There’s no such thing as a good goal against you, obviously, but Albany’s Saturday came at some pretty bad times.
Starting with 34 seconds, which is never good, period. Then two in the last few minutes of the first period after you’ve erased that one? Really tough.
That let Albany play them tough defensively, limit their opportunities even as they were coming in the second and third. And the Devils got their fourth after Bridgeport forced turnovers and pressed.
“I thought we played a pretty solid game,” Brent Thompson said. “If you look at the game itself, we had a power-play goal. We had a couple of bad breaks.”
He liked the effort. Can’t argue. He thought they competed. Think that’s fair. Thought they were sound defensively. There were moments, and looking back, on the second Devils goal, both Bridgeport defensemen may have provided a bit of a screen for what looked like a simple Petr Straka shot.
There were moments where it looked like guys were trying to do too much, overhandling in some tricky spots, from start to finish. Still, there were moments when simple didn’t work. There’s a bit from Thompson in the gamer on what they needed to do offensively.
Though it’s familiar, in a lot of ways.
And, look, they won’t use it as an excuse, but you’ve lost two top-six wingers, one to recall and one to long-term injury; and you’ve lost two-thirds of your third/energy line. It’s not a knock on the replacements to say that’s a noticeable loss.
Bracken Kearns had gone five games without a point. He snapped that with his 20th goal. As we’ve said in the past, it’s a pretty low bar to clear, but still: Bridgeport has had a 20-goal scorer in each of its 16 seasons. Kearns became the eighth Sound Tiger to score 20 in back-to-back seasons (Trent Hunter, Jeff Hamilton, Rob Collins, Jeff Tambellini, Trevor Smith, Ben Walter, Rhett Rakhshani). Smith is the only one to do it three years in a row; Hamilton did it in each of his three seasons, though he was in Hartford for the lockout year.
Hershey and Bridgeport both have 75 points. Hershey has 32 non-shootout wins to Bridgeport’s 31, so strictly on points, Hershey’s a tiebreaker ahead. Bridgeport remains in fourth in the AHL standings, though, because of the game in hand/points percentage. Providence lost to Wilkes-Barre, so the Bruins remain just two points ahead. (Providence visits the Bears tomorrow, so it’s conceivable all three could have 77 points after Sunday.) Lehigh Valley won, so the Phantoms are six points ahead of Bridgeport and Hershey.
Darren Nowick felt good in his AHL debut. “Guys are a lot more skilled. They make plays, better plays. It’s a little faster.” Only for the last couple of times through the rotation did his linemates change from Kellen Jones and Josh Winquist, as it started; Winquist swapped with Colin Markison. “Those guys are pretty fast,” Nowick said. “It was nice to play with a fast line.”
The Brandon Wheat Kings announced Ryan Pulock has been named to their all-time team.
Shannon Hogan got Scott Mayfield’s parents on the MSG broadcast tonight. He had an assist.
Prescout. Magnus Hellberg’s not getting into Friday’s game became a little more logical when the Rangers called him up Saturday. Jeff Malcolm’s up to tandem with Mackenzie Skapski and gave up five goals in a relative hurry tonight.
Tage Thompson made his pro debut. One shot on goal; came early in a 4-0 Chicago win at Milwaukee. And Tyce Thompson made his USHL debut for Dubuque; one shot and an elbowing minor against the National Team Development Program U17s.
Poor Dryden Hunt (scroll back on Ryan’s timeline for more).
A really neat Eric Duhatschek story on the evolution of hockey coaching. Some great stories in here.
And Newsday put together some Stony Brook reaction to the death of Milford’s Danni Kemp.