"The hour I first believed"

It’s still called the “March of Doom” down there, but here we are in the final bit of the first stage, and the Sound Tigers have seven wins in the first 12 of these 20 games in 17 days (or whatever it is). All of a sudden, it’s not “how’re they gonna get through this,” it’s “wow, they’re opening up some room.”

Philly needs the points, but Bridgeport outplayed the Phantoms. They outshot them. They outchanced them. They made the ice look tilted.

“I thought we won the territorial battle, which is what we had to do against a skilled hockey team like that,” Capuano said. “We knew they weren’t going to quit.”

The Phantoms can’t quit. They sit 13 points behind Bridgeport with 22 games to play, and of course no lead is safe unless it’s better than a seven-game lead with 17 to play, but this game was huge for Bridgeport. There are still a bunch of games in not-many-more days coming up. The team will lose at least one more defenseman by the morning. Thirteen points isn’t a gimme.

But it’s a lot better than nine.


Joel Rechlicz got his first AHL fight of the season in the second, and it was a doozy. Haley and Boyd Kane were staring each other down, were separated, went for a change. Clackson and Rechlicz came on, found each other and were off. Clackson got the first one in, Rechlicz came back with two lefts to the head, Clackson got off another right, they each got in a few more good shots (including a couple of uppercuts apiece), and Rechlicz finally got the takedown.

Iggulden didn’t miss a shift after an accidental knee-on-knee collision with Nate Guenin. Iggulden thought Guenin was lining up Jesse Joensuu when they collided. He had to be helped off the ice, but he came back, looking ginger at first but getting better. Rechlicz went over and had a chat with Guenin (and Danny Syvret) on their next shift, but by that time, Iggulden was on his way back to action.

Prescout; Bridgeport stays one point back of second, but it’s now four back of first after Peter Regin has a night.

Guenin had a (quite literally) Phantom ‘A’. I assume the actual one is on Jared Ross’ Spectrum Sweater somewhere.

Jaime Sifers is back with the Marlies, according to the transactions.

Dupont story on Petteri Nokelainen.

Best wishes to NHL exec Jim Gregory, who suffered a heart attack Thursday, and his family.

And, boy, was it weird, driving down, to think I may never make this trip for a hockey game again.

MARCH OF DOOM WATCH (or, Who’ll Be Left Standing March 16?)

Games/days down: 12/22

Games/days to go: 3/4, 7/11, 10/16

Record so far: 7-2-0-3


Not to make this sound like Lost, but even in sports, there are men of science and men of faith. There are those who break down video like coaches, break down stats to reveal truths. There are those who celebrate the emotion, the visceral thrills and the artistry of the game. Many of us fall somewhere in between, and really, there’s no right spot on the spectrum. They’re games, after all; they do what you need them to do for you.

When I was a little-kid fanboy — the first year I was a fanboy, in fact — the team I rooted for back then won a big one here. A huge one. That team had no business winning, but it did. (Won another round, too, which was also a minor miracle, but that’s another story.) At the end of that game, as the goalie did a bunny-hop and the team piled on top of him, I stared, amazed. Something ridiculous had happened. That team barely deserved to make the playoffs. The Flyers were a powerhouse. Science said the only thing going against the Flyers was blind luck. Faith, maybe.

Faith won.

If nothing else, I’ll miss the Spectrum because, even if indirectly, it’s the place where I learned to believe.

Michael Fornabaio