C&W Buzzsaw: Turning the Corner
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (10-7-0-0) vs. Hershey Bears (8-10-1-0)
Friday November 30, 2012
Season Series: Next Meeting: ** Photo courtesy Paul Chaplin / PennLive
Sound Tigers lead 1-0-0-0….this is the second of four meetings between the two teams, and the first of two here at Giant Center.
The Sound Tigers up-ended the Bears 3-2 in Southern Connecticut back on November 3. The Bears got goals from enforcer Chris Clackson and Captain Boyd Kane, but were outdone on goals by Casey Cizikas, Colin McDonald, and Brock Nelson. Braden Holtby took the loss for the Chocolate & White, stopping 39 of the 42 shots he face, while Kevin Poulin got the win by turning away 19 of the 21 shots he saw.
Tuesday January 8 @ Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport
Entering Tonight’s Tilt:
The Bears enter tonight on a mini roll with a two game winning streak. The Bears are coming off a total team effort victory, 5-2 over the Norfolk Admirals at the Scope on Wednesday night. 12 different skaters recorded a point and they got goals from TJ Syner (2), Patrick McNeill (1), Garrett Mitchell (5), and Jon DiSalvatore (4,5) and 24 saves from Braden Holtby. Over the past two games, every player seems to be skating well and playing much better and they will look to continue that trend tonight against the upstart Sound Tigers. While the Bears have seemingly (and hopefully) turned a bit of a corner, the Sound Tigers have run straight into a brick wall. After a very solid start in which they won 10 of their first 14 games, they have dropped their last three in a row, being outscored 18-7 in those games. In their last game, the Sound Tigers were hammered by the Binghamton Senators 6-1 last Saturday night in the Southern tier. Cole Schnieder and Erik Gryba each notched a pair of lamp lighters for the B-Sens, while also getting single tallies from Captain Andre Benoit and forward Derek Grant. Former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Brandon DeFazio scored the lone goal for B-port with six minutes left in the game to spoil Robin Lehner’s shutout bid.
The Ups & Downs & Ins & Outs:
The Bears haven’t had any transactions since signing Evan Barlow to a PTO last weekend. The loan Bridgeport transaction is signing defenseman Jordan Hill to an AHL Standard Players’ contract, a step up on the PTO he as playing on. Since joining the Sound Tigers from the ECHL’s Ontario Reign back on October 27th, Hill has played 7 games and recorded 5 points (1g, 4a).
Players To Watch:
For the Bears, we are going to go with Zach Hamill. Acquired in the summer trade that sent longtime Bears forward Chris Bourque to Boston, the former first round pick had something to prove coming into his first season in Chocolatetown. After a slow start, he seems to be heating up notching six points (3g, 3a) in his last six games. His new line mates of speedster TJ Syner and goal scorer Matt Beadoin seem to be jelling well with the playmaking forward. For the Sound Tigers, we choose the goaltending tandem of Anders Nilsson and Kevin Poulin. Whoever plays has to have a bounce back game as the Sound Tigers have been outscored 18-7 during their three game slide. Poulin surrendered 5 to Adirondack back on the 21st of this month, followed by Nilsson allowing 7 to the Connecticut Whale last Friday, and Poulin allowing 4 to Binghamton in 29 minutes of work before being yanked in favor of Nilsson who allowed 2 in the remaining time.
Between The Pipes:
At this point in time, neither team has announced a starting goalie for tonight’s contest.
Injuries & Scratches:
The Bears will most likely be without the services of defenseman Garrett Stafford (upper body) and forward Ryan Stoa (upper body) for this weekend. Forward Jon Kalinski (hand) is still deemed week-to-week by the training staff. No word on whom the healthy scratches are going to be for the Chocolate & White. For Bridgeport, Casey Cizikas appears ready to return from injury, not sure how much he will play, but when 100% he is always dangerous. The only apparent injury is forward Max Mackay (lower body) and I would assume he won’t play tonight. Defenseman Calvin de Haan is out for the year after shoulder surgery.
The Bears will finish their short two game home stand tomorrow night as the Norfolk Admirals invade Giant Center for the first time this season. @ 7 PM.
Jeff Taffe – 5g, 12a – 17 pts
Garrett Stafford – 1g, 13a – 14 pts
Jon DiSalvatore – 5g, 6a – 11 pts
Nino Niederreiter – 9g, 9a – 18 pts
Brock Nelson – 7g, 7a – 14 pts
Johan Sundstrom – 5g, 6a – 11 pts
** Photo courtesy Paul Chaplin / PennLive