Sound Tigers Hudson, other tryouts get last shot to impress
BRIDGEPORT — Woody Hudson calls himself a grinder, but watching him in training camp, Bridgeport Sound Tigers coach sees a little more.
“I think he’s a power forward, a big, strong guy who can really protect the puck. He goes to the dirty areas we talk about,” Thompson said.
“He scored 20 goals in the ECHL,” Thompson added. “That shows he’s got a little touch around the net.”
Hudson just missed the round number in the regular season last year with Bridgeport’s ECHL affiliate, the Worcester Railers, scoring 19 goals and 10 assists in his rookie pro season out of St. Lawrence University. He added one in the playoffs, though, along with an assist.
He scored a couple of goals as well in an intrasquad scrimmage Thursday, and he’ll get a chance in an AHL exhibition game on Saturday when Bridgeport meets the Hartford Wolf Pack at Trinity College.
He has enjoyed the week in Bridgeport, playing against players who’ve been in the NHL, prospects on their way, playing at a high level. It’s a jump from where he has been.
“Being a grinder, sometimes just watching I can really learn a lot,” Hudson said.
Hudson, a native of the Rochester, N.Y., area, scored 16 goals in his four years at St. Lawrence, never more than six in a season, while playing over 33 games each year.
He felt his confidence grow, offensively in particular, in the pro game under Worcester coach Jamie Russell (who has been in town this week along with new Railers assistant coach Derek Army).
“It was a 180 from one year to the next,” Hudson said.
Russell, owner Cliff Rucker and team president Mike Myers made it a great experience, he said, and the crowds kept coming to the DCU Center.
But he’s taking his shot at sticking in Bridgeport, as are three other players with Railers contracts who are in camp, a few other tryouts and an assortment of others on the bubble who’ll be looking to stick around when the AHL regular season begins Oct. 6.
“A couple of guys made some waves even in (Thursday’s) scrimmage,” Thompson said. “I want to see that consistently.”
Saturday’s will be Bridgeport’s only exhibition game; another, set for Friday, was canceled earlier this week.
“There are jobs up for grabs,” Thompson said.
It looks as if Bridgeport will have first-round picks Josh Ho-Sang, Michael Dal Colle and Kieffer Bellows in Saturday’s lineup, among some other prospects, with some experience as well around the lineup, including the expected regular goaltending tandem.
Christopher Gibson is expected to start in goal with Jeremy Smith also likely to get some playing time.
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