With the lockout focusing our attention on the AHL, here’s the first installment of a biweekly report covering the Isle’s AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Bridgeport Report includes a brief recap of the games, three stand-out performances, and the best and worst moments for the Sound Tigers.
It was a tale of two Bridgeports this weekend as the Sound Tigers split games with the Hershey Bears and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. On Saturday night, Bridgeport defeated the Bears 3-2 on three power play goals. They played a sound offensive game and outshot their opponents 42-21. Sunday’s game told a different tale, and Bridgeport fell to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 5-3. The Sound Tigers fought hard the entire game, but couldn’t gain any ground against the Penguins who maintained their lead from the first score of the game until the final buzzer. The Sound Tigers had no answer for Paul Thompson, whose three goals in the second period completed a hat trick.
Sound Tigers organization
In an effort to relieve some of the stress brought to the area by Hurricane Sandy, the Sound Tigers offered tickets free of charge this weekend. Both games were sold out and the crowds were energized and ready for some hockey. Head Coach Scott Pellerin delivered a warm welcome to all those in attendance:
“It gives all of us an opportunity to step away, to reflect, and deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The efforts, strengths, and perseverance this community has shown dealing with the hurricane has been an inspiration to our team. We hope that you will enjoy the games this weekend in our home, stay warm, get something to eat and drink, charge your phones, cheer, but more importantly, spend time with your friends, your neighbors, and your family, while watching some exciting hockey.”
The organization did a tremendous job uniting the community while bringing attention to its hockey team.
Bridgeport Power Play
With their aggressive play on Saturday night, the Sound Tigers drew penalties all game and went on the power play eleven total times. The power play was essentially the reason Bridgeport won, leading to all three goals scored by Cizikas, Defazio, and Nelson.
The solid play in the offensive zone was charged by the aggressive play of Hamonic. Although none of his shots found the back of the net, it’s obvious why he’s given the green light. His ability to get off shots and distribute the puck gave his team good chances to score and kept constant pressure on the other teams. He also has a strong presence on special teams. When he’s out on the ice, the team can expect consistency on both defense and offense.
Best Moment: 2nd period fighting
Emotions were pumping during the second period of the Hershey game. At one point, it seemed there were more guys in the penalty box than on the bench. The fighting started early with Bridgeport’s Casey Cizikas taking on Hershey’s Steve Oleksy after a high sticking penalty. Not much time passed before, as the announcers reported, a powder keg erupted on the ice. Bridgeport’s Brett Gallant unloaded on Ryan Stoa. Shortly after, Colin McDonald (Bridgeport) threw some hard punches at Garrett Mitchell. Gloves flew again before the puck dropped when Blair Riley (Bridgeport) faced off against Matt Clackson. The sold out crowd rallied behind the Sound Tigers and the energy remained high for the rest of the game.
Worst Moment: Loss of David Ullstrom
Ullstrom left the game early in the second period Saturday night and did not return for the rest of the weekend. His absence wasn’t too significant on Saturday night as other players effectively stepped in and filled his role. However, the UPS line (Ullstrom, Persson, and Sundstrum) was again without their driver on Sunday and the team’s offensive efforts seemed to lack a certain spark that Ullstrom brings when he plays. The Sound Tigers tried mixing up the line combinations late in third to make something happen, but it was to no avail.
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.