There have been 30 hat tricks in team history including Jason Krog’s in the playoffs, and it’s undoubtable that, had he put together No. 31, Jordan Hill would’ve been the most unlikely name on the list.
Hill’s first two-goal game that he can ever remember anywhere — he asked that his memory be excused — marked a pretty solid effort from the fourth line at the end of a three-in-three against a road-weary Albany team. They had to play that way.
“We talked about manufactured goals and we talked about creative goals,” Scott Pellerin said. “I thought we had a variety of those.”
They drew power plays, and they even got power-play goals. Pellerin liked the pace, putting Albany on its heels. They limited the Devils’ chances — one goal on a rush, one on a six-on-five — and kept the puck in the Albany end.
Hill, Sean Wiles and Mike Halmo did plenty of that. Hill got the reward, tipping his cap to his linemates and talking about how he’s been learning from watching guys like Brock Nelson and Johan Sundstrom.
“He’s a very smart hockey player,” Pellerin said. “He’s had to do that before. I felt confident putting him in that situation. He’d been getting two or three shifts, but tonight was a different story.”
They rolled four for a while, up until the end, when the bench got short. But Pellerin did put Hill on the ice for the final minute. Hill didn’t become No. 31. He did deliver one last big hit on Phil DeSimone, though.
Six points behind (seventh and eighth) with 12 to play. No help from Binghamton in Hartford. Help from Kael Mouillierat and St. John’s, though. Hershey-Worcester is troublesome for Bridgeport any way it falls.
Rick DiPietro since the Hartford Debacle: 5-2, .922 save percentage, 2.12 goals-against average in seven starts.
Another solid game for Wiles. Keenan got the shot on net that turned into Hill’s first. Joey Diamond keeps this up, he’ll be a cult hero. “It goes to show the quality in the locker room,” Pellerin said. Having the new guys around, he added later, “it raises, a little bit, the awareness of our guys, the compete level in our locker room.”
Diamond heard Sean Backman yelling for the puck on the power-play rush and got it to him. Made some other nice passes, too, finding seams. Not a bad start, getting tossed into the fire on a top line and on the power play. “I felt they gave me a great opportunity, every chance to prove myself,” he said. “I’m pretty excited about the opportunities I’m getting.”
Nino Niederreiter looked fine coming back. “Not too bad,” he said he felt; just a little sore. He liked the chemistry with him, Diamond and Nelson.
Anders Lee and Notre Dame win the last CCHA title and let Yale sneak into the NCAAs.
Tip of cap to the University of Minnesota women’s team: 41-0 and national champs.
And for your off-day reading (see you Tuesday unless warranted): Pat Pickens and Doug Bonjour on the perils of social media for the high school athlete.