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Rivalry Time: Sound Tigers resume with home-and-home vs. Whale

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Bridgeport gets back at it tonight at home, but the tribute black jerseys are now done.

With heavy hearts, once was enough.
With heavy hearts, once was enough.
Jeff Zelevansky

After a very brief Christmas break, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers are back at it for their traditional post-holiday rivalry set, a home-and-home series with the Connecticut Whale.

They'll be doing it tonight, at home, without the black jerseys they'd planned to wear through Jan. 20 to honor the Sandy Hook Elementary victims. Poignantly, perhaps not surprisingly, the emotional toll of the tribute was heavy enough for one game. And in fact, that will be their final use for the Sound Tigers.

The team's official statement on the move is here; beatwriter Michael Fornabaio has a little more, with an appropriate final line on the tenure of the black thirds for Bridgeport.

As for this series, both teams come into Wednesday night following losses in their pre-Christmas games (Connecticut lost at home to Providence), and having split the first four games of this year's series. They also enter this series looking outside the top eight in the East, though just three points separate them (Bridgeport in 10th with 29 points, Connecticut in 14th with 26 points), and in fact just eight points separate fourth through 14th in the East.

Kris Newbury leads the Whale with 26 points. Nino Niederreiter leads the Sound Tigers with 27. Kevin Poulin is expected to start in net for Bridgeport.

Meanwhile, of interest: An update on Nino Niederreiter's former Portland teammate and fellow 2010 draft pick (one spot ahead of Nino) Ryan Johansen, who's also going through a post-rookie development year in the AHL.

Also: Official site updates on the Islanders prospects playing at the WJC.