When the defensemen take shots at the end of practice, often the guy in front of the net working on his deflections is Kyle Schempp.
And they go, a lot of the time, nifty ones, tips up, down, under the goalie, inside the post.
He finally got one to go in an AHL game Saturday night, his first AHL goal in his 23rd AHL game.
“It’s really a lot of work put in,” Schempp said. I wondered if he had a crazy estimate of how many times he’s tipped pucks on this rink. “Probably 20-30 a day. It’s nice that it pays off.”
It looked like Seth Helgeson’s shot was going wide of the left post, but Schempp reached out on his backhand and knocked it down past Ken Appleby, “kind of all one motion,” Schempp said.
He was excited, obviously. He’d scored nine in the ECHL last year with Missouri amid all the up-and-down and the injury that ended his season.
“It’s a lot of weight off my shoulders,” Schempp said. “Especially not getting one last year, being up and down (to Missouri) and this year in and out. Scoring’s one of those things that can build confidence.”
Brent Thompson talked about “secondary scoring,” goals from the third or fourth line, from guys you might not expect.
“A guy who’s been in and out of the lineup, he found a way to score, to contribute,” Thompson said, “and it was a good, solid game by him.”
It was pretty solid for the lot of them for the third game in a row. One of the quieter shutouts for a Sound Tigers goalie, but a 19-save clean sheet for Christopher Gibson nonetheless. The penalty kill has run its streak to 29, and now only the team-record 36/50 is longer; they’ve played 53:37 short-handed without allowing a goal.
They did it with the brass in the house tonight, too, Garth Snow and Jon Ledecky among others. A lot better than the last time.
Michael Dal Colle must have gone out the other way while we were talking to Thompson, but his absence from warmup was described to us as a collision with a Devils player that left him needing repairs. Then this tweet came in. So, yeah. On the injury front, by the way, Stephen Gionta was on the ice this morning as promised, skated hard. “Back in my color,” he quipped: no-contact red.
More for-fun than anything: The first power-play goal against in 2004-05, which ended 50 consecutive penalty kills for guys wearing that blue cat on their sweaters, was scored by Patrick Sharp. The three that ended 27-for-27 streaks: Brandon Bochenski, Nigel Dawes, Graham Mink. Goals that ended 26-for-26es: Bochenski again (later in the same season), Brandon Kozun, Ryan Craig, Mike Hoeffel.
Jay Leach made the All-Star Game again. (Most-Bridgeport ASG ever. At least Kearns, Leach, Pellerin and a player to be named later.)
Worcester got a big crowd but dropped a back-and-forth game to Manchester. They meet again tomorrow night in ManchVegas, and where better to ring in the new year?
(Speaking of which, Bridgeport’s off tomorrow but back at it Monday. Like we said yesterday, guessing they’ll want an extra defenseman for the road trip, but we’ll see what they look like then. Happy new year.)
The team honored Steven Emt of Hebron, the USA’s Paralympics curling skip.
Disney On Ice next week. More fun challenges for new ice guy Jay Fruzia and friends.
Good stuff with Scotty Mayfield at practice today in Denver.
Ex-Quinnipiac forward Jordan Samuels-Thomas, of West Hartford, leaves San Diego for Europe.
Manitoba gave up a late four-on-four goal and lost its first in regulation since Nov. 12 (also San Jose). The Moose had a shootout win and a shootout loss in its past 16 games, but otherwise 14 regulation wins.
Oh, Pioneers. Sacred Heart is 4-12-3.
Brian Compton must’ve been in his glory writing this one.
Great honor for Red Fisher.
And RIP, Sue Grafton.