Fractious Friday*

You know how much gets lost in a game like this? I had about 28 percent more space in the paper than usual, and stuff STILL gets lost.

OK. Second period: 31 shots. I’m still dizzy. I can’t imagine how shell-shocked our friendly neighborhood Goal Judge must have been, ’cause I’m pretty sure that was his end. Time was tight post-game, so we hit the coach’s office and I caught up with the captain, and both talked about the penalties and the reaction to the second Manchester goal being key factors (see a.m. story). To wit, the QOTNTDMTS: “We’re worried about the refs, and they score four straight goals, penalty after penalty. … They said it went off Flache. … Whoopee. We should shake it off.” –Dave Baseggio (and yes, that “whoopee” was deadpan, sans exclamation mark)

Anyway, 12 goals on what tied a BST record for combined goals for both teams (7-5 loss at Providence last Jan. 28, which also included an empty-netter). What the heck. Let’s go in order.

First Period — 1, Bridgeport, Regier 1 (Tunik, Brigley), 11:09.

Brigley hit the Manchester defenseman — missed which — who might’ve been thinking “icing,” though it looked like a pass and was a good no-call. That hit freed the puck to Tunik, who centered to a streaking Regier for Regier’s first goal of the year and Tunik’s first point in North America. Nice play on the part of all three. This is the first part of Steve Regier’s plus-3 night, a darn solid evening. I put Regier No. 3 on my three-stars ballot just before he scored his second goal; I moved him up to two in print, and the voting made him No. 1. Can’t argue with that.

2, Bridgeport, Collins 4, 15:47 (penalty shot).

Boy, is this pretty much lost. Brad Fast gave the puck away, and Sean Bergenheim led Collins through the middle. Fast tugged him from just behind — live, I almost wondered if referee Chris Ciamaga would call it a penalty shot — and forced him to shoot wide.

But it’s a penalty shot. Collins, one of the AHL’s best in the shootout last year, deked from forehand to backhand, went back forehand and scored to Hauser’s glove side to make it 2-0. Bridgeport players are 4-for-6 all-time on penalty shots.

3, Manchester, Pushkarev 3 (Wilford, Tukonen), 17:56 (pp).

Liked Lauri Tukonen, the 11th overall pick in 2004, part of that Finnish Under-18 line that included Petteri Nokelainen of the Islanders and Rangers draft pick Lauri Korpikoski. Tukonen set up this goal, digging the puck out of the corner and sending it to the right point to veteran Marty Wilford (three assists, if I’ve added right). Konstantin Pushkarev, coming out of that same corner, deflected Wilford’s low shot in.

No cause for alarm, right?

Second Period — 4, Bridgeport, Smith 2 (Regier, Aquino), 5:41.

Especially after this, another nice play, with Aquino working behind the net, getting the puck to Regier at the right post. Regier passed it across to Smith, who tapped it in. Hey, 3-1; firm control, right?

The shots at this point are 17-17, and yes, I realize now, that means Manchester already has nine shots in the period. Here we go…

5, Manchester, Fast 1 (James, Wilford), 7:32.

Like the Sound Tigers, I lost focus on this one. Down the press box, someone called “offside.” There was a roar from the area of the Sound Tigers’ bench, which I noticed too late was Storm rallying the kids. And then the puck was in the net, and Bridgeport was upset. Baseggio says Brad Smyth’s deflection was fine, below the crossbar. Ciamaga had told Bridgeport the puck had hit Paul Flache; the replay, Baseggio says, clearly shows it didn’t. But the fact remains that the officials didn’t get the ultimate call wrong — goal stands, as it should — and the Sound Tigers seemed to let it get to them. Shots were 19-17, Manchester.

6, Manchester, Ryan 1 (Nolan), 9:50 (sh).

Manchester had three shots against Bridgeport’s first unit on this power play. The other Ryan Murphy rushed past Bergenheim for one; he then took another shot on a two-on-one, and the trailer took a rebound shot that Wade Dubielewicz (44 saves) kicked out. And then came the second unit. Mike Jarmuth was at the right point when the puck bounced past him, and Matt Ryan flew by him for a breakaway short-handed goal. Four shots for Manchester on the penalty to one for the Sound Tigers. Shots were 23-19, Manchester. Jarmuth didn’t get another shift.

Then Luch Aquino barrels to the net and… well, I didn’t catch what got him, maybe a skate, but he was sporting a nasty gash on the left ear and below. About a dozen stitches, so I hear. It was freaky to watch Bergenheim and John Sullo carrying him from the far goal toward the Bridgeport dressing room… and to see Aquino just collapse at the near blue line. Maybe every somewhat-serious injury will do this from now on, but the first thought was of Dubielewicz shouting at Blaine Down to stay down last January.

Crazy or not, Aquino returned to the bench in the third, though he didn’t play. I’m used to counting bodies on that bench and coming up one (or two or three) short. To find 11 there for the third confused the heck out of me. I’m thinking, what, did Flache sneak back out there?

