Changing up my numbers a bit, playing around with comparative home/road records, looking at past performance, pulling numbers out of a hat, there was about a 1-in-8 chance that the Whale would win the first two games of the series in Bridgeport. Using those same numbers out of the hat, there’s only a slightly lower chance — a bit closer to 1-in-9 — that the Sound Tigers will come all the way back.
That hat might have something going for it. Jason Chaimovitch at the league office provided this historical background this morning: Coming into this season, there had been 121 best-of-5 series in Calder Cup history. In 18 of those series (14.9 percent), a team lost the first two games at home. Two of those teams (11.1 percent) came back to win: The 1954 Hershey Bears (semifinal against Pittsburgh) and the 1967 Rochester Americans (quarterfinal vs. Cleveland).
In all, a team has fallen behind 2-0 in 73 in those 121 series. That team has come back to win nine series. The last one to do it — and obviously no team has had a chance in nine years — finished it off 10 years ago tomorrow. It lost two games at Lowell to a team that had a pretty good year. It went home and won two games, 6-4 and 2-0. It went back to Lock Monster Land and won 3-0 behind Sebastien Centomo’s second shutout in a row. The St. John’s Maple Leafs didn’t fly home; they came straight to Bridgeport.
As promised overnight on Twitter, these 120 minutes are — no, seriously — not Bridgeport’s longest scoring drought in the playoffs. Well, they’re not, unless you tack on the last 47:18 of Game 5 at Hershey, two years ago yesterday, and all six shots they took after Dylan Reese’s short-hander made it 2-1. In that case, yes, 167:18 in time, 89 shots without a goal. It’s much more impressive to say “732 days,” in that case.
No, within one postseason, there’s a longer shutout streak against the Sound Tigers, and you might well guess it belongs to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Andy Chiodo, hero to the masses.
Eight years ago today, Michel Therrien went to Chiodo for Game 5 of the 2004 East Division Semifinals after a combination of Sebastien Caron and fresh-outta-junior Marc-Andre Fleury had combined to lose three of the first four games. Chiodo allowed Jeff Hamilton’s goal after Ryan Kraft forced a David Koci turnover behind the net, 6:17 into the second period. The Penguins tied it soon after, Chiodo robbed Blaine Down early in overtime, and Tomas Surovy won it 14:33 into overtime*.
Chiodo shut Bridgeport out on 23 shots the next night back in Pennsylvania. And then two days later, well, you know how that ended, but germane to the topic: Jody Robinson, in one of his best games to date, tied Game 7 with a goal 17:27 into the first period, snapping a streak of 125 minutes, 43 seconds without a Bridgeport goal.
It may not be Kevin Poulin chasing Johnny Bower, but there’s a little more on the line in about six hours.
*-Dumb Fact Within Dumb Facts: Surovy’s goal ended the third-longest game in Sound Tigers history, but it’s the longest that didn’t reach a second overtime.