On Saturday, January 19 the Sound Tigers took on the Binghamton Senators. John Persson started off scoring for the Sound Tigers with a power play goal in the first and Sean Backman extended the lead when he scored early in the second. The Senators recovered and made the score 2-1 with a Cole Schneider breakaway goal. Sound Tigers’ Scott Campbell scored his first AHL goal of his career in the third to improve the score to 3-1. Mika Zibanejad found the net for the Senators, but the Senators couldn’t extend their efforts further, and Ty Wishart ended scoring to make the final tally 4-2.
The Sound Tigers failed to reproduce Saturday’s strong offensive effort and dropped a game to Springfield on Sunday 4-1. The Falcons’ Nick Drazenovic and Wade Macleod each scored a power play goal to take a 2-0 lead. Springfield’s scoring continued with two Nick Holden goals. The Sound Tigers would get on the board with 29 seconds left in the game when Jack Combs found the back of the net on the power play.
The Sound Tigers faced off against the Norfolk Admirals on Friday, January 25 and Saturday, January 26. Out of the four meetings against the Admirals earlier this season, the Sound Tigers have played them evenly, posting a 2-2 record. On Friday, there were very few penalties, some fights, but only one goal until late in the third period. Bridgeport took the lead 1:13 into the game when confusion in front of the net led to a Scott Campbell score. The Admirals made a third period comeback when Pat Maroon scored off a rebound and Josh Brittain put the game-winning goal past goalie Kevin Poulin.
The Sound Tigers struggled offensively the following day and were shut out 5-0. Norfolk’s Emerson Etem tallied two goals and an assist to lead his team to victory. Goalie Anders Nilsson made 30 saves, but a combination of an aggressive Admirals offense and an inability for the Sound Tigers to get into any type of offensive rhythm made it easy for the opposing team to skate away with the win. So, the Sound Tigers dropped both to the Admirals.
On Thursday, January 31, Bridgeport finished the month with a tough loss to the Bruins. Defenseman Ty Wishart scored late in the first
to take the lead, but with only 24 seconds left in the period, Craig Cunningham put one past Poulin to tie the score. Wishart scored again on a power play goal in the second to go up 2-1, but the Bruins’ Jamie Tardif was able to tie it on a deflection before the end of regulation to force overtime. Bruins goaltender, Niklas Svedberg, stopped all five shots in the shootout, but Poulin couldn’t handle Carter Camper who scored on a backhand in the final round.
Just 38 seconds into the game on February 1, the Connecticut Whale’s Kelsey Tessier scored to take an early lead. Brandon Segal added a goal to make the score 2-0. What seemed to be a Whale-dominated first period was halted when Matt Watkins deflected the puck past goalie Cam Talbot to decrease the lead to one goal. Blair Riley made the score 2-2 early in the second, but the Whale took their second lead of the game when Michael Haley scored. Sound Tigers’ Jack Combs tied the score at 3 with 4:11 left in the second. Before the middle frame ended, Blake Parlett scored and Connecticut retook the lead. John Persson tied the score and Backman put in the game-winner during overtime.
On Saturday, February 2, Bridgeport took down the Admirals 4-1 after trailing from the start. Peter Holland scored for the Admirals, but Brock Nelson tallied the next two goals, both on the power play, to go up 2-1. Nino Niedereitter added a goal in the third to improve the score 3-1. Nelson netted an empty net goal to finish with the first hat trick of his career.
The Sound Tigers were struggling to score in January and it wasn’t for lack of opportunities. It’s definitely a result of the change in team dynamic, as the top players were recalled to the Isles. It seems that the Sound Tigers have picked it up on offense toward the end of January/middle of February, but there is still some inconsistency in the team’s play which needs to be fixed.
Bridgeport is holding onto second place in the Northeast Division, but only by a couple points. They are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference.
Forward Sean Backman is an important role player for the Sound Tigers. He doesn’t put up big numbers, but a true Bridgeport fan knows that he’s a hard worker who never takes off a shift. His hustle contributes to takeaway and breakaway opportunities. On January 19, he scored his fourth goal of the season in a loss to Binghamton. On February 1, he recorded an assist and goal in overtime which helped the team take down the Whale. This season, he has five goals, five assists, and 1o points for the Sound Tigers.
Defenseman Ty Wishart needed to pick up his play after the team lost Travis Hamonic to the Isles, and he has certainly done so. He has a strong presence defensively, but his ability to contribute on the offensive side is just as impressive. In the past couple weeks, he scored a goal against the Senators, scored two goals against the Bruins, and contributed two assists in the Connecticut Whale game. This season, he has four goals, nine assists, and 13 point.
Best Moment: Two Named to All-Stars
The Sound Tigers named Nino Niedereitter and Matt Donovan to the AHL All-Star Classic the weekend of January 27-28. The recognition has been well-earned; both young forwards have been playing stellar hockey and are producing solid numbers for Bridgeport. For both players, it was their first All-Star appearances. Although the Western Conference skated away with a 7-6 victory, the East was well-represented, and Niedereitter even contributed an assist.
Take a look at some highlights from All Star Weekend:
Worst Moment: Niedereitter’s Unsure Future with Isles Organization
With Niedereitter being the top producer for the Sound Tigers, Isles fans had to be surprised when he wasn’t invited to training camp when the lockout lifted. This decision was most likely due to his disappointing performance with New York last season when, in 55 games, he only scored one goal. Take into account a couple factors: First, he was only 19 years old. Second, he had a limited role. Reports have surfaced that Niedereitter isn’t happy and wants a trade, but the Isles aren’t ruling out the possibility of him being called up this season. He has proven through his play with the Sound Tigers that his skills have developed and he is an offensive threat that could be effective in the NHL.
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.