So they’ve figured out how to put teams away. Shame about that whole February thing.
This is actually their first winning streak since that Chris Langkow goal in overtime to beat Hartford here on Feb. 7, their first regulation-time winning streak since Kevin Poulin shut down Portland up there in early January.
They’d been OK with their game the past two or three weeks, Dustin Jeffrey said; maybe not getting bounces, or maybe just the contagion of losing games. That’s starting to go away.
“Since the trade deadline, we’ve played a much more sound team game,” Brent Thompson said, “A lot of the guys are all on the same page, pulling on the same rope, however you want to say it.
“And the defense has been outstanding. I really like our young D. They’ve been getting better and better all year.”
Bridgeport’s “last 10” column now includes five wins for the first time since the morning of Jan. 17. It last included six on the morning of Nov. 23. The Sound Tigers could get there with a win in Syracuse on Friday.
“They earned a day off tomorrow,” Thompson said. So more Wednesday unless warranted.
Stephon Williams said he’s been fortunate to have the team working in front of him, two hard-fought team wins, he said … but when asked about his nightly third-period diving-to-his-left stop? “I’m probably going to start running out of luck.” Eriah Hayes had been granted a wide-open look from the slot that hit something and caromed to Williams’ left to John McCarthy. Williams had been way to the right and had to, like Saturday against Matthew Peca, dive left. “The D, didn’t see who (looks like Ryan Pulock), did a good job getting the guy’s stick so he didn’t get all of it,” Williams said. Williams stopped it, then covered it as it trickled back in on him. Crisis averted. Lead preserved.
Bridgeport all-time scoring:
(Through 4/6/15, WOR. Italic: defenseman record.)
Pulock’s goal gives him 17, one more than Bruno Gervais scored to set the single-season defense record in 2005-06. Just 15 more in the last six games and he’ll break Donovan’s career defenseman record.
Brett Gallant wasn’t going to say what he said to Ryan Hersey — “just told him to have a good day, skated away,” he said with a smile — but it was obvious that being called for an instigator on that fight with Taylor Doherty got him riled. Whatever he said, it inspired Hersey to give him a game misconduct for abuse of officials. Brent Thompson said they may contact the league to ask for a review of the incident, but whether it stands as an instigator or not, that’s water under the bridge at this point. The game misconduct is the problem, so to speak: Gallant already sat out one game for accumulating three game misconducts. This, a fourth, would mean a two-game ban, and there are only six games left to begin with.
Not sure Bridgeport has scored an empty-net goal since John Persson in that Portland game, the last-two-game-regulation-winning-streak game, on Jan. 9. (This is, granted, only its seventh regulation win in 35 games since then.)
In 46 games between the teams in nine seasons, the Worcester Sharks won 25, and the Sound Tigers won 21. Each team won two in overtime; each won three in a shootout. Bridgeport had a strong record against the IceCats (particularly up at the then-Centrum), so the franchise is actually over .500 against Worcester: 29 wins to 28 in all, with one tie.
The story goes that playing “Barracuda” wasn’t intentional tonight. If not, quite serendipitous. (No “Magic Bus,” though.) Worcester’s loss — its first in eight games — secured Manchester a division title and leaves them three points ahead of ninth-place Springfield (which has four games left to Worcester’s seven) and seven up on Albany (which has six games left).
The picture from life’s other side: Bridgeport clinches no worse than 29th if Texas beats Iowa in regulation on Tuesday. The Sound Tigers actually sit 27th right now, ahead of Rochester and Norfolk as well. And when we said the other day that Bridgeport has never finished 30th? Coincidentally, the team below them both times was an Eastern Conference team (Portland last year; Albany in 2011), so the Sound Tigers have never finished last in the conference, either. These two wins have opened up a four-point lead over Norfolk, which has five games left (but the same number of non-shootout wins right as the Sound Tigers right now). The magic number there is seven.