(Or, “Now I wish I didn’t use ‘Willy Survives’ last week”)
Didn’t catch immediately just how nasty that save was that Stephon Williams made on Mac Bennett on the five-on-three.
“They’ve got some very talented guys,” Williams said. “I overcommitted on one. He made a pass across.”
The pass across, as Williams was leaning to see around a screen, went right-to-lett to Mac Bennett. Pushing across through traffic, Williams wound up making the save with the palm of his blocker. No wonder he didn’t have a stick after that; it was lucky he could hold onto it again.
He finished strong, though, with 29 saves, building confidence and glad to get another win.
“It’s the same song and dance every time we talk,” Williams said. “It’s putting in the work, and you want to see the results.
“The next step is you don’t get comfortable,” he added. “You don’t want to be happy. The only way you keep going is to work hard.”
Brent Thompson said he has seen that in practice from both goaltenders.
“(Jaroslav Halak) has been pushing Willy every day,” Thompson said. “They both work extremely hard.”
They didn’t even give up three goals today. That streak ends, as does Justin Bailey’s eight-game points and seven-game goals streaks. And with Hershey’s loss today at home to Lehigh Valley, Bridgeport wakes up Monday morning in fourth place, at least on percentage, though it still trails the Bears by one point in accumulated terms.
Team’s off tomorrow, and as Thompson said, well-deserved. More Tuesday unless warranted.
Always tough to sit, I assumed in my question to Michael Dal Colle… “Obviously you don’t want to be scratched,” Dal Colle said. “I’ve got to take the positives from it, watching from up top. That was a good learning experience. Last night was a good game to watch, the way Toronto moves the puck.”
He got credit from Thompson on Josh Ho-Sang’s second goal, beating Bennett on the boards and setting up the breakaway. “I thought he took some steps,” Thompson said. “I liked his wall battles. He’s working.”
The gamer in tomorrow’s paper is Ho-Sang stuff, but Section 105 comes through strong again.
We’ll have to see what else comes of Ben Holmstrom’s kneeing major and game misconduct, if anything. It looked as if Jean Dupuy turned right into Holmstrom; tough to tell on the video I saw whether Holmstrom did anything to stick his leg out or just had his leg there as he was stopping versus Dupuy’s cutback. “They play hard,” Thompson said. “At times things happen in the game. I really can’t comment on that. I just know Ben plays the right way all the time. Hopefully he’s served his time.”
With 2:12 left: PREMATURE SUBSTITUTION FOR THE GOALKEEPER! Seriously. That’s one of my favorite rules that never happens. I don’t remember, top of my head, ever seeing it called. It’s Rule 71 if you want to read it, but the basics are that if the extra skater comes on the ice before the goalie’s within five feet of the bench, the play is supposed to be blown dead. You never see it, but Paul Simeon had it all the way today. The referee is also supposed to have it announced. “Play has been stopped due to premature substitution for the goalkeeper.” Didn’t happen. Disappointing. But we saw it.
Neat bit from last night, captured by our buddy Jon Tenca: When Travis St. Denis’ stick popped into the stands right before the Marlies’ tying goal, they needed it back; game stick and all. Garret Sparks, sitting in the Zamboni door, went, got one of his sticks and signed it for her. Classy.
And RIP, Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte.