Sound Tigers Win 6th In A Row; Halmo, Lee & Strome Recalled
The two week break that the NHL gets for the Olympics every four years is usually hard enough on hockey fans. Sure we can all cheer for our country and the athletes that represent our NHL squad of choice but it isn't really the same. We go through withdrawls and at the conclusion we are usually more than happy to welcome our boys back for the final stretch for the playoffs. However this year things took a different turn for Isles fans as our captain and the face of the franchise, John Tavares went down with a season ending knee injury while representing Canada in Sochi.
With the Islanders sitting in an unfavorable place in the standings and likely to be sellers leading up to the trade deadline, the injury to Tavares was just salt on the already deep wound. The nausea we as fans have now developed is a far cry from the euphoria of last year's playoff appearance. Since the trade deadline will be here before we know it, we are already seeing some talent called up from Bridgeport and with how they have been playing as of late, this could be our one positive to look forward to for the remainder of the season.
The Sound Tigers are winners of 6 straight and 11 of 13 and are getting contributions from up and down their roster. They also received an injection of life on defense as both Joe Finley and Andrey Pedan have returned to the team from long term injuries. Ryan Strome has been a force on offense and now Anders Lee is becoming just as dominant as he leads the team with 22 goals.
During this past weekend, the Sound Tigers played three games in which their raw talent was evident. Starting on Friday night, the Sound Tigers were in Hartford to play the Rangers affiliate and in state rival, the Hartford Wolf Pack. The game itself was back and fourth and with the Sound Tigers trailing 3-2 with just under 3 minutes to play in the third period, Anders Lee scored twice in the final 2:25 of the game to solidify the come from behind win for Bridgeport. Lee's game winner came with just 31 seconds to play to shock the home crowd. Goaltender Anders Nilsson also made 30 saves to record the win.
On Saturday the Sound Tigers traveled to Philadelphia to play the Adirondack Phantoms at the Wells Fargo Center. Once again, the Sound Tigers erased a one goal defecit in the third period to earn a 3-2 victory. Chris Langkow and Aaron Ness were the third period goal scorers to ensure that Bridgeport once again came out on top. In this game, Anders Nilsson was again the winning goalie while stopping 26 shots in the contest.
Finally, on Sunday the Sound Tigers returned to the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport to host the Providence Bruins. Islanders forward Matt Martin was in attendance because the Sound Tigers were having a Matt Martin bobblehead giveaway. Bridgeport earned a 2-1 victory behind a huge game from goaltender Kenny Reiter. Reiter made 40 saves on 41 shots and played on his head. In addition, Anders Lee once again found the back of the net.
Now, we as Islanders fans get to see the literal top line/top 3 scorers from Bridgeport in Uniondale. It was announced today that the Islanders recalled not only Lee and Strome, but Mike Halmo as well. This is something we should all be very happy about as they have had a ton of chemistry of late. I wrote recently that Halmo deserved at the very least a chance to show himself at the NHL level with the year he is having, so I am happy that he is getting this opportunity.
With all of the negative that there is for the Islanders fans to cope with this season, two positives we have to focus on are the stellar play of Bridgeport and the opportunity for some of the youth to make a name for themselves in the NHL.
As always, thanks for reading.