Even if nobody else sings along

Everyone remembered to watch (or at least tape) Lost, right? Where we learned for certain that what’s in the hatch is — SPOILER ALERT — Mama Cass records? (Yes, in case the visual didn’t tip you off, I watch way too much television.)

So there was a game tonight; a way-too-long yet surprisingly-irrelevant recap follows. They played it on the bigger sheet at Simsbury, the Olympic-sized rink, the one on which the high school team plays.

(By the way, last night I compared getting to Simsbury with getting to Hershey. Wrong, particularly trying to get there through Farmington center and Simsbury center at rush hour: It’s harder. Oh, for a coupla good freeways.)

Anyway, true to form this preseason, most of it was spent on special teams. (Jamie Koharski ran the show; it’s the second time I’ve seen him, and the second time I’ve thought he did a nice job; his first AHL game was in April, the night Bridgeport was mathematically eliminated.) And on special teams, the Sound Tigers excelled.

With the march to the penalty box (they’ve got to learn, say their parents), Bridgeport went 4-for-10 on the power play. The Sound Tigers moved the puck well. David Masse buried a really nice feed from Matt Koalska for the first. Rob Collins went top-shelf in the second period, a goal-scorer’s shot. Allan Rourke backhanded one in 5:20 into the third to cut Hartford’s lead to 4-3; Cole Jarrett tied it with a deflection at even strength about a minute and a half later.

Then, after Dwight Helminen gave Hartford another lead, Ryan Caldwell tied it again on the power play with a flip from the left point that beat 6-foot-3 Chris Holt up high. (And with Mr. Holt probably making the team… does anyone else hear an Arrested Development reference every time his name comes up? Oh, of course not: The ratings say I’m the only one watching that show. Never mind.)

The funny thing is the team had pretty much only worked on special teams for about a half-hour Wednesday morning. And the penalty kill worked well, too. Hartford was only 1-for-13, and the 1 was a funny-bounce giveaway that left impressive youngster Bruce Graham alone in front of the net; Alex Giroux did score on a breakaway at the end of another penalty. “We’re a force penalty kill, too, and the bigger ice didn’t play into our style,” coach Dave Baseggio said, “but special teams were OK tonight.”

Even strength — if my math is right, just 24:27 was played at five-on-five, with nearly a third of that being the last 7:29 of the second period — OK. A few mistakes, some costly. As Baseggio pointed out, it was the first game for most of them.

Asked the good ol’ catch-all, “who impressed you” question. Matt Koalska’s was the first name Baseggio mentioned, but he followed quickly with a few others, including Jeremy Colliton and Steve Regier, and then he dropped Mark Lee, who had caught some eyes. A couple of nice takeaways, a few nice plays, an assist on Caldwell’s goal.

Only shock in the shootout was that Rob Collins didn’t score. It’s got to happen sometime, I suppose. I’m saving up the stats for a possible story, but if Collins wasn’t the best shootout player in the AHL last year, it was no fault of his own. Was it any surprise he scored in the shootout at Jersey on Sunday? (A: No.) Anyway, Wednesday, Masse and Colliton both scored on nifty moves, and Koalska and Kevin Colley were stopped. Colby Genoway and Nigel Dawes scored on the Wolf Pack’s last two shots after Giroux scored right in between Masse’s and Colliton’s goals.

Both Bridgeport goalies left a couple of juicy rebounds and paid for it, but as Baseggio said, it was their first times out this year, too. Both made some good stops.

A goal and an assist apiece for Collins, Rourke and Caldwell; Koalska had two assists. Logistics (you’d think a nice place like the ISCC would have a phone line somewhere, though big props to former ND-Fairfield captain Kevin Crowley for offering up his pro-shop phone so we could get the story in before the game) and timing kept the box score out of the print version, and thus the real online version, in the morning. So it’s at the bottom here. Official game sheets were unavailable, but the below is what I had in my notes, with help from what the media and team PR staffs pooled together and agreed upon, plus my own typos and brain cramps. And as the saying goes, if we all agree, then we’re right. (Kidding!)

(Updated: as you can see from the daily, there was just enough time to get some called-in notes tacked to the bottom.)

Speaking of the media: It’s always nice to see Mark Pukalo of that other state publication (wink), a good guy with whom I’ve spent many a cold day at many a colder rink. But join me in quick recovery wishes to Bruce Berlet, Wolf Pack beat writer for that same publication, who’s mending well from recent surgery. He’ll be back (but no doubt still unable to send from Harbor Yard) soon.

Saw ex-Tiger Nathan Gillies after the game; as the box shows, he had an assist on the first goal, a nice setup from the right corner, and did a bunch of other nice things. It’d be nice to see him get a shot in the AHL.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go see who was at Veronica Mars’ door.


Bridgeport…….. 1 1 3 0 0–5
Hartford………. 3 1 1 0 1–6

First Period — 1, Hartford, LaTulippe (Gillies), 6:19. 2, Bridgeport, Masse (Koalska, Collins), 7:29 (pp). 3, Hartford, Giroux (Graham), 15:57. 4, Hartford, Graham, 19:32 (pp). Penalties — Koalska, Bpt (hooking), 1:28; Callahan, Hfd (charging), 4:01; Paiement, Hfd (interference), 6:53; Kozak, Hfd (interference), 7:33; Jarrett, Bpt (boarding), 10:06; Aquino, Bpt (high-sticking), 12:40; Jessiman, Hfd (boarding), 13:57; Colley, Bpt (holding), 16:47; Marjamaki, Bpt (tripping), 18:40.
Second Period — 5, Bridgeport, Collins (Rourke, Koalska), 10:03 (pp). 6, Hartford, MacIntyre (Liffiton), 15:57. Penalties — Masse, Bpt (tripping), 2:13; Lee, Bpt (slashing), 3:18; Macri, Bpt (roughing), 6:00; LaTulippe, Hfd (tripping), 8:11; Aquino, Bpt (interference), 10:31.
Third Period — Bridgeport, Rourke, 5:20 (pp). 8, Bridgeport, Jarrett (Caldwell), 6:49. 9, Hartford, Helminen (Taylor), 11:33. 10, Bridgeport, Caldwell (Lee), 15:10 (pp). Penalties — Callahan, Hfd (hooking), :04; Giroux, Hfd (hooking), 4:08; Liffiton, Hfd (tripping), 7:04; Koalska, Bpt (holding), 7:07; Collins, Bpt (holding), 7:25; Jarrett, Bpt (high-sticking), 9:12; Domish, Hfd (slashing), 12:26; LaTulippe, Hfd (high-sticking), 14:13; Caldwell, Bpt (holding), 18:06.
Overtime — No scoring. Penalties — None.
Shootout — Bridgeport, Collins NG, Masse G, Colliton G, Koalska NG, Colley NG. Hartford, Jessiman NG, Giroux G, Petruzalek NG, Genoway G, Dawes G.

Shots on goal — Bridgeport 8-3-12-4-0–27. Hartford 13-9-17-3-1–43.
Power play opportunities — Bridgeport 4 of 10, Hartford 1 of 13.
Goaltenders — Bridgeport, Madden (18 shots-15 saves), Cloutier (10:31 second, 24-22). Hartford, Holt (27-22).
Attendance — Not available. Referee — J. Koharski. Linesmen — Colby, George.

Michael Fornabaio