It was another difficult weekend for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers but a weekend that gives the team and its fans hope. A weekend where the team faced two division leaders both fighting for conference Championship honors while the Tigers would just like to be invited to the dance.
Connecticut Post writer Mike Fornabaio described Sunday’s game as “… just another day at the office for Rick DiPietro in the Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ net.” DiPietro led his smiling teammates off the ice after registering his first shutout in Bridgeport since Dec. 4, 2002. (A 1-0 victory over the Providence Bruins, goal by Trent Hunter)
When Garth Snow took over as general manager of the New York Islanders, he eventually set out on a mission to turn a lowly franchise into a contending hockey team by building through the NHL draft and developing talent from within (Photo Credit: Official New York Islanders/Flickr).
He took over in 2006, but did not start his rebuilding campaign until 2007-2008. Players such as Jeff Tambellini, Sean Bergenheim and Frans Nielsen began to slowly earn full-time roster spots with the organization.
The following year saw some other fresh faces like Jack Hillen, Josh Bailey, Kyle Okposo and Blake Comeau in orange and blue gear for the majority of the season. Since then, John Tavares has taken over this team while management weeded out a few bad apples and traded away some young talent that was not prospering on the island.
Tuesday night the Bridgeport Sound Tigers defeated the division leading Springfield Falcons in another hard fought contest at the Webster Bank Arena. Hell they’re all hard fought, but this time of year with the playoffs on the horizon it’s like being twelfth in line for an Eric Church concert with only eight seats left and you don’t want to miss the show.
The Bridgeport team dominated play from the beginning outshooting the Columbus Blue Jacket’s affiliate 13 to 8 but could not get the red lamp lit. Not that the Tigers didn’t have their opportunities because they did.
In the last twelve games the Sound Tigers have scored more than three goals only three times, each time they came away winners losing the other nine, but there is hope here as well. The franchise record 0 for 41 power play slide ended on Tuesday, Nino Neiderreiter is out of his mini slump and the UPS (Ullstrom, Persson, Sundstrom) or ‘Swedish line’ is back.
The goal tending tandem of Ken Reiter and Rick DiPietro could be as good as the team has had all year. The defense is playing better than they have all season and there is every reason to hope that the offense will regain their swag. Missing from it all will be the teams’ heart.
Two minutes and fifteen seconds into overtime on Sunday, Hartford’s Brandon Segal took control of the puck on a two-on-one breakaway with defenseman Logan Pyett. Under heavy pressure from Sound Tigers forward Jack Combs, Segal found Pyett on his left streaking toward the goal. Pyett quick-wristed Segal’s pass to the back of the net with purpose.
The force of the puck hitting the twine trampolined BST goalie Kenny Reiter’s Gatorade bottle into the air and while waiting for the red light to start flashing and referee Ned Leduc to point his accusing finger, Reiter could only turn and watch with distain as the offending puck made its’ exit. Game over, weekend over and only one win to show for it. But we all remember how the weekend began.
All you are apt to read about Rick DiPietro’s start for the Sound Tigers on Friday night is that he gave up five goals in his twenty minutes in the net. All that most of you have read about him coming into the game has been ‘page-six’ journalism at its worst.
At the center of much of the miss-information that garnered attention, were ‘tweets’ that Kevin Maher (News 12 Long Island’s Sports Director) posted inferring DiPietro was so depressed about his being placed on waivers he had considered suicide. Toss in a few misrepresentations gathered during an interview that the oft out-spoken DiPietro was kind enough give and him and Maher earned a re-tweet or two and perhaps a headline.
If you pass a bus-full of people wearing dentures on I-95 in Connecticut between the New York line and the Rte. 91 connector, it could be a group of seniors on their way to or from one of the states casinos. It could also be the Bridgeport Sound Tigers or another professional hockey team on the way to or from Bridgeport’s Webster Bank Arena.
The New York Islanders announced today that they have placed goaltender Rick DiPietro on waivers to be sent down to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and has no intent of calling him back up to the NHL this season.
Islanders fans very well may be seeing the beginning to the end of the Rick DiPietro era.
This doesn't exactly come to many as a surprise since DiPietro has clearly not played up to the standards of an NHL caliber goaltender. Despite only performing in the back-up role, Rick has earned a 4.09 GAA and a .855 save percentage with an 0-3-0 record (Photo Credit: 5of7/Flickr).