It ends. It looks like it’s going to be over early. But it’s not. And if the posts give Bridgeport any luck at all, maybe it ends entirely differently.
But it ends. Yuri Butsayev scores from the left circle 2:05 into the second overtime to give the Chicago Wolves a 4-3 win in Game 5 of the Calder Cup Final. A crowd of 15,132 goes berzerk as Dave Andrews gives the Cup to Steve Maltais and the MVP of the Final award to Pasi Nurminen (35 more saves on this Monday night).
But it didn’t have to end there. It could have ended in Bridgeport misery much earlier, preventing me from sending New Haven County my punk story on John Anderson.
Chicago led 3-0. Maltais himself had a natural hat trick, two in the first and a power-play goal with Jason Podollan in the box early in the second.
And 121 seconds later, Trent Hunter scored, Bridgeport’s first even-strength goal since Game 2. Jason Krog scored on the power play with Kamil Piros in the box. Podollan tied it with 1:55 left in the second with an assist from Rick DiPietro.
Bridgeport hit the post a few times in the next 44 minutes. Pat Leahy’s in overtime is the one that stands out in memory. The puck doesn’t go. And at 2:05 of the second overtime…
Four years ago, I annotated my Game 5 notes, having found them in a pile, if you want a further walkthrough and some postmortem. This remains, 10 years later, the only time Bridgeport plays beyond the second round. (The next year remains, of course, the last time Bridgeport plays beyond the first.)