You know, they could do this again twice more.
April 4, bright ‘n’ early, in Bridgeport. April 14, the second-to-last day of the season (Good Friday), right here.
Two hard-working teams with a history run into each other at full speed, and it’s entertaining at least. You get a few fights and (briefly) a match penalty (but ultimately a major and a game misconduct) (but ultimately not for what was first announced).
“It was playoff intensity,” Brent Thompson said. “Unfortunately, I thought we were really sloppy with the puck, in the second period especially. Again, I liked the battle level. The guys competed for each other, especially those last 20 minutes.”
Bridgeport’s sloppiness in the second period allowed the Thunderbirds to score their go-ahead goal (congrats, Matt Buckles; was trading emails most of the night with a dear ol’ pal from grammar school who went to/works at Cornell) and nearly score to go ahead again (Eamon McAdam stayed with Paul Thompson and made a stick save). Fortunately for the Sound Tigers, the Thunderbirds were also sloppy with the puck in the second period, letting Bridgeport score twice and regain the lead.
Thompson called it a must-win. It was, for now, their game in hand on Hershey, and it at least keeps them in hailing distance, three back, with the head-to-heads still to come in the next 11 days. There were points where it could’ve turned disastrous and nearly did.
“This team is filled with character,” Thompson said. “Look at the work ethic of the guys. They didn’t hang their heads.”
Tanner Fritz said his NHL deal was a couple of weeks in developing. He got the details last night and signed it today.
“Looking at the start of last year, I don’t think I would’ve expected to sign an NHL deal this year,” Fritz said. “I’m thankful for the Sound Tigers and Islanders giving me the opportunity, especially last year, coming in.
“There’ve been lots of opportunities to play with some great players.”
He set up Josh Winquist for the tying goal and credited plays up and down the ice for it. He’s got 41 points, which has him 13th in rookie scoring.
“His offense continues to improve. Day-in, day-out, his practices are good,” Thompson said. “He has great character. I’m excited for him.”
Fritz, it turns out, is the guy who took the slash from Jared McCann that got McCann kicked out on the Thunderbirds power play early in the third period. (That was announced as a high-sticking major and game misconduct. The rule book has no such thing. The game sheet then called it a match penalty. By the time they printed sheets for us, it’d changed to a slashing major and game misconduct.)
Bridgeport will practice in the (late) morning, so more then.
Ross Johnston has 11 fights now. One was instigated (on Feb. 7 by Ed Wittchow, who played left wing tonight rather than defense, and darn, did he make some things happen in front of the net a few times), so it didn’t count toward the 10 that, under new Rule 23.7, gets one “suspended automatically for the next League game of his team.” He now, then, has 10 that count.
Claude Loiselle and Eric Cairns among those in the house.
Providence sent Milford’s Mark Naclerio back to the ECHL.
The NHL will, in the end, release the expansion-draft protected lists.
And RIP, Clem Curtis.