Making a Mark: Springfield postgame

The Thunderbirds went and ruined it by, you know, still playing, but under different circumstances this might’ve been a fourth-line-story kind of night in the paper.

As it was, they made their mark. Colin Markison and Ross Johnston were all over both of Bridgeport’s first two goals. Markison had two assists for his second two-point game in the AHL, and the first since his first game of last season. Johnston got the second goal and set the screen on the first, Jesse Graham’s.

“Marky came in and gave us all he could,” Thompson said. “Everything we could ask for. Energy. Speed. Obviously a couple of points.

“I was very happy with Markison’s game, very happy with Johnston’s game, and (Ben) Holmstrom was very good.”

They helped Bridgeport control things at even strength, for the most part. Springfield outshot the Sound Tigers early, but a lot of that was power play. Bridgeport wound up with 20 shots in the third, and though some of that was power-play aided, too, they’d tilted things in their favor.

Part of that came from the fourth line.

“They’re so easy to play with,” Markison said. “It’s fun to play with them. Good leadership from Ben. He helped me ease back, that transition, to playing. Johner’s good all-around.”

As a group, they can clean some things up, Thompson said, although he usually says that. He liked that they were harder on the boards.

“That (Springfield) team plays hard,” he said.

Unlike Saturday, Bridgeport matched it, had an answer when the Thunderbirds kicked it up. Springfield got it to overtime, but Bridgeport is now 11-2 beyond regulation.

Jamie Palatini got to announce all four Quinnipiac guys as starters. Surely coordinated with the coaching staff. (I told him Kyle Burroughs last played at Medicine Hat, if he wanted to do the basketbally “at 7 feet from Georgetown” thing.)

Didn’t know until I overheard Ryan Smith in the third period that Springfield had killed 32 power plays in a row, back to Jan. 22 against Toronto, before Ryan Pulock scored. Pulock said he didn’t, either. “I think today we were a little better than the last time we played them,” Pulock said. “We had some chances, some looks, some Grade-A’s, even.” Keeping it simple helped: Get pucks back, get chances. (They passed some shots up at times, though maybe a little less egregiously than the othee night.)

Bracken Kearns is now tied with Trevor Smith for third in all-time Sound Tigers overtime scoring. (Three-on-three makes it easier, but still.) Kearns and Smith both have a goal and five assists. Jeff Hamilton is the all-time leader with six goals and an assist for seven points; Rob Collins was 2-4-6. Kearns, Smith and Dustin Kohn all have five assists to hold a share of that record. Pulock is now just outside the top 10 at 2-2-4.

Jaroslav Halak’s seventh consecutive win, two behind Anders Nilsson’s record.

Fascinating sequence of events in the second period. Josh Winquist gets a high-sticking minor. On the draw, Ben Holmstrom bats the puck with his hand: The recent rule change makes that a minor for delay of game. Here’s the fascinating, which I found only with much help from, um, sources: Rule 76.8 says that when there’s a faceoff violation, it’s like a false start: Whatever time may come off the clock has to go back on. So Holmstrom’s penalty is at the same time (9:39) as Winquist’s. Springfield scores on the five-on-three. Now, because both penalties came “at the same time,” Bridgeport gets to pick which player is released (Rule 16.2). Holmstrom’s your top penalty-kill centerman. Easy choice. He comes out, even though he went in second.

(In looking up that stuff, I found this, on which I clicked because the first line made me laugh, but it also had a three-minute major reference, so I enjoyed it doubly.)

Here we go again with the mumps.

Prescout. The P-Bruins are six points ahead of Bridgeport. By Sunday morning, it could be two; it could be 10.

Frolunda, featuring no fewer than four former Sound Tigers, won Europe’s Champions League. Matt Donovan assisted on the overtime winner. (Dean was unimpressed.)

Teddy Richards, the WBS Penguins equipment manager who’s now in Florida, did an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit (hat tip: Paul Lukas). Some neat tidbits in there.

And tip of cap to Claude Julien, who was great to a young visiting beat writer when he was in charge in Hamilton 15 years ago.

Michael Fornabaio