The Sound Tigers have played six games since the last recap and went 5-1, improving their overall record to 10-4. They competed and won against the Norfolk Admirals, Manchester Monarchs (twice), Connecticut Whale, and Providence Bruins. Their loss came against Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. When the Sound Tigers play aggressive offense, they’re unstoppable. This was most obvious on Sunday, November 18, when they recorded six goals against the Bruins to win 6-2. Although Niedereitter and Nelson were major contributors over the past couple weeks, the Sound Tigers’ scoring comes from all lines. In the game against the Manchester Monarchs, five different players recorded goals for the Sound Tigers (Cizikas, DeFazio, Hamonic, Nelson, and Niedereitter). The team’s ability to dominate offensively and keep sustained pressure on the other goalies is impressive. The players put themselves in great positions to score and are outshooting most of their opponents.
Take a look at the offensive domination by the Sound Tigers against the Bruins (November 18):
Yet, there have been a few games this season, like that against the Bruins, in which Bridgeport’s offense hasn’t been effective. Besides Sundstrom’s goal, the Sound Tigers had no answers for Eric Tangradi’s three power play goals for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins on November 16. The Penguins seem to be the only team the Sound Tigers have struggled against this season (1-2 overall). The bright side? The Sound Tigers don’t make losing a habit. After each of their losses, they have come back to win the following game.
Offense wins games and defense wins championships. Luckily for the Sound
Tigers, they possess both a strong offense and solid defense. Goalie Anders Nilsson has been doing an effective job for Bridgeport the past several games. On November 17, he recorded a shutout against the Monarchs as his team won 4-0. He currently ranks fifth among all goalies in the American Hockey League with four wins, no losses and a 93.5 save percentage. Defensemen Ty Wishart, Matt Donovan, and Travis Hamonic also make it hard for other teams to get scoring opportunities.
Watch clips from Nilsson’s shutout against the Monarchs:
The Sound Tigers are currently in second place in the Northeast Division behind the Springfield Falcons and fourth among all teams in the Eastern Conference.
Nelson has been playing stellar offense this season. Over the past two weeks, he racked up a goal and an assist against Norfolk, a shorthanded goal and an assist against Manchester, and a goal against Connecticut. Before the loss against the Penguins, Nelson had a five game goal streak. So far this season, Nelson has seven goals, seven assists, and 14 points. He ranks among the top 20 in scoring for all players in the American Hockey League. Listed as 6’3 and 205 pounds, Nelson has a solid frame and a strong shot which has been difficult for other teams to match up against.
Over the past two weeks, El Nino has recorded a goal against Norfolk, a goal in both games against Manchester (November 9 and November 17), an assist against the Whale and against the Penguins, and a goal and assist against the Bruins. His point scoring streak has been stretched to eight consecutive games. As expected, Niedereitter is leading the team with nine goals, eight assists, and 17 points. He is third in scoring among all players in the AHL. At only 20 years old, his skills match up with the best players in the league and other teams have a difficult time stopping him from getting scoring opportunities. His consistent play is important for the Sound Tigers team.
Gallant has established himself as the enforcer for the Sound Tigers (youtube his name and the pages that appear look more like that of a boxer or ultimate fighter). Recently, he recorded three fights against Norfolk, and a fight against Manchester. Gallant connects his punches and takes opponents to the ice, making him a force to be reckoned with.
Best Moment: Cool Fun 101 game
The Sound Tigers held their annual Cool Fun 101 game, and as a teacher, I obviously had to award this the best moment of the past two weeks. Kudos to the Sound Tigers organization for combining academics and athletics with an exciting hockey game during the school week. On Wednesday, November 7, the Sound Tigers had a full crowd of students cheering them on against the Norfolk Admirals. The game was expected to be a great match up between two of the stronger teams in the AHL and it didn’t disappoint. The Sound Tigers and Admirals exchanged goals and penalties and threw in a few fights. The students were engaged the whole time, cheering and chanting for the players. The game ended in a 4-2 victory for Bridgeport. The Sound Tigers have now won five of their last morning games (maybe they should wake up earlier more often!)
Here’s some action from the Cool Fun 101 game:
Worst Moment: Sound Tigers MIA
Injuries have plagued the Sound Tigers this season and they have lost several of their key players. In October, defenseman Calvin de Haan, who was expected to have a great season, dislocated his shoulder against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. He is out for the rest of the season. On November 3, forward David Ullstrom left the game against the Hershey Bears and has just recently returned to the lineup. On November 11, forward Casey Cizikas left the game against the Connecticut Whale and has missed the last few games. In addition, Colin McDonald was suspended two games for his hit during the Whale game. Bridgeport’s roster is deep, so other players have been able to step up and perform, but having its players return before the post season will be important if the team want to make a good run.
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.