Shut down: Providence (2) postgame

The last team to hold Frankie Vatrano without a point was Montreal, Jan. 19.

The last team Stephon Williams beat was Wichita, Jan. 29.

So naturally this is a clean win for Bridgeport tonight. Stalwart defensive effort. Exactly as you’d imagine leaving Providence on Friday.

Look, you take Alex Khokhlachev out of any lineup, it’s a ding. A big one. Thirty percent of the Bruins’ lineup was different from last night. Bridgeport gets back Scott Mayfield, who under the circumstances if not in general is as valuable an addition as they could get.

The matchup set the tone, Holmstrom’s line with Kevin Czuczman and Mayfield against Vatrano, Seth Griffith and first Tyler Randell and then Noel Acciari. They shut them down.

“They’re basically an NHL line. They could easily be in the NHL,” Czuczman said. “It’s a pretty big order. To have the coach put you against them means so much.”

They gave up some chances, sure, but they blocked lots of shots, they kept that line in its own end for a good bit of the first period, and they had Williams on his game.

“Especially my first game in a while, to see that committed effort, all the guys, that was a great boost,” Williams said.

The Kearns line with Kane Lafranchise and Kyle Burroughs was often against Austin Czarnik’s line, too, dangerous as well, and they did a good job.

“We played a solid game throughout,” Carter Verhaeghe said. “We had a good start last night, but after the first few minutes it just kind of snowballed.”

There was no Bruins snowball tonight. It was more Bridgeport rolling: It took charge of the second period after Verhaeghe picked Vatrano’s pocket for the first goal, right up through Colin Markison gaining the zone, putting the puck in the right corner, using his quickness to go get it and set up Connor Jones’ first home goal of the year.

“The details in the game,” Brent Thompson said. “The intensity, the second efforts. The attitude. We weren’t going to be denied tonight. It carried over from the drop of the puck.”

And Williams was solid. From the start right through going right to left to throw up the glove and rob Ben Sexton with 24 seconds left.

“What I liked about Willy, he competed on every shot,” Thompson said. “He seemed to be very focused. Now the challenge is for him to be consistent.”

Williams knows that. He talked again about the conversation with Thompson about being the hardest-working guy out there. He went out against what was still a pretty potent lineup and made every big save.

“You’ve got to respect the skill they’ve got,” Williams said. “They’re going to shoot from pretty much everywhere. … You’ve got to be ready.”

Bridgeport was. And now comes Albany.


Three goals in two games since coming back from injury for Carter Verhaeghe. “My first game yesterday, it took a while to get my legs under me,” said Verhaeghe, who nonetheless scored on his first shift Friday. “It’s nice to be playing again. It’s tough to be sitting around.” His power-play goal snapped an 0-for-16. (It was also your textbook, as-you-draw-it-up, goal on the rush as a power play’s expiring off a cross-ice pass with your one-timer beating the goalie across.)

Seems logical for a defenseman to be coming, with Loic Leduc apparently out for at least a few games and C.J. Ludwig suspended until Friday. Thompson wasn’t confirming anything.

Weird moment on the power play to start the third period. Verhaeghe and Vaive had whacks at a puck in front that must’ve made the goal line but no more. The goal light came on briefly but went off right away. Play went on a while, but Bridgeport asked for a review and didn’t get it, then appeared to be trying to use a coach’s challenge on it, which it couldn’t because the Sound Tigers had used their time out late in the second on an icing. Either way, referees Dave Banfield and Peter Tarnaris gave it a quick look and waved it off. (Well, actually, they just came out of the penalty box and went to the faceoff dot; no signal.)

Arthur Staple’s expecting the Ryan Pulock debut tomorrow in Edmonton, with the Pulock family driving in.

Albany, off today, gets Seth Helgeson and Stefan Matteau for tomorrow’s game here.

Colin McDonald signed a nice little extension with the Flyers.

A Rochester-Binghamton blockbuster. It includes former UConn forward Cole Schneider.

Only five points for T.J. Brennan today. The Marlies won 10-5 and cut their magic number to 10 points. It’s Feb. 27.

Michael Paliotta was sent back down to Cleveland after today’s game.

And big wins for Quinnipiac and UConn tonight.

Michael Fornabaio