To start, Stephon Williams wanted to talk about what a heck of a hockey game it was, and it was; he’d been brilliant for 59 minutes, and it was hard to blame him for how it ended up.
And as the conversation went on, he talked more about his progress, how he’s trying to incorporate the structure to his athleticism, like we’ve talked about before.
“I think it’s just something you — I think every game, even if you’ve got a shutout, you can find something to keep working on,” he said, and there’s more in the game story about his thought process on the tying goal.
He made a few crazy saves tonight, along the lines of those highlight-reel stops he made last year. One on Kyle Rau, of all people, throwing up his right leg. One on Rob Flick on a rebound, either the stick or the right leg again, I think. A few others along the way.
“When they gave us a push, Williams definitely made big saves. He did everything he possibly could,” Brent Thompson said. “For the most part the D was pretty solid.”
But he wasn’t happy with the effort from a few guys, not naming names. He wasn’t happy with the puck management at the end, when Scott Mayfield’s pass went awry and wound up in the back of the net seconds later.
That on its own is the sixth-latest game-winning goal by a Bridgeport opponent in the regular season (there was one later in the playoffs). Toss in that Portland tied the game 10 seconds earlier, what would be the 17th*-latest game-tying goal by a Bridgeport opponent in the regular season (again, one in the playoffs)? Gut-wrenching.
Of course, if they score more than one, like they’ve only done once in the past six games…
“We need more shots,” Thompson said. “We got 27 tonight. We need 40. We need shots and presence in the hard areas. Where they got their goals: A point shot, traffic in the hard area, and a secondary chance. They got a goal.”
To go one step further, 11 of Bridgeport’s 27 shots came from one line: Johnston-Holmstrom-Florek. And that without power-play time.
What’s gone into this lull the past few weeks?
“It’s a combination of stuff. The goalies the last three games, two shutouts and one goal tonight,” Mayfield said. “Sometimes it’s the D as well, like at the end tonight.”
They need consistency as a team, Mayfield said. They get a chance to try to get back to it tomorrow.
Had a whole plan about talking to all five guys on that first power-play unit about that goal. Had a whole plan about referring to Pat Bingham yelling “faster!” at his power play in practices, and about that one-timed Sebastian Collberg pass… ah well. Shutout streak ends at 160:39, about 10 minutes shy of where I start really keeping track (seven in team history longer than 170). The PP is now 3 for the last 49.
James Wright is a bit banged up, Thompson said, but he also wanted Jared Gomes in and to give Ross Johnston a chance on that line. Sounds like Wright is back in tomorrow against Hartford. Meanwhile, Kirill Petrov is back skating. No timetable yet. “I think we’re taking it week to week,” Thompson said.
Prescout. Couple of big wins already this weekend for the Pack, beating Hershey in a shootout and now Wilkes-Barre there. Still, three-hour bus ride tonight.
While things haven’t been great here of late, Missouri has won 14 in a row. Five different guys had two points today, three of them (the three stars, in fact) with Bridgeport/Islanders ties. Kyle Burroughs scored his first pro goal.
*-Corrected, 3:32 p.m. Sunday. I keep that list oddly, a vestige of the days when there was a distinction between actual “game-tying goals” and “goals that tied games that went to overtime.” I should really combine those by now…