I’ve now missed four Sound Tigers trips to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 13 years. Two were because of blizzards. One was because the car and I kind of got knocked around that one time (pardon me, upper-body, day-to-day, for the past 2,900 days). And tonight. What can you do.
As many as three players can make their pro debuts for Bridgeport tonight: Josh Holmstrom, Victor Crus Rydberg, and Jesse Graham, 2012 draft pick with 54 points in the OHL this year, who joined the team on an ATO today in Pennsylvania. If all three play, that’s 63 for the Sound Tigers this year plus one backup-only goalie; they used 62 three years ago. (That 62 doesn’t include Mike Sellitto, who warmed up one night, or Andy Hilbert, who suffered but never dressed, or Al Montoya, briefly assigned on paper but never actually getting here, or Alex Petizian, who backed up for a few gammes. For sake of argument.) Graham is the 11th ATO of the season (and the 10th still on the roster) with, after tonight, seven games left. He’s also the third player on the team who has yet to turn 20. (Two of them are right-handed defensemen.)
Sunday is First Responders Day at the Sound Tigers’ game against Hershey. At 12:30, there’s a championship game for a three-day tournament between teams representing local fire, police and corrections departments. Save the Children in Westport would like you to know there’s fund-raising going on around that tournament. There’s conflicting information on whether you can buy a ticket to help support that fund-raising, at least if you’re buying fewer than 20 seats. (If you are buying more than 20 seats, get in touch with the team ASAP: 203-345-4848.)
Not that it affected Bridgeport, which always wrapped the night before, in Hartford, but Portland moved a game from April 20 to next week and taken Easter Sunday, April 20, entirely off the AHL schedule. Everyone will be done by April 19.
Sacred Heart has its captain for next year: Will Rayner, with Ben Lake as an alternate.
RIP, Sandy Grossman.
More closer to gametime.
–Wait, is tonight the Raising Hope series finale? Remind me to double-check the DVR.
–From Obie, Terry Koharski, with linesmen
Matt McNulty Luke Murray and Jud Ritter.
–Pittsburgh announced it has recalled Andrew Ebbett, who has an 11-game scoring streak for WBS and 37 points in 40 games.
–Reiter vs. Mannino.
–Reiter’s first start since March 14, though he had the relief appearance in Hartford last weekend.
Waiting on a Bridgeport lineup, but to start:
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON from Obie
R: T.Koharski. L: Murray, Ritter.
Obie says the scratches include Aaron Ness, which is interesting, along with Holmstrom, Clark, Antipin and Poulin. That’d imply Crus Rydberg in. I’m guessing Graham is also not counted in that list.
If they run as they did yesterday, up front at least, it’d be something like
F: Walters-Quine-Crus Rydberg
But it’s immediately not, as Gallant starts with Langkow and Vaughan. Looks like a swap of Gagnon for Gallant.
Pairs seem to be
–Bridgeport just gets through a Quine hooking minor when a rim redirects past Reiter, behind the net; Zlobin centers to Farnham for a 1-0 Penguins lead.
–Appears from the box there’s no third ‘A’ for Bridgeport, so perhaps a late decision on Ness. No shots for Bridgeport over 12 minutes in.
–Newton giveaway to Kobasew makes it 2-0 Pens at 13:30.
–Because even the pucks out of play have to be embarrassing: Obie says a puck goes off the netting, off Reiter and into the net. At least it doesn’t count. Uher hooks Leboeuf at 15:28.
–At least Bridgeport gets a shot. Afterward, Bruton puts a hit on Goers coming around the net; Kobasew goes right to him, and they have a long tilt.
–2-0 Penguins after one. They’ll carry over 1:11 of an Andrey Pedan interference minor.
–Hey, remember the instigator epidemic? That was fun.
–Leblond cuts Gagnon in a fight after the Pedan penalty expires. Meanwhile:
Career NHL games for the 20 players Bridgeport dressed tonight — 21. Career NHL games for the 20 players WBS dressed — 1,568
— Jonathan Bombulie (@CVBombulie) April 4, 2014
(Nice to have someone else do that math.)
