The Sound Tigers have cruised to a 2-0 start, relying on the strength of their goaltending for the bulk of their last game. Now, they face off Saturday night against an opponent still looking for their first win.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 0-2 in their 2012-13 campaign so far, after making it to the conference semis in 2011-12. The Penguins haven’t gotten off to the start they wanted offensively, having been outscored by a 2:1 ratio (goalie Jeff Zatkoff allowed four goals in their last game against Springfield). Their entire team is a -20 overall. Penalties also remain a problem — the Penguins committed 16 infractions for 42 total PIM in two games alone.
Meanwhile, offense doesn’t seem to be much of an issue for Bridgeport — players on both sides of the puck have been contributing to the score sheet. Nino Niederreiter has led the way with four points so far, finding excellent chemistry on the top line with Casey Cizikas and Colin McDonald. Winger Brandon DeFazio has also been a nice surprise, with two goals and an assist in two games. Look for them to continue their contributions.
The one thing Bridgeport needs to work on is keeping the pressure on for a full three periods. In both of their games, they have either sat back or taken penalties, and in that time opponents have mounted comebacks. The Penguins can capitalize on this — in fact, they did tie things up at 2 in the third period against the Falcons at one point, capitalizing on power-play opportunities, no less. The Sound Tigers have to focus on staying out of the box tomorrow night. Kevin Poulin has been excellent in net so far (.903 save %, 3.03 GAA), but they cannot rely only on him to carry the workload late in the game. Meanwhile, Jeff Zatkoff has been a bit embattled, allowing six goals in his two games played.
I unfortunately will probably not watch this game, but I’ll be keeping track of it, for sure. Bridgeport got excellent offensive opportunities last time around against Providence — it’s all a matter of finishing them off and staying hungry.
Let’s go, Sound Tigers!