Notes from the stats update: Scooter Vaughan scored three short-handed goals, which led AHL rookies (as well as, um, defensemen, though that’s obviously bookkeeping; he was playing forward). Appears he’s the first Bridgeport rookie to score three short-handed goals. (Frans Nielsen did it in 2006-07, but he had too much European experience to be considered an AHL rookie.)
Also, Matt Donovan takes over the team plus/minus record, which had stood for 11 years. After this year’s plus-11, Donovan is plus-37 in three years and an ATO; Ray Schultz was plus-28 (plus-21, still the single-season record, then plus-7). On the flip side, Alan Quine’s minus-24 is second-lowest in team history to Masi Marjamaki’s sophomore-year minus-27.
So much for making hay. Manchester blew a two-goal lead, and Norfolk evened the series with a 3-2 win on William Karlsson’s goal with 8:43 to go. The remaining two or three games of the series are in Virginia.
Overtime again in the Southern Tier, and it’s even up: Stephane DaCosta won it in the right circle 11:07 into overtime, and Binghamton beat Wilkes-Barre to square that series. Mark Stone had four points for the Sens.
Springfield takes a 2-1 series lead back to Game 4 in Providence after a 3-2 win at home. Dana Tyrell’s short-handed goal proved to be the game-winner after Matt Lindblad scored six-on-four on the same Michael Chaput slashing minor. And though former future Sound Tiger Brenden Kichton scored two goals for St. John’s, Albany evened up that series going to the Rock with a 4-2 win. Almost 14,600 people in two games in Albany. That might be the most amazing thing of the playoffs. Good on them, team and fans.
Rochester held on this time to even its series against Chicago in the Series Between Teams Bridgeport Hasn’t Seen Since 2002 And May Not Really Still Exist. (Some, uh, unusual circumstances early in that one. Kevin used the #becauseitsthecup hashtag and meant it.)
Abbotsford and Grand Rapids traded goals for most of the first period. Bet they were wondering where all that was last night. But Grand Rapids broke a tie in the last minute of the first and appear at this instant to be rolling to a big win (Edit: 7-2 qualifies). The Griffins would go home with a chance to wrap up the series. The Marlies have that chance for sure: Trevor Smith had two assists, and ex-Monarch Brandon Kozun had three points in the Marlies’ 5-2 win at Rochester, again with help from an empty-netter. Toronto goes home with a 2-0 lead.
#AHLHeat faithful on their feet cheering and clapping, giving their team one last goodbye… maybe.
— Mike Cadarette (@MCaddd) April 27, 2014
OKC and Texas are in OT at this writing. Edit: As of this writing, it’s over: Brendan Ranford scores at 15:04 of OT to give the Stars a 2-0 series lead and a trip home to wrap it up. MVP Travis Morin tied it twice for the Stars, including one in the final minute, a five-on-four goal (even strength, because it was four-on-four with Jack Campbell pulled). The Barons are still awaiting the injured Mark Arcobello.
Eight years ago Saturday night, Marjamaki scored in overtime to win Game 5 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Back in those days, the first round was a best-of-7. That’s the last time Bridgeport has held a lead in a playoff series, eight years later. Eight years ago nowish, I filled the gas tank and got on the road home. I don’t remember much of it (or what came soon before) (or what came after) directly because of that annoying bump on the head in the early morning hours, eight years ago Sunday. Annual request for you to buckle up. And take care of your head.