Facing elimination (update: Eliminated): Toronto Game 3 liveblog

Bridgeport, as you may have gathered from all those posts about playoff futility this week, is 2-7 all-time when facing elimination. (Well, two posts, I guess. It feels like more because my punk story, now twice-updated in case this thing goes multiple-OTs tonight, is about it, too.) The Sound Tigers won the first, Game 7 against Hamilton in the Eastern Conference Final in 2002, then lost the next five before surviving, down 3-0, against Hershey in 2010.

History is history. But going up against the best team in the league, back in their barn, even with your No.1 goalie back, ain’t easy.

We’ll have Paul up on AHL Live. We’ll follow Paul, Lance Hornby, Paul Hendrick and the Marlies, among many others who’ll surely be covering.

If all was as it appeared Tuesday and, from what we gathered second- and third-hand yesterday, it’ll be Anthony Greco in for James Wright, Parker Wotherspoon in for Matt Finn, and those “in for”s only referring to the 18-man, because only one unit of the seven looked to be the same as Sunday (Lafranchise-Burroughs). We’ll see how they rush. And we’ll see what the power play looks like without Wright and Finn, who had been two-fifths of the top unit.

Other games tonight: Albany back at Utica trying a second time to close out the Comets; and three tied series: Portland-Hershey 3 in Chocotown; San Jose-Ontario 3, down in Southern California now; and Texas-San Diego 3, with the cavalry coming for the Gulls, partly after the Ducks fell in Game 7 last night and partly from other directions.

There’s a report (h/t EliteProspects.com) linking Mark Arcobello with Bern, Switzerland.

Syracuse and Tampa Bay extended their affiliation for six more years.

Tip of cap to Colton Orr.

And RIP, Courtney Druce and Blackie Sherrod.

Game 1: Toronto 4, Bridgeport 1
Game 2: Toronto 3, Bridgeport 0
Game 3: Thursday at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
Game 4*: Friday at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
Game 5*: Sunday at Toronto, 3 p.m.

Tonight’s officials: R: Chmielewski, Schlenker; L: Hastings, McCrank.

More closer to gametime (7:30 start, remember).

Todd Crocker says Antoine Bibeau vs. Christopher Gibson.

BRIDGEPORT as we expect
F: Kearns (A)-Cliche-Collberg
Florek-B.Holmstrom (C)-Halmo
Dal Colle-Gomes-Markison
D: Wotherspoon-Mayfield (A)
G: Gibson

TORONTO from Todd
F: Leivo-Arcobello-Brown
Clune (A)-Gauthier-C.Smith
D: Campbell (C)-C.Carrick
G: Bibeau

–Bridgeport starts Cliche’s line with Wotherspoon-Mayfield. Meanwhile, the Devils scored early and often and lead Utica 3-0 after one.

–Toronto starts the Carricks with their assorted regular cohorts.

–Game’s on, and Scott Mayfield, wearing an A, reports Paul, takes a high hit from Sam Carrick, might’ve been a penalty in his opinion but none called. If the AHL Live camera wasn’t on the crowd I’d offer my own.

–Nylander for a trip at 4:45, first penalty of the game. Sounded like Toronto had the puck, too. Haven’t gotten a good read on the matchups, if Toronto’s doing them or Bridgeport’s trying to get them on the fly, from the audio. Sounded like the Gomes line was in the offensive zone against Arcobello but not positive.

–The first answer to “who replaces Wright and Finn” appears to be Collberg and Wotherspoon, from what Paul said, with Kearns, Cliche and Dal Colle.

–Cliche on a rebound, and it’s 1-0 Bridgeport at 6:00. Second lead of the series for the Sound Tigers. See how they do with this one.

–Dal Colle gets his first point in the pros; second assist to Kearns.

–Got video back, though the audio’s 10 seconds off. Can ask for only so much. A couple of long shifts in the Bridgeport end and good saves for Gibson before Lafranchise is called for a hold at 9:34.

–Connor Carrick scores on the power play. Had Leivo and Czuczman as a screen as he stepped up from the left point. 1-1 a little past midway first. Shots 12-5 Toronto.

–A nifty Wotherspoon rush stopped by Bibeau; the Marlies counter, with Leipsic putting one just wide and a long shift ensuing. Gibson made a nice left-pad save on Hyman in tight.

–A couple of good chances for Bridgeport, including a Markison partial breakaway with about 3:30 left and a Czuczman (I think it was) shot through a screen that sat to the left of the goal for a second. Last couple of minutes of the first.

–Collberg trips Percy near the point after a shift that got longish in the Bridgeport zone. Second Toronto PP with 48.7 seconds left.

–Tied at 1 after one; that power play time carries over. I didn’t realize the Marlies had to climb steps to get to their dressing room. Neat. Shots were 19-7 Toronto.

–Paul tweeted a .gif of the Cliche goal.