–Mannino stops Harris on a breakaway. Then stops Walters, shooting on a two-on-one.
–We are watching the wrong game (for a different reason than usual): Springfield led St. John’s 5-1 in the first. St. John’s has a 7-6 lead nearing the midpoint of the third.
–Fourth line has been kept deep in its own end a couple of times tonight. Scott Pellerin calls time out.
–Uher finishes a short-handed rush late in an Archibald elbowing minor to make it 3-0. Zolnierczyk kicked it toward the crease, apparently.
–3-0 after two. Shots closer to even. Called Mannino “old buddy” on Twitter, then realized that let alone going back five years to his tenure, the only guys in the lineup tonight who were in the organization in September 2012 were Gallant, Reiter, Pedan and Mayfield. Langkow had at least been there as a PTO the season before, too.
–Springfield ties it late and wins 8-7 in overtime to clinch a playoff spot. Jeez. (That’s one fewer goal than Bridgeport has scored in 13 2/3 games combined.)
–Reiter momentarily banged up early in the third as Nick Drazenovic goes to the net. Obie wonders if maybe he’d caught a skate in the back of the leg. Dave Stickney gives him a look but Reiter stays in.
–Payerl and Drazenovic both hit the post on a penalty kill. Koho will give Drazenovic’s a quick look on replay, but no goal.
–Two minutes to go, which could be spent four-on-four, as McNeill’s hit turns into a kneeing minor and the scrum earns Finley a penalty in response.
—Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3, Bridgeport 0, final. Mannino 17 saves. It’s the fifth shutout since March 14 and the 10th of the year, tying the team record set in the lockout year. Bridgeport has one win in 14 games, with 16 goals in those 14.
–Mannino’s third shutout, notes Obie.
–To correct myself, McNeill’s hit was called tripping.
–Glad to hear Mike O’Brien complimentary on the postgame of the Sound Tigers’ players and coaches, picking it up in the second, working hard. In this disastrous stretch, that has not been in doubt.
–Hadn’t dug out the box in all my admiration-from-away, but in that 8-7 Springfield-St. John’s game, the league points out on Twitter that Jack Skille’s tying goal was his fourth, and his fifth point.
–Another injury on the Webster Bank Arena ice, Scott Pellerin said: Aaron Ness suffered something lower-body on Thursday, tried it Friday in practice and couldn’t go. Pellerin said they’ll see how he reacts to treatment tomorrow but termed Ness “unlikely” for Adirondack.
Seemed like another night they worked hard but got no reward. He was irked by the goals the Penguins got, though. The bounce behind the net: “a total present for them.” The second, straight off a turnover. The third, off a pinch that sent the Penguins on a rush. “We came back hard in the second period. I thought we did a good job generating some offense, generating some scoring chances, but we missed the net from some quality scoring areas. They blocked a lot of shots. At the end of the day, we have to play better in regards to managing the puck, making plays.”
Crus Rydberg: “A young kid coming in against a very experienced, veteran team. There were some good plays at times, and at times you could tell it was a big adjustment for him. … He’ll get better the last seven games here. You can see his hockey sense, his skating. It’s a big step.”
Jesse Graham took warmup, Pellerin said. But that’d been dicey: His equipment arrived after he did, around 4:30. He had flights cancelled, equipment delayed, sleep in airports. He’d been a possibility to play, but everything around his day made him the last scratch. Pellerin said he hasn’t decided on tomorrow’s lineup, but sounds like you can expect Graham and Trudeau, at least.
Oh, and since I sorted them out, the chronology of players acquired since training camp 2012, when only Gallant, Mayfield, Pedan and Reiter were technically part of the organization: NHL waiver claim last January: Joe Finley. ATO last year: Ben Rosen. Drafted last year, signed NHL: Alan Quine. Drafted last year, ATOs: Burroughs, Crus Rydberg. NHL free agent last summer: Bruton. AHL free agent last summer: Gagnon, Johnson. AHL contract this year: Langkow. PTOs: Vaughan, Newton. Other ATOs: Leboeuf, Trudeau, Root, Walters, Harris.