Here's the highlights of the Sound Tigers 3-1 win over the Providence Bruins.
The Sound Tigers head to Manchester to take on the Monarchs at 6 p.m. tonight. The game will be streamed live on NewYorkIslanders.com.
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (Oct. 4, 2012) – Sound Tigers goaltender Anders Nilsson stopped 34 of 35 shots and Johan Sundstrom, Mike Halmo and Nino Niederreiter each scored as Bridgeport defeated the Providence Bruins 3-1 in an exhibition game at the New England Sports Center on Thursday night. With the win, the Sound Tigers improve to 1-0-0-0 in preseason play. Providence’s record is now even at 1-1-0-0.
Physicality dictated the early portion of play, as three separate fights took place in the first 3:45 of the first period. Sound Tigers forward Blair Riley squared off with Bruins forward Bobby Robins just 24 seconds into the first period. Just 1:25 later, Brett Gallant fought Tyler Randell and took the Bruins forward down to the ice. The final scrap of the period came at 3:45 when former P-Bruin Nathan McIver dropped the gloves with Kelsey Wilson.
The Bruins jumped on the scoreboard at the 2:44 mark of the opening frame. The Sound Tigers were caught on the forecheck, leading to a 3-on-2 breakout for Providence. Justin Florek left the puck dropped the puck at the right circle for Christian Hanson, who fired it over Anders Nilsson’s right shoulder to give the Bruins a 1-0 advantage.
Thursday, Oct. 4: Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Providence Bruins
7:05 p.m., New England Sports Center, Marlborough, MA
Friday, Oct. 5: Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Manchester Monarchs
6 p.m., Sullivan Arena, Manchester, NH
(Streaming live on NewYorkIslanders.com)
|Matt Donovan led Sound Tigers defensemen in 2011-12 with 45 points (10 goals, 35 assists) (Photo credit: New York Islanders)|
The defending Northeast Division Champion Bridgeport Sound Tigers (41-26-3-6, 91 points in 2011-12) begin their preseason schedule Thursday on the road against the Providence Bruins, and play again the next night at the Manchester Monarchs. The Bruins finished the 2011-12 campaign fourth in the Atlantic Division with a 35-34-3-4 record (77 points), while the Monarchs went 39-32-2-3 (83 points), and lost in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual Calder Cup Champion Norfolk Admirals.
What they’re saying:
Bridgeport Sound Tigers Head Coach Scott Pellerin has had less than a week to get to know his new team. He has a handful of practices next week to evaluate his team prior to the season opener on Oct. 12, but will be taking an extra hard look at his players during the preseason games.
“I’m just looking for consistency,” Pellerin said. “I think as a coach that’s all you can ask for. We’ve gone through all our systems, everything that we need to do. The guys’ attention to detail and work ethic and conditioning is there. I just want to see them play. I want them to have fun and play to their max. I want them to play the best hockey that they can play because I’m going to have some real tough decisions.”
Pellerin added that even though this week’s contests won’t go down in the standings, he wants his team to get off on the right foot.
“We want to win,” Pellerin said. “We want to set a standard and it started the first day of Training Camp. We’ve been pushing that standard every day.”
Sound Tigers defenseman Matt Donovan knows what the players will be trying to accomplish come 7:05 Thursday.
“We’re just trying to get back into game form,” Donovan said. “None of us have played a game since last season. I think it’s just about getting ready as a team and getting in the flow of things as a team and learning about guys and seeing which guys can play where. I think everyone’s going to play a lot and show the coaches what they have.”
Donovan said that even though the players have been getting acquainted with one another during the first few practices, nothing compares to building chemistry with teammates during real games.
“They’ll probably switch it up in the exhibition games and put us with different guys so we can learn about everyone else on the team,” Donovan said. “I think in the end that will make us a better, closer team and we can learn about each other.”
Watch Friday’s live stream
Fans can watch Friday’s game at Manchester live on NewYorkIslanders.com starting at 6 p.m.
Video of the Sound Tigers team-building exercise with the U.S. Marines at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst:
Every team has areas they want to improve upon during the offseason, and the Sound Tigers were no different. With the departure of eight of their top 10 scorers from last season, the Sound Tigers needed to add some offense. A veteran presence was needed with eight rookies on the current roster. The Sound Tigers also hoped to bolster a penalty kill that finished 19th out of 30 teams in the AHL last year.
First year Sound Tiger Matt Watkins is entering his fourth pro season, and feels he’ll be able to contribute in each of those areas.
“I played all three forward positions last year, mostly center and left wing,” Watkins said. “I was a regular penalty killer and I bring a lot of speed to the game, which I think is my greatest asset. I can score goals and make plays too. I like to think I’m an all-around two-way forward who can play up and down the lineup.”
Check out the videos from Wednesday's practice, before the team left for its first preseason game in Providence.
David Ullstrom post-practice:
Despite leading the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in goals last year, David Ullstrom cannot afford to rest on his laurels. His 24 tallies in 2011-12 turned heads around the AHL, and he challenged for the league lead for much of the season.
Ullstrom’s goal totals are especially remarkable when you consider he played 29 games in the NHL with the Islanders. The Jonkoping, SWE native was with the parent club down the stretch last season, scoring four goals and four assists. Now he finds himself in Sound Tigers Training Camp with the task of proving that he's an elite scorer once again, this time to Head Coach Scott Pellerin and the rest of the coaching staff.
“He’s one of the guys who has impressed me the most,” Pellerin said. “He’s really brought his conditioning to another level and handled his offseason training like a true professional. His skating tests as well as his off-ice testing were off the charts. You can really see the commitment level.”
Perhaps it was the work ethic nearly every pro athlete has to have to make it to the top, and maybe it was the taste of the NHL that fueled Ullstrom to take his conditioning to another level this summer. Whether it’s in the NHL or AHL, the third-year pro has clear goals in mind.
More video of camp, this time from Tuesday.
Kevin Poulin mic'd up during goalie practice:
Brock Nelson post-practice:
Matt Donovan post-practice:
Nino Niederreiter has a history of putting up points. Whether it’s on Swiss national teams or on his junior club, the Portland Winterhawks, Niederreiter has been counted on to produce. During two seasons in Portland he totaled 130 points (77 goals, 53 assists) in 120 games, playing in all different situations while earning first line minutes.
Last season’s self-admitted disappointment of one goal in 55 NHL games is behind him now, and he is at Bridgeport Sound Tigers Training Camp, where he’s preparing to log heavy, important minutes once again.
“Obviously it’s going to help me a lot,” Niederreiter said of an increased role with the Sound Tigers. “It’s a great opportunity to prove myself. I know what kind of player I am. I know what kind of player I want to be, so I’m excited for that opportunity and to learn from the great coaching staff here.”
Coaches and players across sports make references to war when describing what happens on the field of play (or ice, in the Sound Tigers case).
Terms such as, “It was a war out there,” or “We won the battle in the trenches,” are often used to illustrate the competitive nature between two opposing teams.
On Sunday, Oct. 2, the Sound Tigers had the privilege of spending a day with some of the men and women who actually put their lives on the line to defend our country. The team traveled to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey to take part in team building exercises under the tutelage of Marines from Marine Aircraft Group 49.
“It was a very cool day out here,” Sound Tigers forward Brock Nelson said. “We got a little briefing when we got off the bus, and there was a little bit of shock. It was pretty crazy to see some of the stuff they go through to protect us and keep us free.”