Steve Bernier chased down German Rubtsov. Chris Bourque got it in the Phantoms zone 21 seconds into the third period.
“Instead of being in our zone,” Bernier said, “we were able to play in their zone a bit more.”
This is accurate, for definitions of “a bit more” that include “the next three minutes.”
Bridgeport didn’t capitalize, but that shift was just part of what might’ve been their best game yet.
“I think it is, and they’ve got a very good team,” Bernier said. “We matched their speed, exceeded their physical play. I think we spent more time in the offensive zone than the defensive zone. That’s a big change for us, exactly how we need to play ”
There were some fumbles early, but they mostly settled down by the end of the day. Bernier was a force.
“(Bernier) did a great job on the walls, going to the net hard,” Brent Thompson said. “There were a number of chances where he could’ve had secondary goals, battling like that.
“With Holmstrom back in the lineup, he was another physical presence. Helgeson was another, physical in our end. I think each guy stepped up his physical game. It’s something we have to do going forward … have that second, third effort.”
Michael Dal Colle missed his last first-period shift and didn’t return. Thompson said it was a lower-body injury. Bridgeport is off tomorrow, back at it Tuesday. It next plays Saturday at Hartford.
On the defensemen who’d been in and out of the lineup or had some ups and downs this weekend: “They all came back in, seemed to be refocused. I liked the steps they took. It was a team effort,” Thompson said. “The guys competed. That’s really all I can ask is that guys compete.’
Here’s our Charles Wang local reaction story, and thanks to them for their thoughts. Brent Thompson was visibly moved talking about him. Reaction on Twitter from Kyle Okposo, Bruno Gervais, Mark Parrish and Marty Biron, among others.
And so focused on Jan Kovar last night, missed Sacred Heart’s comeback to tie Providence here. The Pios always seem to find a way to put up a big game against a top opponent early on. See if they can carry that momentum into the league season.