Sound Tigers Face Penguins at 10:30 a.m.Jan 23, 2019
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Islanders (23-15-4-2), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (20-18-4-1) in their third of four morning games this season, facing off at 10:30 a.m. today at Webster Bank Arena. The Sound Tigers are coming off of a 4-1 loss to the Hershey Bears on Monday, in which Otto Koivula converted on the power play late in the first period, but Hershey finished the game with four unanswered goals. It extended Bridgeport's winless in regulation streak to 10 games (3-6-0-1) and dropped the club to 2-6-0-1 since the calendar flipped to 2019.
TIGERS VS. PENGUINS
Today's game marks the fifth of eight meetings between the Sound Tigers and Penguins this season, and the third of four in Connecticut. Each team has won two of the first four matchups, but Bridgeport has points in three of the four following a 4-3 overtime loss in their last tilt on Dec. 19 at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Michael Dal Colle, Mitch Vande Sompel and Travis St. Denis each scored that night, while former Sound Tiger Kevin Czuczman won it for the Penguins at 2:24 of overtime. Ethan Prow and Sam Lafferty lead all players in the season series with six points in six games.
VIEW FROM WILKES-BARRE
The Penguins earned a 2-1 overtime victory against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Monday afternoon, led by Ethan Prow's game-winning goal with just one minute left in the extra session. It was Prow's 12th goal of the season, which moves him into a tie for second place among all AHL defensemen and into sixth place among blue-liners in points (30). Despite the victory, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is winless in regulation in four straight games and has slipped back to sixth place in the Atlantic Division standings, three points out of a playoff spot. Teddy Blueger leads the team in scoring with 35 points (18 goals, 17 assists) in 43 games and is currently on a three-game point streak. Blueger also has points in eight of his last nine games overall.
Tanner Fritz scored twice in Charlotte last Wednesday and added an assist on Saturday, and now has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his last nine games. The 27-year-old forward is tied for fifth on the Sound Tigers in points (25), fourth in helpers (17) and third in multi-point games (eight), despite playing just 37 AHL games due to call-ups with the Islanders. Fritz has one assist in four NHL games this season. With a helper on Saturday, Fritz also moved into ninth place on Bridgeport's all-time assists list (78).
RISE AND SHINE
Today's game is the Sound Tigers "Winter Fun" school-day contest, presented by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. It is a highly-popular event that will draw thousands of local students and children from various youth organizations. The Sound Tigers are 14-11-2-1 all-time when the puck drops before noon and are currently 1-0-1-0 in morning games this season. Bridgeport notched a 7-3 win against Binghamton on Nov. 7 and suffered a 4-3 overtime loss in Hartford on Nov. 14.
FREE HOCKEY FRENZY
Saturday's win against Providence marked the 15th time Bridgeport had gone to overtime this season - tied for the most times in the AHL with Iowa, Milwaukee and Rockford. It was also the club's ninth win beyond regulation - most in the league. The Sound Tigers have been no strangers to close games this season and the team continues to lead the AHL in one-goal outcomes with 27 (17-4-4-2).
Bridgeport has been outshot in 19 straight games, dating back to Dec. 5...Chris Bourque doesn't have a goal in his last 13 games - his longest such streak with the Sound Tigers... Mitch Vande Sompel played his 100th pro game on Monday... Kyle Burroughs played his 224th contest with Bridgeport last Wednesday, passing Scott Mayfield for 10th place on the team's all-time games played list... Christopher Gibson won his 57th game with the Sound Tigers on Saturday, passing Rick DiPietro for third place on the team's all-time wins list... Josh Ho-Sang celebrated his 23rd birthday yesterday... Sebastian Aho is tied for 13th among league rookies with 25 points (three goals, 22 assists) in 35 games this season.
NHL: New York Islanders (29-15-5): Next: Friday, Feb. 1 vs. Tampa Bay (7 p.m. ET)
ECHL: Worcester Railers (17-17-3-2): Next: Friday at Adirondack (7 p.m. ET)