Turnaround victory?

Well, maybe I oughta stop making excuses for this team.

The defensive effort was stellar Wednesday night. Almost perfect. Bruno Gervais was tough back there. Newbie Scott Ford played physically. Chris Thompson? Hitting again, along with Travis Brigley and Steve Regier.

Jeremy Colliton, back from the NHL, was outstanding, maybe the best player on the ice in every zone. Wade Dubielewicz stopped everything he had a chance to stop.

The result? Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 14-1-0-1 on the road.

Great five-on-three penalty kill for Regier, Colliton and Gervais at the end of the first. It really could have been a turning point, but it was perfect. Colliton made a big play on big Lasse Pirjeta; Gervais knocked a puck away from Maxime Talbot at the buzzer. That’s two NHL players they just denied.

Maybe it was a turning point. The Sound Tigers stayed strong in the second, put some pressure on Sebastien Caron, who was up to the task. Even when they took penalties, though, Bridgeport was tough: Sean Bergenheim tied up Noah Welch, or Gervais swiped another rebound out of harm’s way.

The cycle. The forecheck. Even when things went nuts, like Robert Nilsson’s what-is-he-doing pinch as the last man at the blue line in the third, turned into a pinpoint pass and phenomenal Bergenheim shot from the right circle that Caron had to reach back to grab.

Colliton finally scored at 9:59, and in a way I’m glad there were two more goals after that, because that would have been a tough way for the only goal to go in in a 1-0 game. Puck banked off Ryan Lannon’s stick and in. Regier made it 2-0 through a screen off good work by that line. Stephen Dixon scored with 1:13 left after a turnover and a nice, patient centering pass by cult antihero Dennis Bonvie. But the Pens didn’t get much pressure with Caron pulled. That’s that.

Dumb fact: Bridgeport is 3-0 with Chris Brown refereeing this year and 4-0 all-time.

Coach Alain Nasreddine, clipped twice in the face by pucks tonight, continued to wear the C. Here’s the deal, from what Jonathan Bombulie of the WB Citizens’ Voice was told: There was some kind of miscommunication between the league and the Pens about whether Nasreddine could have both titles. It was finally cleared up that he couldn’t. The Pens have six veterans right now, so the decision is that whichever one sits out will be the assistant coach for that game. It was Chris Kelleher tonight. Thus, Nasreddine is still the captain.

So yes, apparently Nas got fired already.

(Seriously, a nice chat with him and a sadly appropriate off-ice story are coming in Sound Tigers Weekly in the morning.)

F: Bergenheim-Colliton-Nilsson
Thompson-Brigley (A)-Regier
D: Jarrett-Gervais (A)
Caldwell-Karpa (A)

F: Lefebvre-Mihaly-Armstrong (A)
(Carcillo-scratch)-Corupe-Bonvie (A)
D: Nasreddine (C)-Scuderi

Michael Fornabaio