Two stories

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Scott Pellerin said he got two different stories. And in a way, there’s two for his team, too.

Pellerin was talking about the two stories about that unsportsmanlike minor at the end. His guys told him one thing about Dallas Jackson’s conversation with referee Graham Skilliter after their late-game collision and Skilliter’s near-immediate penalty call on Mike Halmo (which Bridgeport wasn’t disputing). Apparently — well, clearly, given the quick ‘T’ he banged — Skilliter had it differently.

But for the team, there’s the calls at the end that took, as Chris Bruton said, the wind out of their sails in the last five minutes, but there’s also the way they battled against the team with the most points in the AHL with a short-handed bench.

Without Pierre-Marc Bouchard from the start (slashed in the hand — hat tip to Dave on Twitter for that — and out for this weekend, questionable beyond) and without Riley Wetmore from early on (hit in the head by a clearing attempt; no word yet on his condition), they had some mixing and matching at forward and battled through it pretty well.

“We played hard,” Brett Gallant said. “Guys were giving it their all with a short bench. I thought he rolled the lines well.

“Guys are playing different wings, center, on different lines,” he added.

Losing Wetmore took away the top-line center, which went from Ryan Strome to Johan Sundstrom to Wetmore to a cast of several in just a couple of weeks. Chris Langkow got the bulk of the reps there, but at least four different guys got a twirl. The other lines changed around from there, interrupted by special teams at times.

Two goals scored on the rush, then they got one back off some momentum built off a four-on-four. Then they thought they tied it.

Two stories. Skilliter saw Bruton crashing, saw the goalie go, called the penalty. Pellerin said he sees Bruton stopping and getting tackled.

Either way, as Justin Johnson puts together another amazing goal celebration, there’s the referee behind him, waving it off.

A hard-fought loss, for what it’s worth.

….

The list of Graham Skilliter/Bridgeport games is a fairly interesting one, considering it’s only nine games long (4-3-1-1, if you’re interested). Not bad, just interesting. The Tyler McNeely three-on-five game at Binghamton (Mark Wotton’s last game*, as it turned out). The game where Calvin de Haan got hurt at Springfield and Dane Byers went ballistic. The Norfolk 8-1 power plays game. Both Hershey games here last season, both of which were lopsided in Bridgeport’s favor (including the second zero in team history). And the Feb. 22 gong show at Springfield (got to love Feb. 22s) was the last one he’d had before tonight. What will his 10th Bridgeport game bring? According to the online box, we’ll find out Sunday.

First AHL goal for Scooter Vaughan; two points in two games.

Kirill Kabanov involved more than he had been; had five shots, a few of them from in tight. “He’s got an opportunity here to show what he can do,” Pellerin said. “At the end of the day, he has to finish. That’s the next step. … He has to play with discipline with regards to the structure, use his size, have his speed be an asset. He’s got to make things happen to be in the top six. That’s my challenge to him.”

Mike Cornell eligible to return Sunday. Prescout, by the way. A broken-stick penalty therein.

Belatedly noted from Raul17 in comments and the ECHL transactions: Trevor Gillies signed with Orlando.

Hey, is that Connor McDavid on the ice right now in this staff four-on-four game? Nope, it’s Kevin Putzig, back in town for the OHL’s Christmas break, wearing an Erie Otters shirt.

Ryan Lacey on the outdoor rink at Longshore and its new hockey-readiness. Meanwhile at Wonderland this afternoon, Darien beat Fairfield Prep 1-0. Been lots of parity in recent years; this already looks like one of those years.

*-That last Bingham quote about Wotton made me laugh out loud, three and a half years later.

Michael Fornabaio

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