The Bridgeport Report: Week 22

The Bridgeport Report: Week 22

Mar 4, 2020

The Bridgeport Islanders (20-32-5-2), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, faced their seventh “three-in-three” of the season last weekend with three games in as many days against teams all vying for a playoff spot. Bridgeport showed how powerful its offense can be in a come-from-behind 6-3 win against the Springfield Thunderbirds on Friday, but fell in its next two matchups against the Hartford Wolf Pack and Binghamton Devils.


Bridgeport remains eighth in the Atlantic Division standings (47 points) with 17 games left in the regular season.


The Sound Tigers scored a season-high four goals in the second period on Friday as part of a comeback win against Springfield on the road. Kieffer Bellows scored twice in his first game back from Long Island and Thomas Hickey earned his first three points of the season (all assists) to help the effort. Christopher Gibson made 37 saves on 40 shots between the pipes.


Twenty-four hours later, the Sound Tigers hosted their in-state rival in front of more than 6,000 fans on Saturday. Nick Schilkey scored his ninth goal of the season to tie the game in the second period, but Tim Gettinger’s two goals and an empty netter from Steven Fogarty dropped Bridgeport to a 3-1 loss. It was Hartford’s fourth straight win in the season series.


Bridgeport ended its weekend with a 1-0 setback to Binghamton on Sunday. Two newcomers to the Devils led the way, as Zane McIntyre stopped all 36 shots for a shutout in his Binghamton debut and Janne Kuokkanen scored the game’s only goal on a five-on-three power play.


The Sound Tigers hit the road for three more contests this weekend, featuring matchups against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Fans can follow all of the live action via the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHLTV, beginning with the pre-game show 15 minutes prior to each listed start time.


The week ahead:


Friday, Mar. 6 at Lehigh Valley Phantoms (7:05 p.m.): The Sound Tigers make their first of two trips to Allentown, Penn. on the weekend, meeting the team directly ahead of them in Atlantic Division standings. The Phantoms have won three of the previous four matchups this season, defeating Bridgeport 8-5 most recently on Feb. 19 at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport’s suffered a 3-2 overtime loss in its only trip to PPL Center this season on Feb. 14.


Saturday, Mar. 7 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (7:05 p.m.): Saturday marks the Sound Tigers’ final trip to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza and the first trip there since Feb. 1. The Sound Tigers have won the last three games against the Penguins and haven’t allowed more than two goals since November. Bridgeport is 3-1-0-1 in the series.


Sunday, Mar. 8 at Lehigh Valley (3:05 p.m.): Bridgeport makes its final trip to PPL Center on Sunday for a rematch against the Phantoms. Lehigh Valley has created a solid home record in Allentown, going 17-7-1-3.    


News and Notes:


Deadline Deal: The Sound Tigers added forwards Terry Broadhurst and Cedric Lacroix from the Charlotte Checkers on Monday for Ryan Bourque as the AHL’s trade deadline passed at 3 p.m. ET. Broadhurst is in his eighth professional season and had seven assists in 29 games with the Checkers earlier this year. Lacroix is a second-year pro who played just 11 games with Charlotte, but also recorded 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 34 games with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (ECHL) this season. Both players are expected to join the Sound Tigers this week.


Schmaltz Makes Debut: The New York Islanders acquired defenseman Jordan Schmaltz from the Toronto Maple Leafs at the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 24 in exchange for Matt Lorito. Schmaltz, a fifth-year pro, had 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in 37 games with the Toronto Marlies this season and has 106 points (17 goals, 89 assists) in 219 career AHL games spanning five seasons with Toronto, Bridgeport, San Antonio and Chicago. He joined the Sound Tigers last week and played two games over the weekend, including his Bridgeport debut on Saturday against Hartford.


No Blue-Line Blues: The Sound Tigers are one of only four teams in the AHL to be led in scoring by a defenseman. Sebastian Aho paces the club with 27 points and 25 assists, and Parker Wotherspoon is third on the team with 24 points following his first three-point outing of the season. Grant Hutton leads Bridgeport defensemen with six goals.


Quick Hits: Seth Helgeson is second among AHL defensemen with 95 penalty minutes… Friday’s game at Springfield was just the third time Bridgeport has won a game when trailing after the first period… Oliver Wahlstrom is third among AHL rookies in shootout percentage (2-for-3, 66.7%).


Team Leaders:

Goals: Kieffer Bellows (18)

Assists: Sebastian Aho (25)

Points: Sebastian Aho (27)

Plus/Minus: Thomas Hickey (+3)

Penalty Minutes: Seth Helgeson (95)

Power Play Goals: Otto Koivula* (4)

Shots: Kieffer Bellows (128)

Wins: Jared Coreau (10)


* = Currently playing with the New York Islanders


Affiliate Report:

The New York Islanders’ (35-22-8) winless streak reached four games as they fell 6-2 to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night at Barclays Center. Former Sound Tigers Brock Nelson and Ryan Pulock each scored, but it wasn’t enough to erase a 4-0 deficit through 40 minutes. The loss dropped the Isles to 0-2-2 in their last four games, but the team remains in the Eastern Conference’s first wild card position. The Islanders collected points in a pair of overtime setbacks to the New York Rangers (Feb. 26) and St. Louis Blues (Thursday) earlier in the week.


The Worcester Railers (19-35-4-0) are coming off of a three-in-three weekend of their own, all at home last Friday through Sunday. The Railers began the weekend with a 4-2 win against the Brampton Beast, helped by former Sound Tiger Ryan MacKinnon’s third goal of the season. Over the next two days, the Railers fell 3-1 to the South Carolina Stingrays and 4-1 to the Reading Royals.

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