Bridgeport finished the last couple weeks of 2012 strong with a 5-1 record. The team is looking to continue playing aggressive and stacking up wins against formidable opponents.
Bridgeport faced off against Albany on Wednesday, December 19 and skated away with a 4-3 victory, largely due to the play of Matt Donovan and Casey Cizikas, who each scored twice. Cizikas was the first to score and give the Sound Tigers the lead, but the Devils answered with two goals of their own, by Mike Sislo and Mattias Tedenby. Donovan and Cizikas both scored in the second period to go up 3-2, but Matt Anderson tied up the score with a power play goal. Donovan’s second goal of the night in the third period proved to be the game-winner, and Bridgeport’s goalie, Kevin Poulin, made a big save while time expired to guarantee a victory.
On Saturday, December 22, the Sound Tigers fell to the Adirondack Phantoms 2-3. Last time these teams faced off, Sound Tigers fell to the Phantoms 1-5 in the midst of their winless streak. Phantoms’ Sean Couturier was too much for the Sound Tigers to contain. He scored a goal and earned two assists, to Matthew Ford and Eric Wellwood, to pull ahead 3-0. The Sound Tigers struggled to score until the third period with goals by Jack Combs and Johan Sundstrom, but it wasn’t enough to even the score and the Phantoms claimed the win.
The Sound Tigers swept the Connecticut Whale in games on Wednesday, December 26 and Thursday, December 27. On Wednesday, the Sound Tigers skated away with a 5-2 victory against their cross-state rivals. Nino Niedereitter was quite productive in the early minutes of the game with two goals for the Sound Tigers. Colin McDonald expanded the lead in the first period with a power play goal. Matt Watkins scored in the second and the Sound Tigers went up 4-0. The Whale’s Marek Hrivik scored to take away Poulin’s shutout, followed quickly by another Whale goal from Blake Parlett. David Ullstrom scored on an empty net to finish the Whale 5-2. He was very productive for the Sound Tigers, also tallying three assists in the game. On Thursday, Bridgeport won again, and Poulin recorded his first shutout of the season with a 3-0 win over the Whale. Bridgeport’s Chad Costello scored his first AHL goal off a deflection from Matt Watkins to take an early lead. Matt Donovan put the puck past Whale goalie Cam Talbot before time expired in the first period to increase the lead 2-0. John Persson ended scoring in the second to give his team a 3-0 victory. Poulin played tremendous with 36 total saves.
On Saturday, December 29, the Sound Tigers took down the Manchester Monarchs 4-1. Early in the first period, Sean Backman created his own scoring opportunity and flipped a shot over Manchester’s goalie to go up 1-0. Tyler Toffoli one timed it past Bridgeport’s Anders Nilsson to tie the game later in the first. Backman broke the tie at the end of the second with a shot from the left side into a wide open net for his second goal of the night. A few moments later, Brandon Defazio took the puck Manchester and found Casey Cizikas who scored with 1:16 left in the middle frame. Nino Niedereitter scored on a power play in the third to go up 4-1.
It must have been the orange tuxedo jerseys- that’s the only explanation for how the Sound Tigers could give up a 3-0 lead on
Monday, December 31 against the Adirondack Phantoms. Two of the most penalized teams in the league faced off for what became an edge-of-the-seat kind of game in the third period. 27 seconds into the game, Matt Watkins scored a goal and gave the Sound Tigers a 1-0 lead. Bridgeport had some power play opportunities in the first to extend the lead, but couldn’t find the back of the net, as Blair Riley shot two off the post. In the second, a Matt Donovan shot was redirected on goal by Sundstrom to go up 2-0. John Persson fired a shot which was deflected in to make the score 3-0. Adirondack goalie Scott Munroe was relieved by Cal Heeter. The Phantoms came alive midway through the second after making the goalie change and scored three unanswered goals from Jeff Dimmen, Sean Coutourier (surprise, surprise), and Brandon Manning. Bridgeport made a goalie change in the third period, and Kevin Poulin relieved Anders Nilsson. Neither relief goalie gave up a score in the third period or in overtime, so the teams ended 2012 with a shootout. Sound Tigers’ Niedereitter, Ullstrom, and Landry put the puck past Heeter to claim a well-earned win against the Phantoms, finally!
The Sound Tigers are sitting comfortably at the second spot in the Northeast Division, slowly gaining ground against the first place team, Springfield Falcons. Bridgeport moved up to the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference.
ECHL Newcomers: Jack Combs andChadCostello
After having successes in the ECHL, both forwards scored their first AHL goals with the Sound Tigers. Jack Combs scored a goal in a loss against the Adirondack Phantoms on December 22nd, and Chad Costello scored the game-winner against the Connecticut Whale on the 27th.
Defenseman Matt Donovan is a solid player for the Sound Tigers, who currently has a +/- of 8. He’s frequently used on the power play and penalty kill for his abilities to create scoring opportunities on offense and stop the puck on defense. Against the Adirondack Phantoms, Donovan’s stellar defense was evident when he picked up Braydon Schenn on the break, stopped him from scoring, and drew a penalty. This season, Donovan has 4 goals and 11 assists for 15 points.
Best Moment:Sandy Hook Support
The Sound Tigers have been doing their part to help the community after the horrifying Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown on December 14. Newtown residents were invited to watch the Sound Tigers play at home on December 22, 26, and 29 as an effort to help the community in their healing process. Starting on Saturday, December 22 and continuing for six games, players will honor the children who lost their lives by wearing name plates on their jerseys. In memory of Sandy Hook victims, players will also wear a green ribbon on their jerseys for the rest of the 2012-2013 season. On the ice, “S.H.E.S.” and 12.14.12 will be painted behind each net.
To learn more about the Sandy Hook effort, check out the Sound Tigers page:
Worst Moment: Second Period Play against Adirondack (Dec 31)
On New Years Eve, the Sound Tigers had a comfortable 3-0 lead against the Phantoms and it seemed as though they were going to easily skate away with a victory. Midway through the second, though, momentum shifted and the Phantoms tallied three goals to tie the game. Sean Couturier seems to be the Sound Tigers’ kryptonite this season, leading his team to a 2-0 record against the Sound Tigers going into this game. Luckily, Kevin Poulin relieved Anders Nilsson in goal and put on a stellar performance in regulation, overtime, and the shootout to help his team win their first game against Adirondack this season. In just three games, though, Sean Couturier has three goals and three assists against the Sound Tigers. Adirondack’s offense has proved extremely efficient against Bridgeport, even though the team is in fourth in the division, several games behind the Sound Tigers, and fourteenth in the Eastern Conference. They face off three more times in the regular season.
Ashley Coombs is a teacher in Fairfield County. She is a passionate sports fan and follows New York teams. As a triplet, she played collegiate basketball and volleyball on the same teams as her sisters.