Slugger Josh Winquist liked the chances Bridgeport generated tonight. He was less enamored with its sense of urgency to start this one off. And he thought they just didn’t have the finish they wanted, too.
Obviously 14-0-1 Zane McIntyre helped. But it took Bridgeport 15 minutes to flip the switch.
They haven’t done that a ton this year, but if not for Jaroslav Halak, this could’ve been over by the first intermission.
We got the goaltending duel we expected. Jon Landry had high praise for McIntyre (see gamer), and Halak made 37 saves.
But the Bridgeport lead on Hershey slipped to three points. Providence opened up a three-point lead on Bridgeport (and actually a one-point lead on Lehigh Valley, though the Bruins have played more games than anyone).
Six points between second and fifth. A third of the season to go. All right.
Rematch tomorrow. (I may be wrapping up an afternoon assignment, so apologies if the pregame post shows up around the first intermission.)
The Bruins’ first goal came quickly off a neutral-zone faceoff play that sent Sean Kuraly in alone from the blue line. “They tried that a couple of times. It caught us a little off-guard,” Landry said.
“Their guy swooped up. You don’t expect him to do that. They went D-to-D. There was probably a little miscommunication between Leduc and I. and he was able to sneak through. He put a great shot on Jaro.”
Winquist’s fight card as a pro previously included only two tilts, both against Olivier Archambault, in the same year, in two different leagues. (We’ll get to that.) Late in the second period, Josh Ho-Sang cut off the left wing to the net, was stopped, went after the rebound in the left corner and, a few feet off the boards, got knocked down and into the wall by Colby Cave. Winquist headed in.
“I usually fight once or twice a year,” Winquist said. “Sanger got hit. I thought it was dirty. I asked (Cave to fight).” Cave, who doesn’t have a boatload more experience — I’d have thought more, actually — obliged.
If you look at the card, Winquist fought Archambault in the ECHL, Bakersfield at Alaska, in November. In mid-February, Winquist and Oklahoma City visited Iowa, and guess who was there? “I saw him in that game, and it was kind of like, ‘you wanna go?’ So we fought again.”
While things tightened up in the 2-5 range in the Atlantic, the Penguins were dropping their fourth in a row. The WBS lead over Providence is down to six points. Hershey had a sleepy first period but blew the roof… er, came to life in the second in Hartford. And Lehigh Valley blew a lead and lost at Springfield, which has won four in a row and sits 17 points behind fourth-place Bridgeport with 23 games to play. (Mets fans are instinctively putting this into “seven games with 17 to play” terms in their heads right now.)
More Islanders arena reportage.
And RIP, Leon Ware.