That’s the break, y’all: Portland (2) postgame

It’s hard to figure out where to start with this one.

How about here: Bridgeport had 10 shots in the first 40 minutes, and only four had come from forwards. It finished with 12 of 23 shots coming from its defense, and the only defenseman without a shot on goal was Ryan Pulock.

Here’s another: Christopher Gibson has had 11 games this season where his GAA finished lower than it started. In the first nine of those (which include a relief appearance with a no-decision), he went 7-1 (the all-hell-breaks-loose Springfield home game). In the past two, tonight and last week’s Hershey shootout loss, he’s 0-1-1. Blippy, but still.

Hey, one more: If Portland beats Providence at home on Tuesday, Bridgeport will be in fourth place in the I’m calling it East Atlantic Division at Christmas, having played more games than anyone in the league except Iowa.

This team is not scoring much. It has 26 goals since Nov. 20, and 16 of those came in four games. When it gets to three, it wins. When it doesn’t, nope. (Not that that’s unusual in the slightest.)

Does that add any pressure? “I don’t think about it,” Gibson said. “I have to concentrate on my own job. If I don’t stop the puck, even if we score, we’d lose the game.”

Gibson kept stopping pucks. And stopping pucks. And stopping pucks.

He had an interesting contrary take on the first period: “When there were rebounds, (the defense) put the rebounds away. I thought the guys played well, even if they didn’t get a lot of shots the other way. They played well defensively.”

The more conventional view is probably along the lines of Justin Florek’s: “We weathered the storm in the first period. The offensive side didn’t hold up our share. Gibby played an amazing game and didn’t get help.”

Shots 16-4 in the first. 23-10 after two. And still scoreless.

Florek was in the middle of two big plays. He was called for a trip on Brent Regner with 5:50 left after taking the puck toward the net; it popped free, and as he stuck his skate out toward it, Regner went down.

“Just, maybe, a little overaggressive,” Florek said. “I’m trying to make a play in a hard area.”

Florek was called for a trip. Portland scored through a screen on the power play.

Then with 2:05 left, under Ben Holmstrom’s forecheck, the Pirates’ Mike Matheson coughed up the puck into the slot, handing Florek a brief two-on-none. Jesse Root cleared out as Florek took the puck to the net, and Florek tried to go around Mike McKenna’s left pad, and lost the handle wide.

“I tried to make a move with the puck, and it kind of got away from me on the backhand,” Florek said. “Taking a penalty like that, and they score, I tell myself I’m going to get it back. I had a chance there, and I didn’t.”

It has been that kind of a month, all the way around.


Seven in a row for Portland in Bridgeport. So a new record! Sure you’re excited. Sure they’re excited. (cough)

Lines turned into Whitney-Kearns-Collberg, Halmo-Wright-Beck, Vaive-Root-Gomes and Florek-Holmstrom-Holmstrom. Defense pairs briefly drifted to Pulock-Graham and Czuzcman-Carkner after special-teams runs in the first, though they reverted to normal in the second period.

From very early in the first period, was thinking this. Seen the template way too often. (I know, I know, #narratives.) Only off by one, though Tireguy68 was probably closer in spirit.

Wondered if Alan Quine was a possibility for next weekend or if they’d have him practice first; Brent Thompson said it’ll be up to the doctors. “Once he gets on the ice, we’ll see where he’s at and make a decision,” Thompson said.

Thompson said no moves planned imminently. I’d think if they tweak a few things by Allentown, wouldn’t be a shock. Speaking of, belated prescout. Will be nice to see various M(a)cDonalds next weekend.

Kudos to the dude on the glass who very loudly kept demanding that the linesmen call penalties. (Referees, too, but still.)

That’s former New Haven Nighthawk Jerome Bechard at the heart of this SPHL controversy. Follow our old buddy Dave Eminian for further.

The Islanders’ Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier made Canada’s World Juniors team, as did Ryan Strome’s brother Dylan.


So it’s the break. Merry Christmas, happy holidays, have fun. Will be around if stuff breaks (thanks for getting Petrov out of the way, NYI) but otherwise, talk to you Saturday.

Michael Fornabaio