“At the end of the day, we’re a team that has to shoot the puck,” Brent Thompson said. “We’re going to generate chances getting the puck on net and winning the hard areas.”
It’s a special kind of day when the only thing to slow Bridgeport down in the second period was a five-on-three power play. (With thanks to Jason Chaimovitch, 25 shots in the second period is the most Bridgeport has had in a period, at least in the LeagueStat era (2005-06 on). I’ve got to think it’s a team record, but I don’t have it for sure.)
“We’ve been playing really well at five-on-five lately,” said Alan Quine, who finished with three assists. “All four lines have been producing and playing the right way.”
And all four lines, and all three defense pairs, rolled right through the end of the game. The rotation stopped only because of the penalty in the last five minutes.
“Every guy earned the right to be on the ice in those situations,” Thompson said. “Everyone was dialed in. There was no reason to shorten the bench.”
After it took the lead, Bridgeport keps the pressure up. The shots weren’t getting to the net as often, but the Sound Tigers were keeping the puck deep, killing time, tiring the Pirates out.
“I think our forecheck was unbelievable,” Mike Halmo said. “We were hard on the (defense). We had chance after chance, and the goalie kept kicking them out. … If we kept going, we were going to find a way.”
And so the lead is four points (owing a game in hand). The Providence deficit is one point (owing a game in hand). The magic number for a playoff spot is 13.
They’ve put themselves in position to get where they want to go. On their biggest stage in a long time, they worked hard, fought off some breaks, earned some of their own and got a huge win.
“It’s only going to get harder from here on out,” Thompson said.
The Big Regular Season Wins list probably includes that Portland game from four years ago, the one where the Pirates thought they scored but the (experimental, then) replay system didn’t work, and then Trevor Frischmon put one in at (ahem) the overtime buzzer, and then after a win the next day (Mike Halmo pro debut reference!), they clinched a playoff spot a couple of days later. … The last regular-season weekend of 2009-10, with the win at Lowell to move ahead and the Mark Wotton Night win over Manchester to clinch a playoff spot (then, um, the loss to Hartford to fall behind Lowell and meet up with Hershey). …Here’s the post from the day of the Lowell Swing Game that talked about earlier ones.
*-Through March 29
Alan Quine, unfortunately, did not remember Justin Mapletoft. He was curious about some of the guys ahead of him, though. (Hunter, Tambellini, Trevor Smith, Steve Regier, Jeff Hamilton, Rob Collins and Jeremy Colliton, in order.) Unsurprisingly, too, climbing that ladder isn’t particularly on his mind. “I’m just trying to do my job and play the right way,” Quine said.
Think I’m going to save some Halmo quotes about getting to 20 goals, but he did say that at Christmas, when he had two, he’d have been happy to get to 10.
Christopher Gibson returned strong. “I felt good,” Gibson said. “At first I was a little rusty.
“The puck was most of the time in their zone. It made my job easier.”
That first Portland goal was, eventually, changed to Connor Brickley; Jonathan Racine’s shot hit him and caromed in.
Prescout. Eventually. Tonight.
Frans Nielsen plays his 600th NHL game tonight.
If you didn’t stay up last night, Wes McCauley threw down the most dramatic video-review call in history. Well-played.
Chip Malafronte says Yale’s Alex Lyon appears set to turn pro
The U.S. women’s national team opened the Worlds with a win over Canada late last night.