Ah, yes, the end to Mr. Flache’s evening. We break from the goal rundown: Penalties — Nolan, Mcr, major (fighting), 11:22; Bergenheim, Bpt (boarding), 11:22; Flache, Bpt, minor-major-misconduct-game misconduct (instigating, fighting), 11:22;

This is lots of stuff that probably shouldn’t have happened. Bergenheim hit Nolan, hard, on an icing touchup. Nolan grabbed onto Bergenheim, and the scrum you’d expect ensued. And then Flache and Nolan came out of the pile throwing haymakers at each other. The game misconduct was for third man in, which seemed a tad overzealous. Whatever: It put Bridgeport two men down. Shots were 23-20.

7, Manchester, Tukonen 3 (Grebeshkov, Tambellini), 12:22 (pp).

Shots are 26-20 now, and I don’t think the Monarchs could have complained if they were credited with a couple more here. Kevin Colley won the draw, and Jody Robinson cleared it, and then began the fun: a pad save on Smyth, a Noah Clarke rebound stopped, and a clear. I’ve got a big underline on a Colley block on Grebeshkov. But then Grebeshkov put it on goal, Dubielewicz couldn’t hold it, and it fell straight down, where Tukonen swatted it in. The Monarchs had turned it all the way around.

8, Manchester, Ardelan 1 (Wilford), 17:01 (pp).

The power play continued, and Dubielewicz made three more saves. He would make a few more as it went on, and then Cole Jarrett went in for cross-checking Pushkarev, and then after a minute and a half and a few more saves, Robinson went in, also for cross-checking Pushkarev. The five-on-three went quietly, thanks to Bruno Gervais’ breaking up a Tukonen pass. Dubielewicz stopped Smyth with the blocker. A few shots went wide. Dubielewicz stoned Tukonen on a rebound. He stopped Wilford through traffic. And then came this little skitterer from the right point. Murphy’s Law: Guess which one went in? Shots were 36-20.

It’s still hard to believe: 31 shots in the period. Even as inconsistent as the defense was last year, at a quick and unscientific glance, Bridgeport only gave up 31 shots in a game about half the time last year. Two years ago, when they were setting every defensive record known to man, Bridgeport allowed 31 shots in a game only 18 times.

Third Period — 9, Bridgeport, Smith 3 (Tunik, Collins), 8:10.

And harder to believe was, after all that, the Sound Tigers were still in this. They had to kill a couple of more penalties. But then, after they withstood another great Manchester short-handed opportunity — time to decline the penalty — Smith got this tap-in after Bridgeport used a turnover to their advantage with quick transition. Tunik, in almost certainly his best game yet, earned his second assist. Bridgeport was back in it, until…

10, Manchester, Tambellini 3 (James, Smyth), 13:17.

Gotta love this line. They were swarming on more than one shift, and this one paid off. It was at least a second rebound, maybe even a third.

11, Bridgeport, Regier 2 (Macri), 15:56.

Goalie Adam Hauser probably wouldn’t mind having this one back, but gotta give Regier credit for picking the five-hole and, with a great shot, drilling it after racing up the right wing and around a defender. And suddenly they’re right back in it again. Just looked it up now, but tonight was Regier’s first plus-3 game as a pro. Not bad at all. Macri, incidentally, got back into the lineup as a forward after two games out, but after Flache got tossed and with Jarmuth benched, Macri moved back to D.

12, Manchester, Smyth 2 (Tambellini, Mormina), 19:00 (en).

Dubielewicz was only pulled for 10 seconds when Tambellini cleared it, and Smyth, behind the pressing D, had a breakaway. Jarrett tried to give him a whack from behind and disrupt the shot, but frankly, had anything happened, Ciamaga would have had no choice but to award Smyth a goal. Ol’ Shooter didn’t miss, and that was that. Final shots: 51-32.

That was not a team record for shots against; Hershey took 52 in an overtime loss to the Sound Tigers, Dec. 28, 2003. I suppose it will go down as a team record for shots against in a regulation game, although the Bears had no shots in overtime that night. (But if Randy Johnson has a 20-strikeout game…)

Are lineups of interest to anybody? I’ll pop ’em up this weekend, and if you like ’em, let me know.

F: Bergenheim-Smith-Collins
D: Caldwell-Robinson

F: Pushkarev-Clarke-Tukonen
D: Fast-Wilford

Just showing off now: Manchester’s Doug Nolan, who wore an alternate’s A for the Monarchs Friday with Richard Seeley out, played seven games for Bridgeport in 2001-02, all of them on the road. (It was that insane Utah-to-St. John’s-to-Hamilton-to-Lowell-to-Albany-to-Hartford road trip.) Nolan is the man who has played the most games for the Sound Tigers WITHOUT playing a home game.

(Seeley’s out with a knee injury, though he has resumed skating. Friday was his sixth game missed.)

And a little advance note for Sunday, since getting online from Albany is sometimes dicey: That game against Binghamton should be the final Bridgeport appearance for Press and Sun-Bulletin beat writer Scott Lauber. Scott, one of the best writers on this circuit and the man who first assured me David Wright was the real deal, will soon be moving on. He’s got a new gig covering the Philadelphia Phillies for the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal, a nice step up. If you happen by Section 105 Sunday, be sure to wish him luck.

*-Radio geekery: What do we know and believe?

Michael Fornabaio