Chickened out on the drive to Springfield, which surely means clear roads, clear skies and breezy travel for all involved. (Hope so, anyway). The weather sounds ugly tomorrow, too, but above freezing, so we’ll see them in Hartford before a three-day break.
This should be the box (R: K.Anderson, T.Koharski. L: Richetelle, St. Lawrence). First Bridgeport game for referee Kenny Anderson, clearly not the point guard out of Molloy. He’s scheduled to be in Hartford tomorrow afternoon, too, with Peter Schlittenhardt. (The referee, not the point guard. Although who knows? I don’t have his schedule.)
Congrats to Tage Thompson on his first in the Show last night.
Nice story on a different set of Thompsons, with Bridgeport in the background. (I was stuck in Wilkes-Barre that night with a flat tire but somehow didn’t get an invite. That was the game before it all turned around for the Sound Tigers, the three straight Kevin Poulin shutouts and all.)
More in a bit.
Gudlevskis vs. Montembeault, says Matt, who we should also be following.
Lines, from the team, look as they were yesterday and Tuesday:
F: St. Denis-Fritz-Bourque
Eansor – Stevens – Ho-Sang
Dal Colle-Gionta (A)-Bailey
Helgeson (A)-Vande Sompel
SPRINGFIELD from the team
D: Brown (A)-Erixon
–Couple of scrambles for the fourth line on its first shift of the game. Good zone time early for Bridgeport.
–Curious work: 5:21 in, Bridgeport called for too many men, and the refs let play go on with the Sound Tigers in full possession, to the point that Gudlevskis went to the bench while all that was happening. First PP to the Thunderbirds, who got their first shot only about 20 seconds earlier.
–Bridgeport kills it relatively cleanly and gets its first PP on a Greco hook of Toews.
–New units: Bailey, Fritz, Eansor, Toews and Aho; then Johnston, Ho-Sang, Dal COlle, St. Denis and Vande Sompel.
–Springfield had the best chance on the penalty kill, a two-on-one on which Lammikko’s pass went off the stick of Valk. But as the penalty expires, the puck comes out to create another two on one. Valk took it in, took it to the right dot and wristed it inside the far post midway through the first. 1-0 Springfield.
–Bridgeport kills a Dal Colle penalty, but moments later, Anthony Greco makes it 2-0. Comes into the zone one-on-one against Helgeson with good support, Helgeson denies him, Greco goes and gets it back to Gudlevskis’ right and puts it under Gudlevskis and in… and 35 seconds later, Rob Hamilton makes it 3-0 on a rebound 15 minutes into the game. Greco took the initial from the top of the left circle, so three points for him.
–First AHL goal for Hamilton, out of Vermont.
–3-0 Thunderbirds after one; shots 12-10 Springfield.
–Ho-Sang retaliation penalty puts Springfield up 3:48 into the second.
–About 1:50 of that went without incident. Springfield had a couple of chances in the last 10 seconds or so. They stayed out. Still 3-0 Thunderbirds.
–Then Bridgeport comes up-ice; about the third shot toward the net is Vande Sompel’s from the right point through Bailey’s screen to cut the Springfield lead to 3-1 with 13:42 left in the second.
–Stephen Gionta hurting on a collision midway through the second. Soon after, Tim Erixon trips up Devon Toews… and now Alan notes that Dave Stickney has followed Toews down the runway. Kane Lafranchise takes Toews’ PP spot.
–Dal Colle fakes the right-circle shot, over to Ho-Sang, who settles it in the left circle and beats Montembeault with 7:59 left in the second to cut it to 3-2. Second assist to Ross Johnston.
–Toews is back with 5:19 left in the second… and at the draw, Ho-Sang draws a slashing penalty from Farnham. That’ll balance out his retaliation penalty.
–Toews had an angle on the right side of the net late in that power play but couldn’t get all of it, looked like. Penalty expires.
–Gionta returned to the ice on the next shift but didn’t look comfortable. Appeared he went off early.
–Springfield leads 3-2 after two. Shots even at 22.
–Dude just won the Score-O! Into the little slit from a few feet behind the far blue line… Did he just win a car?!? Attaboy.
A fan here at the MassMutual Center just won a brand new Mercedes Benz with the perfect hole in one shot congratulations to him
— Sin Bin Thunderbirds (@SinBinTBirds) December 23, 2017
–Burroughs called for elbowing Farnham 26 seconds into the third period. Fourth Springfield power play.
–Hawryluk made a move to get it to the front early on that power play, and I’m not sure how it didn’t go in. Feels like Mamin could have three tonight.
–A few minutes after that one, Bourque slashes Byron defending the rush. Springfield’s fourth power play with about 15 minutes left.
–Helgeson hurting blocking a Valk shot, but it sends out Jones with Holmstrom, who settles Jones’ pass and is stopped by Montembeault’s glove.
–Another penalty with 10:45 left, Toews, high-stick.
–Scrum near the end of that penalty results in a cheap Mamin penalty. Bridgeport’s fourth power play.
–Dal Colle had the top corner late in the power play; tipped wide by a defender. Still 3-2 Springfield with about six minutes left after a bunch of special-teams time. Haven’t seen Gionta.
–Not sure I’ve seen Stevens in a while, either. Also, just to make sure I remember, prescout.
–Springfield breaks out off a blocked shot. Hunt carries up the left side, looks for a play, drags it back to his forehand and snaps it far side past Gudlevskis. It’s 4-2 T-birds with 2:12 left. Bridgeport takes its time out. And Gudlevskis to the bench after that.
–Greco hits the empty net from long range with 4.9 seconds left: Springfield 5, Bridgeport 2, final.
–A good night against the organization for former Sound Tigers who barely or technically didn’t play: semipermanent 2011-12 backup Nic Riopel made 44 saves to shut out Worcester.
Stevens and Gionta will be reevaluated tomorrow, Thompson said. Upper body on both. Stevens, last I found him, was around 6 minutes left in the second period; didn’t see anything in particular on that shift, though he kind of went off with pained body language.
Thompson liked the start, naturally, five minuted in the Springfield end. He wouldn’t say specifically what he didn’t like about the first Springfield goal, though it might’ve been the pass Ho-Sang tried to get to Dal Colle that Hawryluk picked off and started the play the other way. “Bad gaps on the rush goal (the second),” he said. “The faceoff goal (third) … win the line of scrimmage and get in shot lanes, and none of that stuff was done.” The rest of the night was OK enough, but ultimately, “60 minutes of hockey is the only way to win.”
They get to try again in 16 hours in Hartford.