Some days as a writer, you just happen to be in the way.
I went downstairs at the Spectrum tonight not sure how this 4-1 Bridgeport victory set itself apart from the other games of late. Another good, solid, team win. Wade Dubielewicz remained excellent. Clutch goals put Bridgeport ahead and kept it there. All of these, I’ve written about before.
So I went downstairs wondering which way to go. My initial hunch was to talk to Sean Bergenheim, who had opened the scoring with a nifty goal. As I waited out the 10-minute cooling-off period, I chatted with Bruno Gervais as he pedaled the stationary bike. I got called in to the coaches’ office and chatted with Dave Baseggio, and I found we were more or less in agreement about what we’d seen.
By then, 10 minutes were up. I started into the dressing room, but Dave Karpa (another day to rest the abdominal injury) was coming out as I was about to go in. I waited for him to go ahead, and as I waited, Bergenheim was on his way into the training room, which is off limits to us sports-writin’ folk.
So I figured I’d wait for him. The visitors quarters in Philly has the trainer’s room off to the right as soon as you come in, a small, rectangular room, with the door on the short wall. The main part of the dressing room is roughly square after that, with the goalies’ stalls along the wall that, on the other side, is also the long side of the trainer’s room. So as the boys were milling around, the first person I’d bump into is Dubielewicz.
He’s always worth talking to anyway, and since I missed him after his shutout Wednesday, I figured I’d get him tonight. To show off my interviewing technique, I began with this gem: “Another good, team effort for you guys, huh?”
Well, the man agreed, and talked about how everyone’s doing his job, everyone’s playing the system, everyone’s doing the right things.
And then — out of nowhere, unprompted, he says, “Did I ever tell you about my contact lens?”
Mustering up the rest of my interviewing skills, I replied, “Ga-wha?”
Some days, you just happen to be in the way. Someone calls you with a question about an affiliation agreement. The right person whispers the right names into your left ear*. The guy happens to mention his astigmatism.
My story isn’t that long in the paper today, but I gotta think it’s got an interesting little tale in there.
Oh… Darn… I never talked to Bergenheim…
All right, let’s get to this. I have to be up in about two hours.
Bergenheim opened the scoring late in the second. It started with a nice job by Robert Nilsson in the neutral zone to break up a rush and turn it back the other way. Credit to Jeremy Colliton and Bergenheim for making something out of a two-on-two. Colliton’s shot was blocked, but the puck went up in the air. Bergenheim swatted at it, made good contact and line-drived it past Martin (not Rejean) Houle. The Phantoms protested briefly, but it looked legal live, and it looked even more legal on replay. Besides, he’s a lefty; he’s got to be a low-ball hitter.
Dubielewicz made a big pad save on Pat Kavanaugh early in the second; Jeff Hamilton tipped it out to Jeremy Colliton, and Rob Collins found himself lonely in the neutral zone. “I was screamin’ as loud as I could,” Collins said, and Colliton found him.** Collins scored on the breakaway.
Then John Slaney broke a record or something. Seriously, it’s a pretty impressive thing to stick around in this league this long nowadays, earning a spot on rosters where the veterans’ spots become more and more precious. Granted, for a lot of his career, Slaney played a lot like a fourth forward, but he has carved out an excellent career and consistently played at a high level. With Colliton in the box, he took the puck at the center point and put it toward the net; Josh Gratton knocked it down, and as it skipped toward the crease, Tony Voce knocked it in from the side of the net.
That spoiled the shutout bid with 13:39 to go, Dubielewicz’s first goal against in over 120 minutes. Dubielewicz is still the only BST goalie to record shutouts in back-to-back appearances, in March 2004. They were not, however, back-to-back games, as these would have been.
Anyway, Gervais scored on a nice wrister with 8:24 to go off Jeff Hamilton’s setup. Dubielewicz made a couple of other good stops, and then with Philly on the power play, Gervais could have had an assist when two Phantoms knocked down his clearing attempt with high sticks. They didn’t want to touch it then, but Bergenheim could, so maybe they should have; he picked it up outside the blue line and raced ahead for a short-handed, breakaway, empty-net goal.
Baseggio highlighted the line of Matt Koalska, Masi Marjamaki and David Masse for their work tonight. They created a few good scoring chances and drew three of the eight power plays — actually, each one drew one.
Quotable but nowhere to put ‘em in a 10-inch story:
“I don’t know what it is. We’re just playing extremely well in our own zone,” Dubielewicz said. “We’re playing our system.”
“I loved our effort. I thought we played hard and got contributions from everybody,” Baseggio said. “Our intensity, I thought, was great.”
D: Jarrett-Gervais (A)
D: Slaney (C)-Skolney
Evgeny Tunik didn’t make the trip.
Gervais has 11 goals, tops among league defensemen. The power play looked ugly early, got slowly better and came through in the clutch on Gervais’ goal.
Chris Madden backed up again, but it would probably be tough for him to go a full game with the knee bothering him. There was no immediate word about whether the organization might react to Rick DiPietro’s injury early in the loss at Ottawa.
Belated link to the weekly feature on Steve Regier is here. The rail and the notebook — including notes about Bruno Gervais and the letter on his shirt, Jeff Hamilton and the yo-yo industry, and lots and lots of injuries — are print exclusives, apparently.
The Phantoms’ release on Slaney mentioned he scored his first point March 26, 1992, while with the Baltimore Skipjacks. That point was also an assist, on a John Purves goal at 1:36 of the first. He scored his first goal in the second period. Neat stuff from Phantoms PR gurus Mike Thornton and Brian Smith, who did a nice job handling a press box cramped up by TV cameras and crews.
Took me about four hours to get to Philly this afternoon. I got off easy: It took the Sound Tigers somewhere between five and six hours Thursday. I-95 into Bridgeport was a congested mess***, there must have been people on the Merritt just playing a game to see if they could gum up the works, The Merge on the Jersey Turnpike was backed up for two miles (45 minutes at least)…
Previewing next week’s Ex-Files, look who’s gone to Japan.
*-’Cause you can’t hear much in the right ear. Turn that volume down, kids.
**-The more I think about it, the more I realize Colliton shoulda been Unsung Hero tonight. He did some good things and did most of the double shifting, playing between both Bergenheim and Nilsson, and Hamilton and Collins.
***-Like my head. Colds: I’m against them.