Thrilling and willing: Providence postgame

The song‘s been in my head ever since, and I mean, it’s lasted almost 50 years now because it’s catchy as hell, so why wouldn’t it. If anyone has a claim to it, it’s Bridgeport, but you think every once in a while when you hear it at a sporting event, yeesh, wouldn’t it be funny if the other team comes back now…

Um. Huh. Well.

I can’t think of anything quite like it in this team’s history.

“We’d kind of been on the other end of things like that,” Justin Florek said.

There have been plenty of late goals, on both sides. Just this year, Dec. 5, Portland scored with 59.9 and 49.3 left to turn a 1-0 Bridgeport lead into a 2-1 Pirates win. There’s the Matt Keith game, when Tyler Haskins scored an empty-netter with 38.2 to go, but the Sharks scored with 20.3 and 2.4 left to tie it before Keith won it in overtime.

But this? On its own, Fritz’s (his first in the AHL) would’ve been the 10th-latest Bridgeport goal to tie a game. Florek’s is the fifth.

And then the first overtime penalty shot in Sound Tigers history* after Austin Czarnik knocks the net off with Kearns alone in front. Did Kearns know it was going to be a penalty shot?

“I was disappointed I didn’t put it in the net in the first place,” Kearns said; it rolled off his stick.

Did Thompson?

“We were screaming for it,” he said, laughing.

And of course, if Frank Vatrano or Colton Hargrove hit the open net instead of the right post with Christopher Gibson on the bench, or if Gibson doesn’t make any one of those eight saves in a little over three minutes of overtime, some of them just ridiculous… it’s a cool little stolen point. “We’ll learn from this,” Thompson said. “It’s a big character-builder. It’s a great learning lesson for us.”

It’s a heck of a memory, too.


Kane Lafranchise is day-to-day after taking a hit to the head (called a match penalty) from Zac Rinaldo, who came down under NHL suspension for a hit to the head. Being suspended in two leagues for two different incidents has got to be a pretty rare thing, too.

This is four games in a row with a power-play goal. Break ’em up. (Kind of a strange play; Halmo played it to the corner and went in with two Bruins. The events of the next 61 minutes kind of distracted me from asking Kearns how that puck came out of the right corner to him.)

Not that it’s a high bar, but Kearns is up to 21 goals, so Bridgeport has had at least one 20-goal scorer every year. It had been dicey the last couple before Anders Lee and Alan Quine got there.

The Rangers called up Magnus Hellberg after Henrik Lundqvist left Thursday night’s game with neck spasms. See if he’s still up Sunday when Bridgeport visits bright and early. (Well, 1 p.m. is early enough for a Sunday road game.) He has played 20 of the past 22 for the Wolf Pack, who don’t have a game this week between Bridgeport games.

Woo hoo, postdeadline NHL trade!

AHL trade, too: Syracuse sent Joey Mormina to Rochester, Lindsay Kramer writes. And onetime semipermanent Bridgeport backup goalie Nic Riopel has signed with Syracuse. He’d been playing with Norfolk (ECHL), which still is weird to type, and I think he’d been doing some agenting as well.

Ben Thomson fought twice and wasn’t ejected tonight, because John Scott was ruled the instigator.

Missouri didn’t win but clinches a playoff spot. With Mayfield out and Lafranchise joining Leduc on the day-to-day list, quite possible a defenseman will be coming.

Playoffs elsewhere: Sacred Heart fell in Game 1 at Bentley. UConn lost to Vermont in Game 1.

Better local news in the NWHL: The Connecticut Whale shut out Buffalo in Game 1 in Stamford.

Saw “Room” last night. Haven’t seen nearly all the films from last year, but I find it hard to believe that many actors turned in better performances than that little kid.

And RIP, Bud Collins and Shannon Forde.

*-Well, in the regular season, except for that one after Brendan Bell did the same thing as Austin Czarnik in Game 3 at Hartford that oh, wait, right.

Michael Fornabaio