Isles/Sound Tigers - A Night For Firsts
Throughout the year there are dates when the Islanders and the Sound Tigers are both playing at the same time offering ‘hockeyholics’, such as myself, a challenge of logistics. Last night there was no such challenge, it was ‘Happy-Hockey-Taco-Tuesday!’ at my favorite local sports bar, the ‘King’s Court’ on Bridgeport Ave., Milford and a big night for my two teams.
Mike ‘Scapp’ Scappatura, a former player and huge Pens’ fan, was behind the bar and aware of my addiction so the Isles game was shown on the primary flat screen (one of several) and I fired up my laptop for the BST game. The quality of the video feed received on the AHL’s Sound Tigers’ package I subscribe to can be hit-or-miss, but Tigers’ broadcaster Phil Giubileo could increase the value of Michelangelo’s ‘Mona Lisa’ were he to describe it.
Puck drop on Long Island, where the Isles were facing the Winnipeg Jets, was followed shortly thereafter in Worcester, Mass. when the same ritual was performed to start the Sound Tigers vs. Sharks contest. Isles fans would get to see Anders Lee play his first game as a professional (historic in that it marked the first time all members of an Isles draft class, 2009, ‘made it’) while Sound Tigers fans would watch top prospect Ryan Strome (2011) make his pro debut. Neither would disappoint.
Just over sixteen minutes into the first period of the Isles game Lee would net the first goal of his young career off of assists from former Tigers’ Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin giving the team a 1-0 lead. Shortly after the replays and celebrations were finished on Long Island, Ryan Strome would turn on the goal light in Massachusetts for his first.
Taking the far circles’ center spot for a face-off deep in the Sharks zone, Brock Nelson paused briefly to position Strome where he wanted him (as Fornabaio writes in his blog). Passing the puck back to Strome from between his legs Nelson didn’t have time to see Strome snap off a quick wrister to the top of the net for his virgin tally and though Sharks’ goalie Alex Stalock saw it, there was nothing he could do to stop it. (Sharks 2 – Tigers 1)
Ty Wishart would tie the game at two apiece after Sean Backman gave up a shot of his own passing the puck to a wide open Wishart for his sixth goal of the year just over two minutes into the middle period. With less than a minute to play in the period, Strome off a turnover fired a perfect centering pass from the corner to Joey Diamond who deflected it in for his first professional goal. (Tigers 3 – Sharks 2)
Early in the third period the Sharks’ 6’ 7” Taylor Doherty was taken out along the boards by Bridgeport’s Joey Diamond in what appeared at first to be a clean hit (though replays showed a boarding call was in order) Doherty jumped Diamond who held his own during the ensuing fight while giving up over a foot in height and seventy pounds in weight to his opponent. Brandon DeFazio would complete the scoring for the evening when he brought home a perfect wrap around for his eleventh goal of the year. (Tigers 4 – Sharks 2 Final)
Islanders win, Sound Tigers win and Jarome Iginla scores his first goal as a Penguin for ‘Scapp’, another ‘Happy-Hockey-Taco-Tuesday’!
Follow me, @hockeyflan on Twitter and make sure to “like” The Checkingline-Isles edition on Facebook as well as on Twitter @TCLIsles to stay up to the minute with all the latest Islanders news and notes.