While snow knocked out my power for much of the weekend games were still played in Bridgeport. The Sound Tigers split a pair but came out of the weekend with three points, losing in OT to the Worchester Sharks and edging out the Providence Bruins in the waning seconds of play on Saturday. The 3 points and W improve Bridgeport to 4-4-1 in the opening 9 games of the season.
Friday night was a story of 1sts for the Sound Tigers on the season as Tony Romano and Ty Wishart collected their first goals on the season and PTO signees Steve Oleksy and Dan Kissel suited up for their first games as Sound Tigers; finally, G Mikko Koskinen made his first start and second appearance on the season. Oleksy made his presence felt dropping the gloves, as he was brought in to do. Romano's goal tied the score at 1 on the PP (after the Tigers gave up a 1st Pd SH G) in the 2nd. Wishart's first would put the Sound Tigers ahead in the third but the Sharks answered later in the period and won in the closing seconds of OT.
Mikko Koskinen stopped 28 of 31 shots and in his two games of play (came on in relief of Poulin a few games ago) has amassed a 1.99 GAA and .940 SV% in 90 total minutes of play. More on the goalies in another post. What's seemingly working in LI, ISN'T working in Bridgeport.
The Sound Tigers played through the white out conditions much like their parent club (they will honor tickets for those who bought them, more details at soundtigers.com). Though unlike the parent club were able to eek out a W on the back of Casey Cizikas' pair of 3rd period goals to tie and end the game against the Providence Bruins. in the Sound Tiger's first home win of the season, it was the top line that made up the scoring ledger as Justin DiBenedetto notched his team leading 8th goal of the season and Cizikas added his first pair of the season. in addition to the Goal, DiBenedetto also notched his first assist on first Cizikas goal, restoring him to point pr game status as his hot start continues. Tim Wallace, Cizikas and DiBo's other cohort, added 3 assists and a +3 on the night as that line has done well.
With DiBenedetto's hot Start, I wouldn't be surprised to see him as a call up in the event of an injury. However, Bridgeport and the Isles again seem to have the same issues on offense; there's very little secondary scoring from the other lines. Through 9 games, there's certainly been more help from the other lines with Jeremy Colliton getting 6 points in 7 games and David Ullstrom picking up 4 goals and a helper already (he's off to a terrific start to his sophomore season), but there isn't a consistant threat from the other lines. It's still early though and the Sound Tigers are probably among the younger teams in the Eastern Conference, but there's a very thin margin of error it feels like if teams shutdown Cizikas and DiBenedetto (who've had Wallace and Sean Backman flank them so far this year, but they have chemist's and are preforming...unlike some third liners on LI).
Anders Nilsson was your winner on Saturday and is clearly the starter for Coach Thompson as his record is now 3-1-0 with a 2.98 GAA and a .902 SV%. Nothing remarkable, but he's clearly the superior goalie in terms of numbers and measured sample size to date. Kevin Poulin (who if you follow me on Twitter, @MattClausen, know that I have a near unhealthy obsession with over the years) checks in at 1-3-0 and a 4.71 GAA and a .853...simply horrid I'll admit. I'm not sure what's up with Poulin, but I don't think he's been playing at 100%. again, the Goalies will get their own post in a bit.
Wednesday the Sound Tigers face off against the Northeast leading Connecticut Whale and their new look Averyless lineup. SoundTigers won their first meeting in a 5-4 Shootout victory on 10/15 in Hartford.