Defensive forward: Portland postgame

Y’ever play defense, Tanner Fritz?

“No. Not like that,” he said after he set up the winning goal Saturday.

“I was pretty nervous going out there, and right away there’s a rush against me.”

Cameron Gaunce picked the puck up in the Pirates zone and shoveled it left to Wade Megan, who carried in, two-on-two, him against Fritz, Gaunce against Kevin Czuczman. As Megan tried to do something with it, Fritz “got lucky,” he said. He poked his stick in and knocked it away.

“Tanner’s pretty reliable defensively,” Brent Thompson said. “To be honest, we don’t have that many right-shot power-play guys. We talked before the game, that if we had a four-on-three, we’d put him on.

“I was a little nervous watching the rush. He did the job.”

Fritz led Alan Quine, just off the bench, on a breakaway. It was a power-play goal, ending a weird-as-heck special-teams night.


Thompson said he didn’t have word on Christopher Gibson, run down by John McFarland in the third period, after the game. I imagine it’s upper-body but was told it might not be. Though not available for an interview, he was walking around seemingly clear enough postgame. That’s not exactly a diagnosis of any sort, but there it is. (Hey, I told you Loic Leduc was walking around reasonably well enough the last day he played a month ago.) (Well, it’s not anymore; he played for Missouri last night and… wait, Josh Robinson lost a game?)

Gibson was phenomenal. Williams was good. I almost tweeted about how many times both of a team’s goalies earn stars in the same game. (But I didn’t, you “jinx!”ers.) “The goalies were amazing for us,” Quine said. “The penalty kill guys, Holmstrom, Wrighter, Kerno, Flo, they all played unbelievable.”

Speaking of Kearns, I did not see an attempted head-butt on the video. But there’s also a spell right after they go down where they’re behind a bunch of legs, so it’s not impossible.

Quine didn’t have an overtime point coming into this year. He’s now tied for 15th in all-time Sound Tigers overtime scoring. (Three points is not the highest of bars. But only two Sound Tigers have ever had four in a season, Rob Collins in 2004-05 and Sean Bentivoglio in 2009-10.)

The old saw about “teams that don’t score on five-on-threes lose” and the old saw about “teams that don’t score on majors lose” came into conflict tonight. Can’t rip Bridgeport too hard: The power play went 2-for-3, statistically.

Prescout. Send up Mike Sislo and Brian O’Neill; Nick Lappin shows up.

The Marlies may be plummeting back to the pack, but they still clinched the first playoff spot of the season. Backed right in.

Speaking of tightening up, Bridgeport is now just four points behind first-place Hershey. Played more games than everyone else in shouting distance, but still. (Only one more game than most, except Portland.) First to sixth is now just 11 points. (Hartford pretty much stole two points and is now a point ahead of Portland, though the Pirates have a game in hand.)

Looks like Yale got into the NCAA Tournament. The bracket comes out tomorrow afternoon.

Tip of cap to the champions: Darien, Fairfield and Westhill/Stamford. A wacky high school season, but three more-than-worthy winners. Meanwhile, I left the house this morning at about 7:45, so I’m ready to go home. Keep blowing this storm out to sea, huh?

And finally… Bracken Kearns was incarcerated for a crime he didn’t even commit. Attempted head-butting? Now, honestly, what is that?*

*-Sideshow Bob, op. cit..

Michael Fornabaio