years-old, also leads the team with a plus-14 rating and is fourth among all AHL rookies in that department.
Jeremy Smith went 6-1-0 with a 2.12 goals-against-average during seven starts in December and is now 11th in the AHL with a 2.62 goals-against-average this season… Koivula is tied for 15th among league rookies with 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists)… Sebastian Aho is tied for fourth among AHL defensemen with 23 points (three goals, 20 assists)… Aho is third among blue-liners in assists… Steve Bernier is tied for third in the AHL with eight power-play goals and fourth in shooting percentage (27.9%)… Bridgeport is 14-0-0-0 when scoring at least four goals in a game… Michael Dal Colle notched his first NHL point with an assist at Toronto on Saturday (4-0 win).
NHL: New York Islanders (21-13-4): Next: Tomorrow vs. Chicago Blackhawks (7:30 p.m. ET)
ECHL: Worcester Railers (13-14-3-2): Next: Friday at South Carolina Stingrays (7:05 p.m. ET)
Next Home Game: The Sound Tigers return to Webster Bank Arena on Saturday, Jan. 12 for Military Appreciation Night against the Hartford Wolf Pack, presented by the Better Business Bureau Serving Connecticut. The first 2,000 fans will receive a camouflage hat when doors open at 6 p.m. and fans are encouraged to look into a $25 ticket package (tickets at the box office are regularly $31 in this seating area) that includes a ticket to the game and a military themed Sound Tigers t-shirt! A portion of this ticket package will also be donated to the BBB Foundation to support scholarships for children of military members from Connecticut.
Packed Promotional Lineup: The Sound Tigers boast one of their most extensive and wide-ranging promotional schedules ever for the 2018-19 season. The fan-friendly calendar includes the return of popular themes like Hockey and Hops (Mar. 17), Military Appreciation (Jan. 12), Star Wars Night (Jan. 19) and Princess Night (Mar. 30). Regional hockey fans will also be elated for the addition of Hockey Weekend in Connecticut (Feb. 23-24). View the full 2018-19 promotional schedule.
For additional details or to reserve a group outing for any giveaway or theme night, please call the Sound Tigers' front office at (203) 345-2300 ext 7.
About the Bridgeport Islanders
Founded in 2001, the Bridgeport Islanders Hockey Club is the top minor league affiliate of the New York Islanders. Don't miss your chance to take part in the family fun entertainment happening every home game at Webster Bank Arena. For further information on ticket or sponsorship opportunities, call our office at (203) 345-2300 or e-mail [email protected]