Norfolk arrived here without a lot of its offense. Pat Maroon, Peter Holland, Kyle Palmieri, all up in the Show. Did some back-of-the-envelope (OK, side of the game notes) math after one period, when it looked as if Bridgeport had some good things going offensively: The Admirals’ lineup had scored 56 AHL goals this season. Add up all their games played, divide it by 18 (skaters per game), you get something like 27.6 team games, or roughly a 2.02 goals average for those guys. Bridgeport’s worked out to 103 goals in 34.4 18-skater-games, just about 3 goals a game. On paper this looked like a mismatch.
And it was, except it was a mismatch in the other direction and Kevin Poulin’s the only thing that made it a game.
No complaining about the officiating tonight. Power plays were 8-2 for Norfolk, and they earned ‘em. The Ads got both regulation-time goals on the power play (one on a bit of a lucky bounce, but whatever), then scored in OT.
“Elements of the game that we need to improve on were turnovers, undisciplined penalties and — I call them making team plays in team areas,” Bridgeport coach Scott Pellerin said.
“Getting pucks out at the blue line. A good breakout against a pinch. Getting to the red line to get pucks in and get a forecheck. They’re all fundamental habits we’re working on, and right now we’re not playing that 60-minute game.”
Norfolk spent way too much time, from a Sound Tigers perspective, in the Bridgeport end in the last two periods. The penalties helped a little with the disparity in shots, but not all that much, especially not in the third (13-4 overall).
“The compete level was high,” Pellerin said. “The stick infractions and going over the edge cost us.”
The penalty kill takes a ding, actually, giving up 2-for-8, but it wasn’t bad. They blocked some shots, and Poulin was flatly phenomenal, made a huge glove save on Sami Vatanen on a long five-on-three in the second.
“Coming back, three games in three nights, it’s never easy,” Poulin said. “The guys showed up.”
He did, for sure.
Mat Clark slid a puck into an empty net after the whistle lateish in the second period, while the Norfolk forwards and Bridgeport skaters scrummed it up after Chris Wagner tried to jab a puck away from Poulin. Poulin saw the puck go in and glared out at Clark, who had gone 100 regular-season games — his last 52 with Syracuse, two with Anaheim last spring and his first 46 with Norfolk — without scoring. (He did have one in Game 2 of the playoffs last year). Guess who scores the winner, his first since Nov. 5, 2011?
After the first penalty kill of the eight, the forward lines got a little mixy-matchy, except that John Persson pretty much took over Mike Halmo’s spot with Brock Nelson and Nino Niederreiter. There were some differences throughout, and a few never quite resolved (there were only two stretches of five-on-five that lasted longer than 5:03). Be interesting to see how they look Tuesday.
Petrifying stuff in Springfield: Wade MacLeod suffered a seizure in the second period of Sunday’s game after he took a hit into the glass from Adirondack’s Brandon Manning. They ended the second period at that point, and soon after that they suspended the game. Manning tweeted his good wishes. The Falcons, unless that game is replayed this week, next play Friday at home against the Sound Tigers. Edit: A statement from the MacLeod family. Edit2: A tweet from MacLeod.
More Tuesday unless warranted.