Working blue: Hartford postgame

Hockey folks talk a lot about plays at the blue line, whether yours or theirs. Get a puck out, and buy yourself some time. Keep a puck in, and get yourself a scoring chance. Fail, and you’re chasing.

All four Bridgeport goals tonight happened because of some play at a blue line. Kinda wild.

First, Ryan Pulock plays a puck from his own zone to the far blue. A defenseman tries to play it ahead, but Andrew Rowe and Jared Gomes are on him, Gomes gets a stick on it, Rowe goes to the net, the puck flies parallel to the blue, and Colin Markison chases it down and feeds Rowe alone (with the Pack caught flat-footed because of the play at the blue) for a 1-0 lead.

Second, Kevin Czuczman keeps one in at the left point. It gets down low for a quick two-on-one; Magnus Hellberg stops Alan Quine, but James Wright buries the rebound.

Third, Taylor Beck gets it out, gets by the defenseman and buries a nice shot from the right circle on a two-on-one. “(Patrick) Cullity made a great play in the corner defensively to chip it to me,” Beck said. “It kind of popped up and fortunately got behind their defenseman.”

Then fourth, Travis Oleksuk tries to carry across the Bridgeport blue line; Scott Mayfield stops him and finds Beck flying up the right wing. Breakaway, backhander under the bar: Ballgame.

“We’ve still got little things we’ve got to improve,” Brent Thompson said. “I think things are starting to come around.”


I think Bridgeport’s back in playoff position. Bring on the Marlies!

Didn’t get to the point where I’d ask about these five seconds, but Berube’s shutout streak ended at either 124:49 or 124:54, depending on when he was off the ice for an extra attacker in the St. John’s game. Respectable either way. (Had the whistled-down play counted in the first period tonight, it’d have been 112:30 or -:35.)

Kane Lafranchise has fit in very well, been very steady, and you can see why Thompson had hoped to bring him up earlier, stymied by the defenseman’s being banged up for a while for Missouri. “He’s a really smart hockey player,” Thompson said. “He moves the puck really well. He’s got good footspeed. He makes nice reads. We needed a left-handed shot who can move the puck, who can skate.”

Power play: (29) Bridgeport 10.12 percent. (30) Hartford 10.06 percent. So there’s that. The Sound Tigers went 0-for-3 (0-for-4 would’ve dropped them back below Hartford); the Pack went 0-for-5. Mayfield played close to 9:00 of that almost-10 minutes.

Hartford Hockey Heritage Weekend brought a nice tribute at a whistle to both Ken Gernander and Brent Thompson, original Wolf Pack players. It also brought, before warmup, the legendary shaver commercial. (It also brought a crowd of 6,311, which was nice.)

Prescout. Andrey Pedan scored one tonight.

Stephon Williams stopped 22 of 23 tonight in a Missouri win; goals for Jesse Root and Bryce Aneloski.

Michael Leighton tied Johnny Bower’s AHL shutout record.

Bobby Robins on fighting is always going to be worth a read.

Raffi Torres is on waivers. He’d been conditioning with San Jose (AHL) for the past while.

Quinnipiac put together a ridiculous comeback tonight. Devon Toews was involved.

I had to laugh when Pat Eaton-Robb tweeted Geno Auriemma’s quote about the possibility of becoming athletic director at UConn. I think he left the door open, no?

Tip of cap to Bill Cain, departing the Albany beat. (And the Albany area, period.)

And RIP, Nick Nickson Sr., whose son is the L.A. Kings and former New Haven Nighthawks broadcaster.

Michael Fornabaio