Great night for Anders Nilsson, who held the fort, did lots of extra work this week in practice, and made big saves. And it still looked as if he and the team might get beat on a bad bounce, not that there weren’t plenty of those to go around tonight.
“We scored back right away,” Nilsson said. “It shows what grit the guys have. … It shows a lot of character.”
Hartford couldn’t clear on the PK, Aaron Ness keeps it in, tic-tac-toe: tied. Hartford leaves Lee open again, Halmo leads him in, he carries wide up the right wing, he tries a pass, it doesn’t work and bounces right back to him: Ballgame.
Not that anyone’s counting, but Bridgeport, 9-2 in the past 11, is still 11 points out of a playoff spot.
But it’s also 13 points out of fourth.
So there’s that.
Joe Finley stepped into a regular shift at even strength and on the power play. “It’s a start,” Finley said. He felt good with the pace, he said; glad to be back in the room, and especially to win. He said he sees lots of progress in the guys he left four months ago. At the end of the second period, he got back to the dressing room and found himself bleeding from his right leg. “I came off and saw it and said ‘you’ve got to be kidding me,'” Finley said. “They looked at it, and I said, ‘I’m getting back out.'” Six stitches later, he returned about five minutes into the third period.
Andrey Pedan returned, too. “They bring a lot of size and strength on the back end,” Scott Pellerin said. “We were more worried about timing … It’s a step in the right direction.” And a solid start for Joel Broda, with a power-play goal.
Andrew Clark’s PTO expired with tonight’s game; nothing official on what follows, but would guess another one. (We’ve passed the point where, for Bridgeport, new ones expire during the regular season. Pistilli’s would expire April 11, Vaughan’s and Newton’s April 13, Broda’s at the end of the season.)
Sixth-latest regular-season game-winning goal, if I haven’t missed one. The record remains Jack Hillen’s, 9.3 seconds left on Nov. 1, 2008, at Binghamton… even though it never went in. (Sean Bentivoglio’s, 10.0 left at Wilkes-Barre on Oct. 10, 2009, did go in.)
Brandon Sugden fights different opponents in retirement, from Lindsay Kramer.