The gamer is almost exclusively about the last 35 seconds, so I’ll try to dwell on the first 59:25 here after mentioning that Brett Gallant, if nothing somehow changes, has a suspension of two automatic games coming to him, one for the instigator in the last five minutes, one for his third game misconduct (he had two fights against Springfield as well on Oct. 19). I did point out that he can’t be doing this stuff; he’s on a scoring streak. His response, fairly serious, is in the gamer.
(Penalty minutes so far: Bridgeport 113, Springfield 93. I say “so far” because (a) you never know; (2) that was Ponich’s second fight, too (Ponich-Mayfield, Courtnall-Vogelhuber, Pedan-Craig, Vaughan-Sifers, if you were curious).)
Those first 59:25, though… you know, since they first met, Bridgeport is 7-0-0-1 against everyone not named Springfield, 1-2 against the Falcons with the win in overtime. Springfield, for its part, is 7-7 overall against everyone but Bridgeport, 2-0-1-0 against the Sound Tigers.
“They’re just a good team,” Kael Mouillierat said. “They work really hard. They’re pretty similar to us. They get pucks deep. It’s just not easy to play against. Three times in a row we’ve had to come back late.”
All three games have been Sunday-afternoon games, two of them finishing off three-in-threes.
“They locked it down pretty good the last two times we’ve played,” said Ryan Pulock, who scored his fourth goal in three games to start the comeback in the third, but had his shot blocked to turn into an empty-netter. “We haven’t been our best (against Springfield). If we don’t play a full 60 minutes, things don’t go the way we want them to. We have to clean it up.”
Brent Thompson: “To me, Springfield’s a good hockey team, and what their asset is is they work very, very hard. If you think it’s going to be an easy game, you’re sorely mistaken,” Thompson said. “They’re detail-oriented. They’re physical. Tonight, they got great goaltending (Anton Forsberg made a couple of brilliant saves on Harry Zolnierczyk and Mouillierat on a third-period power play). They just keep coming. … You have to match that work ethic.”
When you don’t, you get the first two periods. We were told that Thompson gave Bridgeport a pretty stern, vigorous talking-to in the second intermission.
“Give Springfield credit. They outworked us the first two periods,” Thompson said. “We responded very well in the third. Unfortunately, the referees got involved. It ended up being a bit of a mess at the end.”
Thompson credited the team’s leadership for taking the reins. “They worked,” he said. He rewarded them. Late in the second into the third, Zolnierczyk, Colin McDonald and Mouillierat played together and double-shifted at times. Mike Halmo, C.J. Stretch and Colton Gillies (a cannonball in the second period) made the most-frequent second line early in the third. The other combinations got mix-and-matchy the rest of the way, and then it turned into a penalty-kill contest in the last five minutes. Springfield scored on a second rebound to take the lead on the five-on-three, then added a power-play empty-netter to seal it.
Then Josh Anderson put a beating on Mouillierat, then Gallant went after Jaime Sifers in apparent retaliation, then Mike Halmo and Jerry D’Amigo negated a fourth Springfield power-play goal, and then it was over.
For now. It’s basically a home-and-home: Neither team plays again until Friday at the MassMutual Center, where these two teams have played a couple like this.
“If we could pull any positives,” Thompson said, “we did stay together.”
Heard that before somewhere.
Pretty sure Alan Quine had two shifts in the third period as Bridgeport shortened the bench (unless, did he finish the game? Maybe three). He won a puck from Larkin and extended his scoring streak to 10 games when Mouillierat stuffed the puck in. Mouillierat, getting the Gordie Howe hat trick with the fight, has a seven-game streak. And Colin McDonald has 10 points in the past five games.
Gallant had two points in three games to open the 2011-12 season, but he’d never had a scoring streak as a pro. He must’ve had several in the Maritime League in 2008-09, with 73 points in 50 games, but their site doesn’t have stats from that season. He had a pair of two-game streaks in the QMJHL.
Kerby Rychel, Warren’s son, had his first pro two-point game here Nov. 2. He got his second today, then put the cherry on top with the game-winner. You know, I’d remembered Warren was tough as nails… but had forgotten he was 300 PIM in the NHL twice tough. How about that 1991-92 season? Between the AHL and the IHL, 81 games, 29-35-64, 376 PIM. (Plus 0-3-3 and 51 PIM in eight playoff games. No big deal.)
Elsewhere, Sean Backman picks up an assist on Manchester’s three-on-three overtime goal tonight. Penalty shot each way in the second period in Hershey tonight. (Harry Dumas says bah! I called two the same way there once.)
Troy Grosenick, occasional Bridgeport visitor (in college), made a respectable NHL debut tonight.
From last night, Paul Thompson got a game misconduct for running into Portland goalie Louis Domingue. Mike McKenna had some interesting comments. Goalie coach Alfie Michaud dressed as the emergency backup for Portland today.
Speaking of Gordie Howe, hoping good things for Mr. Hockey.
The alma mater sends a features reporter to watch fencing. It is glorious.
And I’m fine with Dwight Gooden turning 50 as long as I don’t have to go to his Baseball Reference page, because I usually cry when I do. (Note the absence of a link.)
Team’s off tomorrow. More Tuesday.