Joe Whitney’s hat trick leads the story in this one, or at least it will in our paper. But some good things happened at the other end, too.
Whitney’s second goal started with a beauty of a Ryan Pulock first pass. Scott Mayfield didn’t leave the ice on a third-period penalty kill. Among other things from a pretty good all-around defensive effort.
“I thought the defense competed hard,” Thompson said. “Obviously there are things we can do better.” Execution, moving the puck, breakout passes. The couple of Hartford goals came from a couple of different issues.
“But I thought as a group, we defended hard. We were physical. I was really happy with (Matt) Finn, how physical he was in the defensive end.”
(Was that something they’d brought up to Finn, I wondered? “We challenged him just to play better defense,” Thompson said. “He responded tonight.”)
Two physical plays stood out in particular from Finn. One was a third-period hip check on Ryan Bourque as Bourque came up the right wing, a beauty.
And the other, probably bigger, was when Tommy Hughes laid out Bracken Kearns behind the Bridgeport net with a charge in the last minute of the first period.
“Kearnsy, he’s one of the best guys in the room,” Finn said. “He’s a veteran. He’s a leader on the team. Whenever somebody takes a cheap shot, not just on him but on anybody — I was right on the scene. It was my turn.”
It was his first pro fight. Did fine with it. Part of a big night for the defense.
“I think as a corps we made a statement that we can play the way we have to play physically,” Finn said.
Sum-up Finn quote that I couldn’t fit elsewhere, so why not here: “Great teams find ways not to lose two in a row, ever. Everyone in our room thinks we’re one of those teams. It was a good bounce-back game, especially in the third.”
Hey, the power play scored one. Snapped an 0-for-25. “The power play’s been — statistically, it doesn’t show well, but the chances we’ve been getting, it’s going to start to come,” Thompson said.
The power play actually almost scored two after Tanner Glass snapped and bowled over Ben Holmstrom after a faceoff. Whitney’s third was one second late.
Connor Jones had on a full shield. He apparently got kicked in the head last weekend.
Syracuse tomorrow. Looking forward to the return of Jeff Tambellini. Mike Angelidis was called up to Tampa Bay for the loss to the Islanders but reportedly may be back tomorrow.
Edmonton sent Griffin Reinhart to Bakersfield on Friday.
Binghamton took six shots last night in Albany. Jason Chaimovitch tracked them. Seeing that number inspired me to a couple of thoughts about the time Bridgeport came close… in an elimination game. Tonight, the Senators fell behind 6-1 to Rochester. Almost came back. The Senators turned to a Dziurzynski Brothers Reunion in the 24 hours since*; the new one scored a goal. (More Chaimovitch brilliance.)
Tip of cap to the retiring Mike Hessman.
And RIP, Rick Hodgson.
*-Darian and David forces not just a first initial but three letters of the first name in the box score. Cool.