Sounds Tigers Notebook: Niederreiter hits the ground running
by Christian Arnold/Correspondent
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Just two games into the AHL season, Nino Niederreiter is already proving that last year’s offensive struggles with the New York Islanders were likely a fluke.
The 22-year-old Switzerland native has a goal in each of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers first two games. On Friday night against the Connecticut Whale, Niederreiter one-timed a shot into the net off a great pass from Kirill Kabanov. On Saturday, he scored again, this time redirecting a shot from Calvin de Haan.
Niederreiter has been much more noticeable on the ice, creating several chances through his first two games in the AHL this season. Last year during his six-game, rehabilitation stint, he performed just as strong by scoring three goals and tallying an assist.
“It feels great,” Niederreiter said of his strong start to the season. “Obviously it feels great. All I’m trying to do is to be the best player I can be out there and, as far as right now, it works well. I have to keep going like that and we’ll move on from there.”
During training camp, Niederreiter said he wanted to help be a leader within the Sound Tigers’ locker room. He was given a team award for just that after Saturday’s game.
“We were talking about it tonight,” head coach Scott Pellerin explained. “We have a team award after our games that we hand out. I handed it out after the first game to Blair Riley. … Tonight, and it’s the players’ choice, Nino was the guy for his leadership and his strong play throughout the game.”
The strong start this season is a stark difference from last year on Long Island, when Niederreiter only had one goal in 55 games for the Isles. Those numbers had created some fear that his development was being stunted, but those concerns are quickly being quelled now.
- Kevin Poulin made a surprise start Saturday night. Anders Nilsson, the original starter, was not feeling well which forced Poulin to start on short notice. "Anders had something. I had to jump in," Poulin said. "I was ready. You never know what could happen. You have to be ready.”
- Poulin is 2-0 in the first two games of the season, with a 3.01 goals against average and a .903 save percentage.
- Niederreiter leads the Sound Tigers in points, with four, and is tied for the team lead in goals with Brand DeFazio, who has two goals as well.
- Attendance for Saturday’s home opener was 7,624. That is 788 short of a capacity crowd.
- Islanders management, including Garth Snow, Jack Capuano, Brent Thompson, and Doug Weight, were in attendance for Bridgeport’s 4-2 over the Providence Bruins.
The Week Ahead
The Sound Tigers have a week to recuperate after a successful opening weekend before they face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday, October 20. The baby Pens lost their opening game to the Binghamton Senators, 2-1.