Been hearing Brent Thompson talk for like two years about shooting the puck more. (I know every time I bring it up it seems like he’s been saying it for a longer time; he kind of has.) This time, it actually worked out. They took 40 shots, and Nicklas Treutle stopped them. The 41st… well, the gamer could’ve been all about the 41st, but at least the top of the gamer was.
Bridgeport kept firing. James Wright, five shots on goal. Three others, all in a row on the scoresheet, Colin Markison, Justin Vaive, Mike Halmo: Four apiece (Halmo with the 41st).
Oh, and Scott Mayfield with seven, plus one pass-up that made me wonder if they were going to stop firing. (They started again in short order.)
“The first period, we came out shooting,” Mayfield said; he had three shots after one. “That’s what this team needs to do. It’s one of our strong areas. We’ve got guys who can really shoot. It was nice to see.”
Mayfield said the feedback he’s been getting from staff is to shoot the puck more. Seven tonight is, well, not a bad start. “While I was up, I was working on it,” he said. “I kind of learned some things.”
He was the usual at the other end. He and Kevin Czuczman were paired, often against Dustin Jeffrey’s line, with Ben Holmstrom’s line often matched up as well just because there was so little special-teams time and thus plenty of line rolling. Mayfield and Kevin Czuczman started both Bridgeport penalty kills; the first time, they both stayed on for 90 seconds, and the second time, Mayfield stayed on into five-on-five again.
“Any time you get a player like Scotty Mayfield in your lineup — you saw how he controlled the defensive zone,” Thompson said. “He made the simple puck play when he had to make the simple puck play.”
And J.F. Berube was plenty solid enough to get this thing to overtime scoreless, though his teammates had put 39 on Treutle. It took two more.
*-Through Jan. 27
Left No. 12 in there just because he came up on Twitter tonight. Had forgotten that about Berube, who now has six AHL shutouts, including this one, the last game I saw in Manchester. Looked a bit like tonight, with little for Berube to do in the first period. (Well, looked like tonight for Berube’s part, anyway.)
Berube wasn’t too perturbed about the Steve Downie play early in the second period, when Downie wound up knocking the goalie over. He said there wasn’t a lot of room for Downie to go with Pat Cullity on his back; just one of those things, but Berube said the referee he spoke with said if the Falcons had scored there, it would’ve been waved off for incidental contact.
Mostly Meaningless Franchise History Corner: Sixth time Bridgeport has gone to overtime scoreless; first time it has won, ending a three-game losing streak. The first two were scoreless ties. (Ah, ties.) Fourth time the Sound Tigers have won back-to-back regular-season games in overtime: Feb. 25-26, 2005 (Chris Campoli in Hartford, Cole Jarrett at Albany); March 31-April 1, 2012 (Trevor Frischmon’s green-light goal against Portland; Rakhshani, there he is again, PPG against Manchester); and last season, Feb. 6-7 (Kael Mouillierat at Syracuse, Chris Langkow vs. Hartford). They also won back-to-back playoff games in overtime twice, against St. John’s in 2002, Games 2 (Raffi Torres before they got on the plane) and 3 (Juraj Kolnik in double overtime to end their longest game), then two home games to start the Wilkes-Barre series in 2004 (Derek Bekar, Brandon Smith).
Hat trick and five points for Colin McDonald tonight against Binghamton.
RIP, Abe Vigoda.
And it’s kind of stunning that it’s 30 years since the Challenger.