Lighthouse Hockey is proud to debut “Tiger Talks,” a series where we will feature a player from the Islanders AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. We will begin with the 2016 first-round pick, Kieffer Bellows, who began his professional career this month.
Lighthouse Hockey: You have played both at the collegiate and junior levels, what is the biggest difference between the two and the AHL?
Kieffer Bellows: The way the guys mentally think the game. They are at a higher level and really moving the pace, creating more time and space for other players so you really have to keep your head on a swivel out there. You have to keep your mind focused on every single shift and really focused on the little details.
LH: How important was scoring a goal in your debut?
KB: Obviously scoring your first professional goal in your first game is very helpful and very relieving. With the jitteriness of the first game and the excitement surrounding it It calms you down and relaxes you for the rest of the game.
LH: Your shot is one of the best features of your game, but I bet you didn’t expect the way you scored your first goal.
KB: No not at all. But I’ll take them all, off the skates, on the power play. The thing is they don’t ask how, they just ask how many.
LH: What area do you think you need to work on to improve your game?
KB: Right now I’m working on all areas of my game to try to be a better player and try to help myself become a more well rounded player so when I get the call to play in New York I’ll be ready for it.
LH: When the Islanders sent you to Bridgeport during training camp did Barry Trotz or Lou Lamoriello have any words of wisdom for you?
KB: They just wanted me to come down here, work hard and keep developing my game. Go to the rink, work hard at the rink, keep yourself rested, eat well away from the rink and act like a pro every single day.
LH: The Sound Tigers are loaded with veterans, the Bourque brothers (Chris and Ryan), Steve Bernier, Ben Holmstrom to name a few, have any of the vets taken you under their wing?
KB: I think all of them have done a fantastic job taking the younger players and just helping them every single day, for game days, at practice and helping us with all of the little details of the game. For game days, helping us adjust to the teams, telling us the opponent’s style of play.
LH: What has it been like to have Brent Thompson as a coach?
KB: Tommer has been fantastic. He really engages with the players one-on-one and help us develop our game. He also helps the team develop its game in a well rounded way so we are very good offensively with a sound defensive side.
LH: Who are your roommates?
KB: Ryan Hitchcock and Chris Casto
LH: How has that been?
KB: It’s been fantastic. Chris and Hitch are great roommates, fantastic guys. Chris is from Minnesota, like myself and I got to know Hitch during the summer in developmental camp and training out in New York. We have been finding Milford great, having a good time and just trying to enjoy ourselves away from the rink. Whether it’s getting a bite to eat or enjoying this great weather we have had lately.
LH: What do you like to do in your spare time?
KB: Hang out with the guys, go to the movies, go to the mall. Hang with the guys as much as possible. We are with them all the time, you build better relationships away from the rink as well.
LH: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
KB: That’s a tough one! I would probably say the Lord of the Rings series.
LH: What’s the last movie you saw?
KB: A Star is Born
LH: I have to go see it. I just saw Halloween. It was good.
KB: Awesome, I want to see it. I do like a good horror movie.
Thanks to Grave Digger and Monster Jam, the Sound Tigers (3-3-1) are on the road this weekend with stops in Hartford and Providence.