Photo by Bill Tenca
-It was a clean sheet weekend for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, as Kevin Poulin and David Leggio had shutouts on Friday and Saturday respectively. Poulin stopped 34 against Providence in a 2-0 win, while Leggio had an easier job on Saturday with 19 saves in a 5-0 romp of the depleted Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Poulin didn’t have a chance to celebrate his second shutout of the season, as he was recalled (and started) on Saturday by the New York Islanders. Colin McDonald helped with the offense with two goals and two assists on the weekend, with Sebastian Collberg putting up two goals and an assist of his own.
-On the flip side, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were shutout all this weekend, as were the Hamilton Bulldogs. Of course, as mentioned, the Penguins are dealing with a lot of their regular players being called up to Pittsburgh thanks to the mumps epidemic going on there. Jeff Zatkoff was in net for three goals against and 37 saves in Friday’s loss against Binghamton before he got called up, while Matt Murray made 27 saves in Saturday’s loss against Bridgeport. For the Bulldogs, the mojo was gone from the previous week where they scored seven goals in two games– as Mike Condon let up four goals in the Boxing Day rivalry game against the Toronto Marlies, while Joey MacDonald let up five goals in Saturday’s loss against the Adirondack Flames. Not against the goalies, as the Bulldogs defense let up 67 shots in the two games, coupled with the lack of goal support– which caused a bad weekend after the holiday break.
-With losing their two top goalies in the past few weeks, the Reading Royals were still able to get two wins out of the weekend in a home-and-home with the Elmira Jackals. They did have the services of Connor Knapp for Friday’s 5-2 win on the road, but since he was recalled to Lehigh Valley; Joe Howe was in net for the 4-3 win back in Reading. Matt Hatch was one of the top scorers for the Royals on the weekend with a goal and three assists, while defenseman Jordan Heywood came into the line-up (with Adam Comrie being called up on Saturday) and potted his first two goals of the season in only his eighth game.
-For the first time all season, the Allen Americans lost back-to-back games. After a win on Friday at home against the Tulsa Oilers; the Americans lost Saturday to the Wichita Thunder in a shootout, then lost by a goal against Tulsa in Tulsa. However, the offense was still going a bit as Jack Combs added to his league lead in points with six assists over the weekend, while Chad Costello closed the gap with a goal and four assists over the three games.
-Should the Pensacola Ice Flyers want to three-peat as champions in the SPHL, their record has to be better on the road. Pensacola came out with only a split against the SPHL’s last place team in the Huntsville Havoc, losing 6-1 on Friday, but winning 3-2 on Saturday. That drops the Ice Flyers to 5-2-3 on the road compared to their 10-2-1 record at the Pensacola Civic Center. Max Strang was in net for both games and while he is the best choice, the Ice Flyers may have to use Matt Zenzola a little more to give Strang a rest for the playoffs and to prevent injury along the way. Nick McParland was the stand-out offensively this weekend with two goals and an assist in the weekend set.
-Conversely, the Knoxville Ice Bears may want to petition the league to play outside of the Knoxville Civic Coliseum for the rest of their season as they split a home-and-home with the Fayetteville FireAntz, winning the road game and putting their road record to 10-3-1 on the year. The Ice Bears home record is at 4-4-1, but being able to win on the road could help them come playoff time. Berkley Scott was all over the scoresheet with a hat trick on Friday and the lone goal on Saturday for the Ice Bears, as well as an unsuccessful penalty shot. Both games went to OT, with Fayetteville’s Kevin Murdoch playing big in net for the FireAntz stopping 62 of 66 shots he faced during the weekend.