Sound Tigers on Season Best Four Game Winning Streak
By: Drew Casey, Contributor (@drew421)
The Sound Tigers have found their game in the past eight days, winning four straight. All, or most, cylinders seem to be clicking, and the team is looking to turn their season around.
John Persson has led the team in scoring during the winning streak with four goals and two assists, compared to six points in his first 19 games of the season.
Ryan Strome has not been the biggest Sound Tigers contributor, but has registered a goal and three assists in the last eight days. Aaron Ness hasn’t scored a goal, but has collected four assists. Pierre-Marc Bouchard has added two goals and three assists in the same stretch.
In terms of goaltending, Kenny Reiter and Parker Milner have each started two of the previous four games, and have done enough to allow Bridgeport to win with neither being particularly spectacular.
Something else that is worth noting about this streak is that the Sound Tigers have been successful in four straight games despite being assessed 126 penalty minutes. That’s an average of 31.5 penalty minutes per game, and the team is 4-0. Perhaps they’re on to something?
The streak began with a 5-1 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack on Sunday, January 19 at home. Following a week of practice, the team traveled to play the Portland Pirates and then battled with the Springfield Falcons before returning home for a Sunday evening contest with the Syracuse Crunch.
On Friday, it did not look good for the Sound Tigers. However, Strome scored with 18 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at three. After a scoreless overtime period, Alan Quine netted the winner for Bridgeport in the shootout. Bouchard and Mike Cornell scored the other two regulation goals for the Sound Tigers.
Less than 24 hours later, Bridgeport faced off with the Eastern Conference leading Springfield Falcons at MassMutual Center. Scooter Vaughan knotted the game at one in the first period for the Sound Tigers. In the third Chris Langkow scored the game winner off of a Riley Wetmore feed. Mike Halmo added an empty net goal later to seal the victory.
Following a pleasant bus ride back to Bridgeport, the team battled with the Syracuse Crunch. The game turned into an offensive fireworks show with the lamp being lit 11 times. The Sound Tigers led 2-1 after one period behind goals from Anders Lee and Persson. The teams then traded two goals each both in the second and third periods. Vaughan and Andrew Clark scored in the second, and Persson found the back of the net twice in the final period to complete the hat trick. The game-winning goal came with 4:06 remaining on the power play.
This four game winning streak matches the Sound Tigers longest winning streak of the season. The team will look to continue their winning ways on Friday when they travel to face the Albany Devils. They’ll host Springfield on Saturday night and will have Sunday off for the first time in four weeks.
Bridgeport’s recent success has put them at 18-22-1-4 and nine points out of a playoff spot.
Additionally, there is more talent on the way back to Bridgeport. The Islanders sent both Matt Donovan and Anders Nilsson back to the Sound Tigers on Monday. (*EDITORS NOTE : Donovan has since been recalled to the Islanders following the placement of Travis Hamonic onto injured reserve)
Furthermore, supplemental discipline could be coming down from the AHL as a result of a line brawl after the game-winning goal Sunday. Ryan Strome was even assessed a fighting major in the altercation, his first as a professional. Head coach Scott Pellerin was not happy with the officiating and what transpired as a result of the celebration from Persson’s hat trick. Strome though was happy that the team got two points.
“It is what it is,” Stome said. “You’ve got to be ready. It was kind of fun.”
Most likely the suspensions will affect Syracuse, but one can never tell. It’s looking good in Bridgeport and as bad as the team has been, playoffs are still not out of the question with help on the way.