Well. The easiest thing to do is the overview: At 11-4, the best 15-game start in team history, even accounting for shootouts: All three previous Bridgeport teams that had 10 wins through 14 games lost Game 15 in one form or another. Not this one. Three wins in a row. Four in a row the other way for a Providence team depleted in almost every way an AHL team can be depleted.
And Bridgeport felt that depleted team took it to them in the first period.
“Hopefully we learn from it,” Bracken Kearns said. “We didn’t have a good first period. We kind of got lucky.
“Good goaltending kept us in it. We’ve got to be better in Hershey.”
“The big thing — every time you play Providence, it’s an intense battle, an emotional battle,” Brent Thompson said. Four of Bridgeport’s six fighting majors this season have come against the Bruins. “There’s something about playing them that brings out the edginess in each guy. Tonight was no different.”
Halmo’s extra minor at the end of the second period seemed curious; it wound up costing them a (Max Talbot) tying goal. And then there were four penalties called in the next four minutes of game time. They kept focused.
“I think the message was simple,” Alan Quine said. “If the officiating wasn’t going our way, we’ve got to battle through and worry about what we can do.”
The penalty tide turned their way in the third (including a #bucketlist penalty on Colton Hargrove, who stayed in the play after his helmet was knocked off with just over three minutes left); they capitalized after one of those power plays went nowhere, and the last couple let them run down the clock.
“The leadership group focused. It committed to the system,” Thompson said. “Our focus was not to be undisciplined in the third period, to play whistle-to-whistle.”
I feel like I’ve seen smaller in-house crowds here over the past few years, but in terms of the announced number, for what it’s worth, smallest since Dec. 2, 2009, and the first sub-2,000 game since Dec. 8, 2010.
Practice tomorrow before the Hershey trip, so more then. We’ll see how Matt Finn is, though the five-righty alignment did fine.
Hartford scores! Doesn’t win, but hey. Incidentally, we mentioned the other day that the shots had changed in Sunday’s box score? They weren’t supposed to change. They’re back to six in the first and 12 in the second for Hartford. Also, didn’t catch until the third period that John Kiriakos was actually working lines tonight in Bridgeport instead of Luke Galvin.
Here’s Max Talbot’s last AHL goal. Holy cro, the names in that box score, on both sides, in all directions. Assists on that goal to Tyler Kennedy and Alain Nasreddine.
Via Justin Bourne, an interesting Andrew Gordon essay on giving up the NHL dream and going to Europe.
And RIP, former Knicks GM Scotty Stirling.