Penalties helped blew up the second period yesterday for Bridgeport. Not so much penalties today in the third, though that’s how the third began. The third also began, further along, without a Bridgeport shot for 13 minutes.
“Them having a power play to start the period definitely helped. We’ve got to do a better job kind of reseting after the penalty,” Travis St. Denis said. “We’re able to play five-on-five hockey. We’ve got to reset and refocus for the rest of the period.”
Passes failed. Pucks didn’t get out, get in, get deep, get anywhere near the Rochester goal for a long stretch of the third today.
“Execution’s a big part of hockey. If you don’t execute, it’s going to be tough to win,” Brent Thompson said. “Execution on outlets, breakouts, things like that, happens to every team. The second period tonight, I thought we controlled it. We stuck to the game plan.
“As far as chemistry, we’re still working on it. A lot of guys who were here last year weren’t in those roles. For me, it’s going to be a work in progress. The big thing to me is going to be consistency for the entire game. You can’t change what you’re doing, what’s working. We need to stay on our toes, stay physical.”
It’s four games in a season that began with huge hopes. Four games don’t always tell you everything. The Sound Tigers started 0-3-2-0 in 2003-04 and Greg Cronin didn’t know what to say anymore; they were a week away from going unbeaten until mid-December. They were 3-1 a year later, two months away from going five weeks without a regulation win. They were 1-3 last year, and, well.
“You want to get off to a hot start, and we haven’t done that,” St. Denis said. “We can’t panic about it. It’s only four games. We have three games next weekend. We have a day off tomorrow to refocus ourselves to get to work on Tuesday.”
Team’s off tomorrow. More Tuesday unless warranted.
A couple of young players, I said, had some good moments and some ups-and-downs tonight. Does that kind of get back to consistency? “Consistency with everybody,” Thompson said. “We can’t isolate one person, because I think it was the entire team. The on-ice execution is inconsistent with what we’re supposed to do. The effort was there, but sometimes it was that we didn’t work smart. It wasn’t one or two individual guys. The entire team drifted.”
Chris Bourque suffered his upper-body injury last weekend, Thompson said, and tried to play through it. “Day to day, week to week with him. It’s more maintenance,” Thompson said.
The fourth line had some good moments, too. Ryan Hitchcock was flying at times and rejoined St. Denis and Steve Bernier for a few shifts late in regulation. Otto Koivula had one nifty one-timer in the second that Adam Wilcox denied. Ben Holmstrom’s return brought energy, on the bench and in the room, the coach said: “You sensed his presence, his reliability on the kill, his defensive awareness, wall battles. I thought that line itself did generate a few chances. Koivula has a little sense, a knack for making that play.”
And Thompson praised Chris Casto’s debut, too. “Didn’t have an exhibition game, and all of a sudden thrown into that pace, I thought he did an excellent job. I thought he did a good job with his ability to move the puck and his ability to be strong on the puck.”
Rochester, as Brent Thompson said, is fast. They found ways to pressure Bridgeport at times this weekend.
“They don’t really have any high, flashy guys on their team. A lot of two-way guys who worked hard,” St. Denis said. “In some parts of the game, they outworked us tonight. That’s where we need to be, our work ethic to loose pucks, winning those second-chance battles, things like that.”
Prescout. The Bruins are 1-4, outscored 20-14. (And this isn’t the following weekend’s prescout yet, but Harry Zolnierczyk has nine points in four games.)
Thought Jeff Krick put on a good show in the second intermission.
Josh Holmstrom scored the winner in overtime yesterday for Worcester. Tonight in Reading, the Royals went up 6-1, then clung on for a 6-4 win. David Quenneville with his first pro goal, on the power play, to begin the abortive comeback.
Pregame tribute to the late Bob Connor.
And RIP, Jim Taylor.