If ‘if’ was a horse: St. John’s postgame

The Sound Tigers could’ve been up 2-0 in the first three minutes. Seriously. Joey Martin had a point-blank shot stopped. Scooter Vaughan was stopped on a two-on-one with Brett Gallant; Robin Short thought maybe off the shaft of Michael Hutchinson’s goal stick.

And then Bridgeport took five penalties in the first period, the IceCaps took a franchise-record 24 shots (shots were 20 for the Caps, those two for Bridgeport about 15 minutes in), they led 1-0 as Jerome Samson got one through a screen from just inside the right circle*, and off St. John’s was.

Except that the Sound Tigers could’ve tied it. Long five-on-three in the second. John Persson hit the right post from the slot and, after the whistle, tossed his head back and threw his arms up in agony. And then Justin Melchiori got one through a screen from the right point, and off St. John’s was.

Except Bridgeport crept closer in the third after Blair Riley flipped in a rebound of a weirdly broken play (neutral-zone turnover, fanned-on shot, carom off Joe Finley’s skate, Riley’s stick jabbed in to flick it over the pile) to make it 3-0. Sundstrom got a bounce and got one back not long after Riley’s goal. Martin scored late, working in front. Poulin finished with 36 saves. But that was it.

A lot of could’ves that weren’t. They’ll try again tomorrow.

F: Broda-Sundstrom (A)-Pistilli
Quine-A. Clark-Persson
Gallant (A)-Langkow-Vaughan
D: Ness (A)-Mayfield
G: Poulin

R: Kaval. L: Horwood, Vail.

Aaron Ness was given a major and a game misconduct for kneeing Carl Klingberg in the final minutes. Klingberg needed help off.

Scratches, then: Johnson, Mangene and Jackson.

Blair Riley with a goal and an assist, his third AHL three-point game. He has six points (3-3-6) in the past seven games and nine (4-5-9) in the past 12; he’s got a career-high 16 points in 54 games already, one better than he had in 74 games last year. Had a few other chances, too, including a post with about 3:30 to go. Meanwhile, Kael Mouillierat’s eight-game scoring streak ended. But Jordan Hill was on for the five-on-three penalty kill.

The power play went 0-for-5; it’s 18 in a row, including the last one in Providence. That includes about two minutes of five-on-three in total.

So they’re 11 behind eighth place, 13 behind fifth, 17 behind fourth as well as the division lead, with 18 games to go.

Always enjoyable to hear Brian Rogers and Robin Short. (Even when they’re jabbing at the city.) Rog was especially agitated when someone threw something — he thought a cell phone, of all things — on the ice in the second period. Yeah, not a good thing.

Sacred Heart lost to Canisius in the first game of their playoff series. Game 2, must-win for the Pios, is Saturday night.

Round 2 tomorrow. Should be around in time for some kind of liveblog. Live-ish, anyway.

*-“Ooh la la,” current en-vogue pronunciation of “Sampson” be darned

Michael Fornabaio