"It thinks it's people"

In the ongoing quest for a Simpsons quote for all situations, I use the above one occasionally*. It probably doesn’t sound flattering, but I tend to mean it fondly, because it applies to my own brand of hockey from age 17 on, too: I use it on a player who’s normally not involved in the offense, when he gets involved, joins the rush.

We’ll get to that, though, because for most of the first 40 minutes tonight, the Sound Tigers played like my overall brand of hockey from about age 17 on.

Flat. Disoriented. Scrambly. Unable to clear the zone. Unable to generate a forecheck or a rush consistently. Looking like they were skating through quicksand.

What’s more amazing, that they were that rough for 40 minutes, or that they almost came all the way back to win this game?

This team has never come back from a four-goal deficit (blown one, though). Tonight, a couple of times, they almost made it back from five.

A lot of it came from 3M (haven’t used it in a while: (Minnesota’s) Koalska-Marjamaki-Masse). Marjamaki scored off Masse’s setup in the second period; Masse scored twice on good setups by Koalska in the third.

But a lot of it also came from the defense, including Paul Flache’s lead pass on Marjamaki’s goal. After two periods, Jeff Hamilton said afterward, he was talking with Dave Baseggio about letting the defense pinch a little more on the rim-arounds, to pressure Binghamton’s defense more, to let the weak-side forwards cover for them.

It worked. Took a little while to get the results, but it worked. First Tomi Pettinen led the rush, dropped it off to Sean Bergenheim, and Jeremy Colliton scored on the rebound.

I muttered the Simpsons line under my breath as Tomi was at the front of that four-man rush. Pettinen had jumped in a few times earlier, and that’s always nice to see. From the first full season he was here, that was one thing Steve Stirling and Greg Cronin always wanted to see from him, that confidence with the puck, that willingness to get up there and do things with it. A well-earned assist.

Bruno Gervais jumped in soon after. There was one shift where both Gervais and Cole Jarrett were in deep. Masse’s first goal included a helper from Harlan Pratt. The fourth Bridgeport goal was 3M on all three points, but Jarrett and Gervais assisted on Jeff Hamilton’s goal from the left side after a lot of hard work. Hamilton had done a nice job to keep the puck out of the zone until Sean Bergenheim and Jeremy Colliton had cleared; Bergenheim just missed on a deflection, and finally Hamilton scored from the left side with 4:35 remaining.

But they never got even. Hamilton was a little upset about a shot from the left side (in the story tomorrow). Koalska and Masse got stopped later on that power play. Billy Thompson made a bunch of stops on the way down to a minute. Rob Collins was blocked a bunch more times. Bridgeport outshot Bingo 20-4 in the third period. It was almost an amazing story.

Wasn’t a bad story as it was, but it wasn’t amazing.

F: Bergenheim-Colliton-Hamilton (A)
Thompson-Collins (A)-Regier
D: Jarrett-Gervais
Rourke (A)-Pratt

F: Hamel (C)-Martins (A)-Bois
Cullen-Johnson-Heerema (A)
D: Malec-Novak

Norfolk lost to stay a point behind with four in hand. Two of those are Tuesday and Friday of this week as the Admirals play every day with doubleheaders on Saturdays. (Or does it only seem that way?)

For a brief time today, the AHL’s stats service listed Grand Rapids as having clinched a playoff spot. It was corrected later. The Griffins are the first team to ensure it won’t finish last in its division. (No word on Grand Rapids’ totals of “insurance goals,” or how many PIMs per game their leading scorers have.)

Bringing new meaning to “delayed penalty” tonight: In the second period, the officials hit Binghamton with a too-many-men penalty at least five seconds after it happened.

No update right now on Vince Macri.

Unusual postgame experience. Might even tell you about it tomorrow…

*-It appears as “He thinks he’s people” in this episode when Bart’s elephant, Stampy, breaks the side of the house; then, when Bart’s dog, Santa’s Little Helper, sneezes.

Michael Fornabaio