So with about eight minutes to go in this one, I was starting to think I was living a repeat*.
Early goal against, play just well enough not to finish, finally get a power-play goal, headed to overtime…
Oh, nope, no overtime as Yannick Tifu throws it at the net and it finds its way in (apparently deflected by Michael Ryan, hat tricked without hats). So no point here…
Oh, nope, it’s overtime again. At least it’s not a repeat.
Then Albany digs out a puck — Capuano actually called Skinner out for not getting the puck, which is pretty close to a first, though Skinner didn’t seem to think he had earned the denigration — and sets up Ryan at the back door to finish it off, and it’s a loss. Sort of. (Counts as one for Nathan Lawson, for the first time, so yeah, it’s a loss.)
“I thought, as a whole, we played well,” Sean Bentivoglio said. “The guys picked it up. Lawson played great. It’s a tough one to lose, but there’s definitely positives to take out of this game.”
They did get themselves some chances.
There was one in the second where they were scrambling around Daniel Manzato’s net, and Kurtis McLean passed up a shot to hit Andrew MacDonald at the back door, and Tim Conboy blocked it. McLean passed up another shot in the third, but Manzato stopped Ben Walter.
Three things I take out of the night, not necessarily in this order:
–They aren’t finishing at even strength. Since Haley’s goal late in the Hartford game Dec. 26, they have gone 192:04 without a goal at five-on-five. (The tying goal, technically even strength with an extra attacker, ended a 188:01 streak without an even one.) Over 142 minutes of that has actually been played five-on-five (including pulled-goalie time,which is harder to separate).
They’re sticking with the positives, that they’re creating chances. And they’re not wrong about that. But they have scored six power-play goals, one short-hander and one with the goalie pulled in the past three games.
–What probably hasn’t helped these past two games is that taking Trevor Smith out of the mix changes things up quite a bit. Colliton is a fine replacement…
–And since we drop the name, we’ll come back to the lines, because Colliton left 7:45 into the second period. He was driving in, protecting the puck from a bunch of defenders, and as he appeared to be going between Nicolas Blanchard and Jerome Samson, he went down in a heap. He said he got cross-checked in there. He wasn’t specific about what had happened, injury-wise, but he was on crutches and in obvious discomfort.
Hurts, obviously. It meant some PK time for Walter and a bit for Bentivoglio.
–OK, back to the lines. Capuano had talked about considering a shakeup last night in Philly, but he said he looked up and saw the shots coming. Tonight, he couldn’t have; shots were 8-2 Albany to start. So the vanguard was Pascal Morency, who suddenly appeared in Bentivoglio’s spot right before the Sound Tigers’ first power play. Then James Sixsmith was in Mike Iggulden’s place. Then Morency was with Bentivoglio and Walter. Then Iggulden was with Joensuu and Marcinko.
Yeah, that’s some juggling.
When Colliton went down, the only other second-period, even-strength shift for McLean and Iggulden had them together, joined by Bentivoglio. Walter took that spot with McLean and Iggulden to start the third; then came almost nine solid special-teams minutes, but they stayed together afterward, and the other lines were basically unrecognizable.Lots of juggling shift-to-shift. And then in overtime, the only four forwards used were Walter, Iggulden, McLean and Tyler Haskins.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys working extremely hard,” Capuano said. “We’ve got to try to find some secondary scoring. We’re doing the right things, going to the front, to the paint. We’ve got to keep working for it.”
They’ll have a couple of days of practice to try to piece something together for Houston.
Don’t look back, said Satchel Paige: Wilkes-Barre is two points behind. (Bridgeport has a game in hand.) And this division isn’t exactly Atlantic-tight yet, but Norfolk and Albany are but 11 points out of playoff position again.
Every time I connected to a wireless router tonight, it immediately became the one with the weakest signal. One of those nights.
And tip o’cap to Doug Weight for 1,000 points.
*-South Park episode 704, “Canceled.” There is no way I can provide a link that is consistent with our being a family blog.