-With three straight wins, helping them have the most goals in the AHL; the Bridgeport Sound Tigers have been playing amazing hockey with 10 goals in this weekend games against the Albany Devils. With help of the 2nd best power play (29.3%, 17 PPG), the Sound Tigers are in the mix for top-three in the Eastern Conference. The play by Harry Zolnierczyk has been a catalyst for the Sound Tigers, with Zolnierczyk having points in his last six games (3g, 5a). Kevin Poulin has been solid in net, with a 6-1-1 record, with Aaron Ness playing well on both sides of the ice, leading defensemen in scoring thus far. One issue could be the defensive play of Griffin Reinhart, but the rookie should keep getting adjusted to the pro game after four solid years in the WHL.
-A few weeks back, I said that the Iowa Wild weren’t as bad as their record showed. After getting swept this weekend by the Chicago Wolves, I may have to retract this statement. Losing their fifth straight and eight in their last ten, the Wild are anything but. Despite Jordan Schroeder and Marc Hagel being the offensive contributors to the team, the Wild as a whole leave a lot to be desired. The goaltending could be an issue, despite Johan Gustafsson being 10th in the AHL in saves, the GAA for the team is 3.71 with a .885 save percentage between Gustafsson and John Curry. It definitely doesn’t help either that their penalty kill is 28th in the league (75%, 16 PPG against) and their power play is 19th (15.8%, 9 PPG). Still some time to turn it around, but by the looks of it– the Wild could have another rough season in Iowa.
-After winning their first three games, the Orlando Solar Bears are winless in seven games with points in only two games. Possibly one of the big things is Garret Sparks being placed on the 21-day IR since that three-game win streak– which has left Kent Patterson and Maxime Clermont in net, which hasn’t been the best as they’ve combined for a 4.08 GAA and a .865 save percentage in those seven games. The offense hasn’t been great, either, registering only 2.5 goals per game in this losing streak as well. It’s not going to get any easier, as the Solar Bears are embarking on a 13-game road trip which see them away from the Amway Center until December 9th.
-The Fort Wayne Komets are looking like the team to beat in the East, as they have only dropped one game in their first nine and hold an amazing 6-0-0 record in one-goal games already this season. Since coming in after the first game, Mitchell Heard has been on fire with a three-goal, three-assist weekend against Reading and has only been held pointless in one of his eight games thus far. Not to be outdone, Shawn Szydlowski had an amazing weekend with a goal and four assists on the weekend. In his first game back from injury, Christian Ouellet posted three assists in his season debut on Saturday, but did not play on Sunday– which shows that there’s plenty of offensive power still to come for the Komets.
-If there is one team feeling the Finals hangover worse than the ECHL’s Alaska Aces is the SPHL’s Columbus Cottonmouths. The Cottonmouths are winless in this first four games of the new season while only scoring six goals in those four games, all by different players. The tandem of Andrew Loewen and Shannon Szabados haven’t been tearing up the league either, though Loewen has been in net for three of the four– letting up 12 of the 17 goals against. Loewen has faced the 4th most shots in the league (98 shots against, 86 saves), which means that the defense is definitely not doing their job in keeping pucks away from their own net.
-Maybe the Louisiana IceGators should see if they can go ahead and play the Fayetteville FireAntz all year. The IceGators four wins have come all against the FireAntz, putting up 16 goals and only letting up five in those four meetings. In their other games against Huntsville and Peoria, they only registered one goal and let up eight. With only two more games against Fayetteville (not until February) and not having faced the Pensacola Ice Flyers yet– the IceGators could be in for a rough go the rest of the season.