Sound Tigers - Swedish Line Chemistry
A streak is not a streak until it reaches two games and the Sound Tigers have just suffered their first losing streak of the season, this one a three gamer. Last seasons’ Division Championship winner endured two such three gamers, a four, a five and a six game swoon before they captured the title.
Though still ahead of last year’s pace (20 pts. after 17 games vs. 18 in 2011) this recent streak has caught the attention of the otherwise idle Isles organization brass. Eighteen goals against (which included a run of ten unanswered goals) resulted in a phone conversation between BST head coach Scott Pellerin and Islanders’ GM Garth Snow in which Pellerin credits Snow with saying ‘identify, correct & apply’ fixes to the situation, as reported by Connecticut Post writer Michael Fornabiao here.
The season is less than one quarter complete and while it is way too early to panic, there are some areas of concern. Primary among those is the slow start the team seems to have most nights.
The Tigers have scored the opening goal in only five of its’ first seventeen games, winning each. Success in coming back to win in five of the twelve games when they started in a hole, while a credit to the teams resilience, is a dangerous way to survive in a league as competitive as this years AHL.
Still in second place in the division (sixth in the conference) after their recent run of losses, Sound Tigers’ fans can expect a return to their winning ways with some players returning from injury. High-energy, hard-hitting forward Casey Cizikas has been skating with the team and should return to the line-up this weekend after missing six starts, providing some top line stability.
Recently returned from the injured list, last years’ goal scoring leader (24 goals in just 40 played), David Ullstrom is starting to show why many felt he would be a starter for the Islanders this year. Dubbed the Swedish Line (or UPS line as favored by BST broadcaster Phil Giubileo) Ullstrom, Persson and Sundstrom are capable of scoring and scoring in bunches. (in the photo at the left, fotog Pope Steve XXVII captures the Swedish Line in action)
On November 18 (the teams last win before the streak started) Ullstrom scored his first two goals of the season adding an assist on a goal by Matt Watkins. Persson tallied the final goal of that 6-2 victory at Providence with assists by Ty Wishart and Sundstrom. Whether the Swedish Line or the UPS Line, goals were being delivered and a wonderful line-chemistry had formed.
Five nights later fans got there first close look at the line when the team returned home for a game against the team from Hartford. Ullstrom led off the teams scoring assisted by Aaron Ness (his team leading 10th of the year) and Sundstrom. Persson would tally the next Tiger goal (his 5th) with a helper from Ullstrom.
After Sean Backman scored his first of the season, a beauty of a goal off an assist from Jason Clark, the Swedes went back to work when Sundstrom scored unassisted. Sundstrom would score his second of the night (5th of the season) 2 mins. 30 secs. later, this time assisted by Persson and Ullstrom-perfect chemistry.
The Sound Tigers travel to Hershey, PA to face the Bears on Friday to begin another three-in-three and hopefully end the current streak. When the team returns to the Webster Bank Arena on Saturday they take on the Worcester Sharks on Military Appreciation Night.
If you are planning on coming to the Sunday game against the Norfolk Admirals, last seasons’ Calder Cup Champions, remember it is a rare 5:00 start and bring a stuffed animal or three for the annual ‘Teddy Bear Toss’. After the Sound Tigers score their first goal fans are asked to toss their gifts on the ice to be collected by the staff and delivered to children in local hospitals by the players this holiday season.
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