Bad start, good finish: Hartford postgame

After a rough first period, I wondered they talked about in the first intermission.

“A little bit of everything, I think,” Seth Helgeson said. “We didn’t come out the way we wanted to, or should’ve. Just a slow period for us. We didn’t really commit to the game plan early on. I think that showed.

“Going in, tied, 0-0 game, anyone’s game going into the second, Tommer explained what needed to be done, and I think we responded.”

Brent Thompson, interestingly, said he said “Really nothing. The leadership — listen, you remind guys what they need to do. Our leadership took over, and the effort was noticeably different.”

The failed clears and turnovers felt contagious in the first. There were really only a couple of shifts with much of anything sustained for the Sound Tigers. But things turned around, even as they traded chances at times with the Wolf Pack.

“Guys started finishing hits,” Thompson said. “Jonesy brought energy. Bernier did the right things. Our D started moving the puck a little better. It was a progression of each guy buying in, contributing and basically playing for each other.”

Jeremy Smith, on the ice in his first-star interview and then with us, mentioned the importance of getting points. They’ve had some up-and-down games the last little bit in which they’ve found ways to hang on, to get points.

“There’s going to be times throughout the year when you’re not playing great hockey,” Helgeson said, “and you’ve got to scrape and try to get those two points, or one point, or whatever it is. We can’t be going into games using the excuse ‘we just didn’t have it tonight.’ We have to continue on what we’re doing. We had that great stretch where we went 10 games in a row with points, and after that, a few up-and-down games. It’s just responding. This game’s done. Onto the next one.

“And keep learning, I think, that’s a big thing, too. Just learning from the mistakes we’ve made and keep on learning different structural things. It’s a process. We know that. We just need to continue on.”


Smith has gone 76 regular-season games in the AHL and NHL since his last shutout, March 26, 2016, at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. I know because I thought I’d need that stat tonight. Man was on fire early when Bridgeport needed him most. “Feeling the puck early is nice. Sometimes it doesn’t happen,” Smith said, “but getting out there and feeling good off the start, it was a good start for me.”

You sometimes worry when you don’t capitalize on a five-on-three, and Bridgeport’s two-minute five-on-three in the third wasn’t much, so was the coach concerned? “I wanted our guys to focus on executing and doing the right thing,” Thompson said. “(Hartford) did a good job killing it. We didn’t quite execute the way we wanted to on it, and after that, it was back to work.”

Devon Toews, Thompson said, is still day-to-day. “We’re probably being a little bit extra-precautionary with him. Day to day and hopefully he can play this weekend.”

Ho-Sang doing Ho-Sang things: On his first or second shift, he carried all around the Hartford zone, got forced outside the blue line, kicked it backward, chased it down, drew two Hartford players to him in the Bridgeport end, trapped them with a pass. Georgiev stopped the four-on-three rush.

OT loss for Worcester tonight against Brampton. Two secondary assists for Ryan Hitchcock, one in the final seconds of regulation.

Jan Kovar has gone back to the Czech Republic. A “monthly contract,” says the translation, back home with Plzen.

AHL deal of note.

Speaking of recently traded Penguins, holy cro.

Phil Kemp of Greenwich and Spencer Knight of Darien are on the preliminary USA roster for the World Juniors. Obsessed so much over finding the Connecticut natives that Gerry Cantlon pointed out I missed the son of the Connecticut native, Jack Drury, Ted’s son. Two Islanders draft picks on the list, too, Logan Cockerill and Oliver Wahlstrom.

And speaking of Connecticut high school hockey, things are still crazy otherwise, so… more as it comes.

Michael Fornabaio