Sound Tigers Push Home Points Streak to 13 GamesDec 15, 2018
The Bridgeport Islanders (16-8-3-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, extended their unbeaten in regulation streak at home to 13 straight games (10-0-2-1) with a 5-3 win against the Springfield Thunderbirds (13-8-2-3) at Webster Bank Arena on Saturday. Michael Dal Colle scored twice - his fourth and fifth goals of the weekend – as the Sound Tigers' points streak at home tied a franchise record.
Kieffer Bellows and Travis St. Denis also scored to snap goal draughts of at least 12 games, while Stephen Gionta added an empty-net, shorthanded tally late in the third period.
The Sound Tigers have won back-to-back games this weekend and continue to sit second in the Atlantic Division with 36 points in 28 games. Their 13-game points streak at home tied the club's record that was previously set from Oct. 17, 2003 - Dec. 14, 2003.
Bridgeport opened the scoring for the fifth consecutive contest when Dal Colle notched his fourth goal in the last two games at 4:52 of the first period. Otto Koivula chopped a puck out to center and sprung a two-on-one rush for Tanner Fritz and Dal Colle. Fritz chased it down on the right wing and centered a pass to a wide-open Dal Colle, where he made a nifty, right-to-left move to fake out goaltender Sam Montembeault and finish on the forehand.
While no penalties were called in the first, Connor Jones and Gionta took consecutive penalties just nine seconds apart early in the second frame. On Springfield's extended five-on-three power-play opportunity, Jeremy Smith (8-5-1) stood tall in the crease and backstopped a successful penalty kill to keep it 1-0.
Smith continued his stellar play throughout the second period, stopping 13 of 14 shots directed his way as Springfield sustained the bulk of the offensive-zone possession. However, at the 15:18 mark, the Thunderbirds tied it at 1-1 when Mike Sislo mishandled the puck in front of his net and inadvertently put it past Smith on a clearing attempt. Matt Mangene was credited with his second goal of the season, both against the Sound Tigers.
A little more than a minute later, Bridgeport reclaimed its lead when Dal Colle scored his second of the night and fifth consecutive Sound Tigers goal, dating back to Friday's win at Providence, in which he potted his first professional hat trick. Similar to his first marker of the night, Fritz made another crisp cross-ice feed to find Dal Colle at the top of the right circle before he froze a defenseman with a faked shot, created space, and ripped a wrister beneath Montembeault's blocker at 16:25.
Twenty-eight seconds later, Kieffer Bellows joined the scoring and made it 3-1 at the 16:53 mark. Jones chipped a puck through the neutral zone to launch Bellows on a partial breakaway, where he skated to the left circle and picked the short-side corner for his seventh goal of the season and first since Nov. 11.
The Sound Tigers continued to create, and convert, on offensive opportunities in the third period when St. Denis made it a 4-1 with his seventh tally of the season. Following a dump-in deep into the offensive zone, Scott Eansor out-muscled everyone below the goal line and won a hard-fought puck battle. He fed St. Denis near the left hash marks before the third-year forward wired a one-timer by Montembeault's left ear at 9:15. St. Denis' goal was his first since Nov. 10.
More than seven minutes later, St. Denis brought the crowd back to its feet and fought Thomas Schemitsch at center ice, but took an additional two-minute penalty for roughing, which put Springfield on the power play. It turned into a two-man advantage as the T-Birds also pulled Montembeault to make it six-on-four, allowing Mangene room to fire a shot from the point that deflected off a body in front. It redirected past Smith to make it 4-2 at 18:30 of the third period.
In the final minute of play, Gionta sent a clearing attempt from his own high slot into an empty cage the other way, extending Bridgeport's lead to 5-2. The Thunderbirds answered with the game's final tally (with just 2.8 seconds left) when Josh Brown wristed a shot from the point that found twine for his first of the season.
The Sound Tigers went 0-for-1 on the power play and 3-for-5 on the penalty kill. Smith stopped 32 of 35 shots for his eighth win of the season – tied with Christopher Gibson for the team league.
Holiday Gift Weekend: The Sound Tigers return to Webster Bank Arena tomorrow afternoon to wrap up Holiday Gift Weekend. Bridgeport will host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 3 p.m. matinee. With the purchase of a ticket, you're automatically entered to win some of the biggest prize giveaways this season like a VIP suite to an upcoming game, Sound Tigers apparel, team signed items, or goodies from our local partners. In addition, take pictures with Santa and Ms. Claus during each game. Great seats are on sale now!
Packed Promotional Lineup: The Sound Tigers will 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 be elated for the addition of Hockey Weekend in Connecticut (Feb. 23-24).
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]