–35 seconds into the second, Connor Carrick trips Florek (which is called), gets up and gives Florek a pop in the chin (not). Four-on-four for 36 seconds. … And before I can click update, Halmo scores off the draw at 42 seconds. Burroughs won it on the wall, gave it to Halmo who walked to the middle to score. Bridgeport has a 2-1 lead.

–The power play expires with a Marlies three-on-two rush joined by Carrick out of the box; Gibson makes a save and dives on the rebound as Wotherspoon protects it.

–Trade of partial breaks: Kapanen blocks a Burroughs shot and splits him and Lafranchise, but Lafranchise disrupts him enough to force it wide. Jones comes back the other way, cuts in from the right side and is stopped.

–Toronto spending a lot of time in the Bridgeport end, putting some shots wide and Gibson making some saves. Still 2-1 with 11:30 left in the second. Bridgeport, actually, as I’m tying with a very good long shift in the Toronto end, got the full change… Campbell high-sticks Collberg, and apparently Collberg gets a penalty, too. Someone is unhappy about one end of that or the other, delivering some impressive language. 11:03 left in the second.

–Called a dive and a cross-check.

–Mayfield went off slowly, shoulder hurting, Paul says, but then says he looks OK at the bench. Meanwhile, Cliche takes a slash from Loov; a 57-second four-on-three for the Sound Tigers.

–Burroughs’ one-timer beats Bibeau cleanly at 10:34 of the second to make it 3-1 Bridgeport. Two power-play goals. Go figure. And 10 seconds later, Kearns draws an interference penalty from Connor Brown.

–Bridgeport outshot 26-12 at 11:52 of the second, but up 4-1. Kearns gets the third PPG of the night with Cliche in Bibeau’s eyes. Garret Sparks replaces Bibeau. Sound Tigers with a 3-for-4 PP performance and a four-on-four goal so far.

–Cliche gets the fourth goal, actually, on a deflection.

–Collberg called for a slash on Clune. Marlies’ third PP with 5:36 left second.

–Brennan one-timer from the right circle makes it 4-2 Bridgeport. Arcobello gets the second assist with Connor Carrick in between.

–And, boom, it’s 4-3. Connor Carrick again, from the right point, taking a step up, using Kearns as a high screen and a battle between a couple of players right in front to do it. Just under three minutes left in the second.

–Looks to be the fifth time the Sound Tigers have had three power-play goals in a playoff game, the last in their last win, Game 4 against Hershey. They hadn’t done it before that since Game 3 against Binghamton, the third time they’d done it that spring: back-to-back games to finish the Manchester series, including the only previous time they’d done it on the road, Game 2.

–Connor Carrick again. Hat trick for the Marlies defenseman to tie the game with 1:00 even left in the second period. Lafranchise had denied a three-on-one, but the Marlies recovered.

–The Holmstrom line tries to get physical; Sparks gives Halmo a whack after scooping up the puck as Halmo goes for it. The teams come together, but apparently no penalties.

–Mayfield knocked over Arcobello off the puck, which, at the buzzer, sparks some pushing and shoving. It’s 4-4 after two as they separate the teams.

–I’d been looking at the screen to type up the three-on-one breakup when Carrick tied it. Went back to look: Carrick was the fourth man on that rush, got open in the left circle, and a beautiful pass by Nylander set him up. Shots are 32-15.

–A Mayfield rough and a Leivo cross-check are on the sheets to end the second, so presumably four-on-four starts the third.

–As the teams come out for the third period, Albany has finished off Utica with a 6-3 win.

–The Marlies just keep coming. Loov scores from the right circle to give the Marlies a 5-4 lead 2:51 into the third, through I think Czuczman’s legs with Hyman right in front.

–It’s down to 12 minutes, still 5-4. Arcobello just put one wide on a two-on-one.

–Burroughs down on the ice with 10:29 left. Was writhing, but he gets up after a minute or so and skates off. Paul had wondered if he took a knee to the midsection; maybe got the wind knocked out of him, he says. Bridgeport still down a goal.

–Burroughs back on the ice… and then Gibson robs Ben Smith on a two-on-one with 7:53 left. Gets the left pad across going left-to-right. And naturally, off the draw, Hyman puts one in to make it 6-4 with 7:46 left. Five points for Carrick with the second assist on that.

–Paul says some fans are chanting “Na na, hey hey, goodbye.” Bridgeport has ’em right where they want ’em.

–Gibson has been trying to get to the bench since about 2:10; Toronto kept taking the puck back. Finally got off about 1:26.

–Marlies penalty with 58.7 seconds left, so a 6-on-4.

–Not sure anything got to the net. Toronto 6, Bridgeeport 4, final, completing the sweep. The North Division final begins Wednesday against Albany.

Gibson was the last player on the line, and he probably finished about 45 seconds behind everybody else. Cool.

–Team’s coming back tomorrow. Waiting on word about wrap-up stuff. Never have any luck getting Thompson in Canada, so will likely have to wait for that.

–Rob Flick’s goal 3:10 into triple overtime gives the Pirates a 2-1 series lead on the Bears.

Michael Fornabaio