Skater on mend for Sound Tigers
By MICHAEL FORNABAIO
BRIDGEPORT - Following the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this weekend was a
little like following training camp, watching unfamiliar players with
faces it takes a moment to recognize.
Think of Tuesday morning, then, akin to the tail end of camp, where
the familiar faces start to come back.
There was Ryan Kraft, whose father is feeling better after a heart
attack. There was Cole Jarrett, back after two games out with a knee
injury. Tomi Pettinen was next to Jarrett, back from a non-recall to
the New York Islanders
he joined the parent club, but was never formally recalled.
Maybe most importantly, power-play quarterback and top defenseman
Brandon Smith, with X-rays negative on that ankle, was back in action.
"I'm ready to go," Smith said after a full week off. "It's a bad
Even Eric Manlow don't get too excited, he and his broken wrist are
still a long way away skated at the end of the morning.
Wade Dubielewicz and Steve Webb remain up with the New York
Islanders, and Mike Souza and Justin Mapletoft are still out injured,
but the Sound Tigers will be closer to whole tonight against Wilkes-
Barre/Scranton than they have been in weeks.
"I was talking to Tanger (Alan Letang), and he's been in the league
10 years and never seen what we've gone through as far as injuries
and callups," said Bridgeport coach Greg Cronin, whose team begins
four games in five nights tonight.
"We had six (tryout players) over the weekend and one empty chair.
That doesn't happen too often. Since Christmas, it's been a revolving
Scott Stirling is up from Atlantic City of the ECHL as a second
goalie behind Dieter Kochan, while Vince Macri was released from his
amateur tryout. Forward Wes Goldie and goalie Sebastien Laplante were
returned to Florence of the ECHL after Sunday's 2-0 win in Norfolk,
In a promotion tonight, college students can buy $5 tickets, and
there will be $2 beer promotions at the concession stands.
The AHL announced Tuesday that Graham Belak is Bridgeport's winner of
the American Specialty/AHL Man of the Year Award, making him the
Sound Tigers' nominee for the Yanick Dupre Award. The awards honor
players for their charity and community work.
Former Sound Tigers Ray Giroux (Albany) and Scott Ricci (Rochester)
were their team's winners.
The All-Rookie Team is due to be released today; Dubielewicz is a top
candidate in goal.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Arena at Harbor Yard
ON THE AIR
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 33-27-8-6; Bridgeport 37-23-9-4
Bridgeport leads 4-2.
The Sound Tigers won 2-1 in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., March 17.
ABOUT THE PENGUINS
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, a winner of three in a row, is seven points
behind second-place Bridgeport and five points ahead of fourth-place
Norfolk. ... C Kris Beech had seven points in three games last week,
earning player of the week honors. ... Seven of the eight all-time
meetings between the clubs have been decided by one goal. ... D Ross
Lupaschuk (leg) is day-to-day; LW Michal Sivek (hip) is out for the
year. ... LW Michel Ouellet leads the team at 29-19-48.
ABOUT THE SOUND TIGERS
Tonight begins five out of six games at home, following a seven-game
road trip. ... D Vince Macri was released from his ATO, while G Scott
Stirling was recalled from Atlantic City (ECHL). ... The Sound Tigers
are four points behind first-place Philadelphia but need to finish
ahead of the Phantoms to win the division. ... Ds Brandon Smith
(ankle), Tomi Pettinen (unofficial recall) and Cole Jarrett (knee)
are expected back tonight.
Friday at Manchester, 7:35 p.m.