The first seven minutes of this thing were all Bridgeport.
Then came the slashing penalty after the Bridgeport power play. The Penguins scored late in it. All the air went out of the balloon.
“We’ve been in that situation before,” Seth Helgeson said. “One goes in, then obviously the rest follow — getting in a hole like that, it’s tough to come back.”
And, not like they’re going to use it as an excuse, but the finality of last night has to have an effect.
“We didn’t want to play (just) to play,” Helgeson said. “We wanted to win the game.”
And, really, they came out strong. They drew a penalty. Then they took a penalty.
“The penalty kill has been rock-solid all year,” Brent Thompson said, and it has. Sort of amazingly, it was 24-for-195 at one point, 87.7 percent. It’s 26-for-113 in the past 30 games or so, 77.0 percent. At this refresh, with some other games going on, it has fallen to 11th in the league. “Of late, we’ve given up goals we shouldn’t normally be giving up. It took the wind out of our sails. … In a three-in-three, you get down, you’re chasing. It’s hard. For me, it’s not acceptable.”
It didn’t look like it was, the way he was talking at the time out after the third Penguins goal. They regrouped; they made Anthony Peters work. (#ScoreEffects, but still.)
Three games to go.
Connor Jones didn’t come out for the third period; upper body, Thompson said (and nothing to do with getting whacked in the back of the head in front of the Penguins net behind the play, he said). Was told Jones was signing autographs afterward on his bobblehead day.
First question to Tanner Fritz was along the lines of “what are you doing here?” Wrote about him for the paper. “I think he worked extremely hard. He tried to do too much,” Thompson said. “A lot of guys tried to do too much in this game.”
Steve Bernier’s first 20-goal season since he was a rookie with the Cleveland Barons in 2005-06. (He added 14 more in the Show that year, for good measure.)
A landmark day: Bridgeport has played 17 consecutive games without overtime. That’s the team’s single-season record, topping the 16 they managed early in 2005-06 and 2013-14. (Over two years, it’s 22; that ended early this season.)
(Speaking of which, our irregular ramble about how overtime has affected the perception of Bridgeport’s records the past couple of years. Last season, they were roughly a .500 team based on their goals, 207-208, in regulation time, but went 13-4 in overtime. This year, again, they’re 195-195 in regulation time… and 7-8 in overtime. An eight-point swing, in essence; six fewer wins and two fewer appearances.)
Alan’s last Coach’s Show of the season is tomorrow night at Vazzy’s at 7 p.m. Travis St. Denis guests.
Lehigh Valley clinched the division title with a solid win at Providence. First division crown for the Phantoms since 2004. Their coach then was one John Stevens. (They won the Calder Cup the next season.)
I’ll try not to be too annoying about it, but: Fake Team Awards balloting is open.
And Chris Vandenbreekel highlighted the 15 Humboldt Broncos in a Twitter thread that’s well worth your while.