GAME PREVIEW: Sound Tigers at Penguins
SATURDAY'S MATCHUP - The Sound Tigers will visit the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania for Game Two of the East Division semifinals versus the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Saturday at 7:05 p.m.
This will be the 12th meeting of the teams in 2005-06. The Sound Tigers were 5-5 in this year's regular-season series versus the East Division Champion Penguins, who actually won the series by virtue of an extra standings point gained when one of the Sound Tigers' victories came in a shootout.
The Sound Tigers are 15-12-1 all-time versus Wilkes-Barre/Scranton during regular-season games. They are 0-1 in playoff series and 4-4 in playoff games after wining game one by the score of 2-1 Thursday.
GAME ONE - WADE DUBIELEWICZ took first star honors with a 24-save performance, including highlight-reel stops on MAXIME TALBOT and JONATHAN FILEWICH in the second period. JEREMY COLLITON and SEAN BERGENHEIM set up ROBERT NILSSON for the first goal of the game while ROB COLLINS tallied the eventual game-winner as the Sound Tigers stole home ice with a 2-1 win. The Sound Tigers were 0 for 6 on the power play but 5 for 5 on the penalty kill. The shots on goal were tied at 25. The remaining series schedule is as follows:
Game Two - Saturday, April 22nd in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at 7:05 p.m.
Game Three - Sunday, April 23rd at Bridgeport's Arena at Harbor Yard at 3:05 p.m.
Game Four - Tuesday, April 25th at Bridgeport's Arena at Harbor Yard at 7:35 p.m.
Game Five - Wednesday, April 26th in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
Game Six - Friday, April 28th at Bridgeport's Arena at Harbor Yard at 7:35 p.m. (if necessary)
Game Seven - Saturday, April 29th in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
All Sound Tigers games are web-cast live at www.soundtigers.com. Fans can also watch all AHL games live on the Internet via the B2 Networks pay per view.
THE SOUND TIGERS - This is the fourth trip to the playoffs in five years of existence for the Sound Tigers, who are 4-3 all-time in postseason series and 21-16 in playoff games. After winning the AHL's Regular Season Championship in their first year of play in 2001-02, the Sound Tigers advanced to the 2002 Calder Cup Finals before losing to the Chicago Wolves in five games, the last of which was decided in double overtime in Chicago.
Despite finishing the 2005-06 regular-season with more than half of their roster either on NHL recall to the Islanders or out with injuries, including three players who were gone with season-ending ailments, the Sound Tigers qualified for the playoffs by finishing in fourth place in the AHL's East Division with 85 points and a 38-33-6-3 record, including 21-13-4-2 at home and 17-20-2-1 on the road, with two of their road wins coming in back-to-back visits to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on January 21st (7-0 W) and January 25th (4-3 SOW).
SOUND TIGERS STREAKS - LW/RW SEAN BERGENHEIM (4+2) was on a two-game assist streak and a three-game point streak before being recalled by the Islanders in March. C ROBERT NILSSON was on a three-game assist streak (0+4) before he was recalled by the Islanders in February. Each player extended his streak Thursday as Bergenheim assisted on the Nilsson's first goal in game one Thursday. RW/C ROB COLLINS also scored for the second game in a row, following a power-play goal in last Saturday's regular-season finale with Thursday's game-winner.
SOUND TIGERS TRANSACTIONS - RW BLAKE COMEAU signed an amateur tryout contract Wednesday. Forwards SEAN BERGENHEIM, JEREMY COLLITON, MASI MARJAMAKI, ROBERT NILSSON, STEVE REGIER and JEFF TAMBELLINI, as well as defensemen BRUNO GERVAIS, DENIS GREBESHKOV, COLE JARRETT and ALLAN ROURKE returned from the Islanders Wednesday. C MATT KOALSKA and D RYAN CALDWELL returned from the Islanders Tuesday. C LUCH AQUINO was reassigned to the Sound Tigers by the Islanders from the OHL's Brampton Battalion Monday.
THE WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton claimed its first regular-season division championship this year by finishing atop the East with 113 points and a 51-18-5-6 record, including 28-8-2-2 at home and 23-10-3-4 on the road. The 28 home wins were most in the Eastern Conference and second-most in the league.
The Penguins also finished just one point behind the Atlantic Division Champion Portland Pirates in the Eastern Conference standings. This is the fifth trip to the postseason in seven years of play for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton who is 8-4 all-time in playoff series and 33-30 all-time in postseason games. The Penguins have advanced to the Calder Cup Finals twice, losing to the Saint John Flames four games to two in 2001 and losing to the Milwaukee Admirals four games to none in 2004.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON TRANSACTIONS - G MARC-ANDRE FLEURY, D RYAN WHITNEY and D NOAH WELCH have returned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton from the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins. D BRIAN YANDLE has signed an ATO with the Baby Pens.