Basically, I found myself missing Justin DiBenedetto.
But really once Bridgeport was eliminated Friday, tonight’s story was going to be the goaltender, one way or the other. He looked good, and here’s Anders Nilsson: “I felt great. I don’t know, I can’t remember when I felt this good in a game. My energy level was good. (I felt) 100 percent. It’s something to take into the summer.” Made some good saves; the goals were good against him.
Scott Pellerin said he hadn’t decided on Sunday’s goalie. After getting Nilsson a comeback game to take with him, it’d be nice to see Kenny Reiter get a crack at that elusive win, but we’ll see which way they go.
The third-period lines became Niederreiter-Nelson-Strome, Persson-Sundstrom-Wetmore, Kabanov-Clark-Backman, and the Line That Still Needs A Nickname And I’m Running Out Of Time Wait They Wear Green A Lot In Practice Let’s Go There For Now.
As the Eight Spot Turns: CHAOS. Manchester, which had the tiebreakers all along, won to clinch not only a playoff spot but seventh. But the Monarchs were the only ones. Hartford finished the season on a six-game losing streak after a 5-1 shellacking in Portland, where a Micheal Haley bout with Matt Clackson after a no-call seemed to be about the only fight they had. Connecticut (the franchise) is idle Sunday, and unless both Hershey and Norfolk lose in regulation on Sunday, Connecticut (the state) is going to be entirely idle in the AHL playoffs for the first time since 1997, the last time the state didn’t have an AHL team. (The Wolf Pack/Whale have missed out only once, 2010.) Norfolk lost to spoiler-hot Albany and needs at least a point and help Sunday; Hershey is in with a win, but, um, yeah. (Or a point, with a Norfolk
regulation loss. Edit: If they both get a point, Hershey has the tiebreakers on Norfolk. The Bears have pretty much all of them, actually, even if they shootout-won and Norfolk regulation-won.)
Syracuse clinched the East Division and can move up to 2 with a non-shootout win tomorrow (goal differential!) against Binghamton, which is now locked into 4. Portland (Phil Lane’s first pro hat trick) can pass Wilkes-Barre into the 5 with a point or better here tomorrow, or else the Pirates are 6.
Albany passed Bridgeport into 11th in the conference and third in the division, for what it’s worth. The Sound Tigers can pass them back by playing a point better than the Devils tomorrow. Adirondack is locked into 15th. St. John’s passes Worcester into 13th with a win, stays 14th without.
Big night for the alumni: The Bentley (Alberta) Generals, with Jeremy Colliton, Trent Hunter and Travis Brigley, are the 2013 Allan Cup champions. That’s the senior amateur hockey championship of Canada. They beat the Clarenville (Newfoundland) Caribous 3-0 in the final Saturday.
And then this almost made me bawl. Which would’ve been unseemly in the press box, but to heck with it. I know everybody’s doing it, but the “Sweet Caroline” tribute here, showing various fans in Boston Bruins garb on the board, was nice.
And one last plug: Fake Team Awards. We’ll extend it to noon.