Pretty solid. Seemed like they settled in well. Big bounce-back night for Christopher Gibson. Scoring and chances spread out a bit.
“I’m happy with the leadership,” Brent Thompson said. “Holmer, the way he led tonight on the ice, led on the bench. Bourque, Helgeson, even Burroughs and Toews taking steps in the right direction in leadership.”
They get the jump on the second shift of the game, Josh Ho-Sang’s first AHL shift of the year. Though, frankly, it’s the start of a trend, too: Sebastian Aho’s pass for Seth Helgeson missed connection, and Vinni Lettieri jumped on it, and Lettieri, with an open look… shot wide. It caromed out past Scott Kosmachuk to Michael Dal Colle, who sent Ho-Sang and Quine on a two-on-one. Alexandar Georgiev got part of Ho-Sang’s shot. Not all.
Filip Chytil gets it back, getting a bounce off Mitch Vande Sompel’s skate. But then Kyle Burroughs breaks up a rush, Devon Toews springs Travis St. Denis, and it’s never even again.
I guess the cynic says Bridgeport is just jelling and settling faster than Hartford. And let’s be honest: The Penguins will be a test tomorrow night.
But it’s a couple of wins they needed badly. All anyone around here keeps saying is “steps in the right direction,” and, well, they seem to be.
Tanner Fritz was hit twice by Neal Pionk on a second-period power play and didn’t play again. It wasn’t until late in regulation, when they called the second one the hit of the game and replayed it a couple of more times, that I noticed Fritz get his legs tangled with Pionk’s and go down oddly. It doesn’t sound like a long-term lower-body thing, but Thompson said they’ll evaluate him tomorrow.
Two points for Ho-Sang: “There are some things I’d still like to clean up. It’s a work in progress,” Ho-Sang said. “Those things we’ve been talking about with me, Changing a little harder. Playing … like, playing the score versus playing the game.”
Said his coach: “Offensively, he’s dynamic. He needs to clean up some defensive habits, shorten some shifts, track the puck a little harder. Overall, it was a good first game back.
“Quine, same thing, I thought his timing needs to be a little better,” Thompson said. “Shoot when he has opportunities to shoot. It was a good first game for him, too.”
Quine thought he fought it a bit at times, but he felt all right overall. “Game shape’s obviously different than practice. I felt as expected.” And he also knocked Trent Hunter down a spot:
Also now ninth in goals, breaking the tie with David Ullstrom.
Casey Bailey was credited with three shots, so I guess he put a few wide; felt like he had a bunch of chances. He started on the right side on the power play with Fritz on the off side, but for the third-period power play, Bailey was on the left side with St. Denis on the right and Scott Eansor between them. The top power play had Ho-Sang, Dal Colle and Quine with Steve Bernier in front and Aho on the blue line. The second unit had Ross Johnston in front and Toews at the blue.
Eamon McAdam is back in for Worcester tonight in Utah. Winning at this writing. Edit: It did not stay that way. Late tying goal and OT winner for Utah with assists on the winner to ex-BST Peter Sivak and to Adam’s brother Michael Pelech (three points).
Justin Vaive went to Belleville on a PTO.
And RIP, Pete Barbarito.
More tomorrow after Yale-Columbia. (Deep breaths.)