In Binghamton, they “laid an egg,” didn’t compete like they needed to.
In Charlotte, it was work ethic, attention to detail.
“We didn’t finish our hits. We weren’t on our toes on the forecheck,” Brent Thompson said. “For me, we didn’t sustain enough zone time again, and even possess the puck enough.”
They’re having trouble getting shots through; through this 10-game winless-in-regulation streak, they haven’t outshot an opponent. Today, though, you could certainly credit Hershey, which had sticks and bodies in shooting and passing lanes and blocked at least 15 shots by my rough (particularly by the third period) count.
“They’re a great shot-blocking team. We’ve got to do a better job getting the puck past that first set of legs to the net area, so we can get a stick on it,” Thompson said. “Maybe it bounces off the endboards, we can get a good bounce for us.”
Some chances missed the net, too, but still, not enough getting to the net. And 3-6-0-1 in the past 10 keeps them in second place, but last place (Hartford and Hershey with 42 points) is now closer to them (52) than first (Charlotte 64). Though third-place Lehigh Valley, similarly banged up (enough that the Phantoms dressed 17 skaters today and still got a point) has gained only one point on them in this stretch, the rest of the division is a lot closer than it was three and a half weeks ago.
“It’s only going to get harder as the season goes on,” Thompson said. “The last half of the season is always the harder part. This part of the season is kind of the dog days, if you will, where you’re going to have to find a way to get a win.”
Thompson was kind of vague on Stephen Gionta: “lower-body, middle-body, week-to-week, day-to-day.” Wasn’t that the last verse to “Break On Through”?
The lines got mixed up in the third period; Chris Bourque-Koivula-Bernier got double-shifted for a while. Gaudreau, Jones and Ho-Sang (who stickhandled in and out of and back into danger a few times) played together a fair bit, as did Eansor-Holmstrom-R.Bourque, with Bellows-St. Denis-Fritz mostly sticking together.
Tough third for Yannick Rathgeb, who ran into Jeremy Smith and knocked his stick away on the first shift, got bowled over a shift or two later to set up the last Hershey goal, then nearly got bowled over in almost the same spot a shift or two after that.
Bridgeport is 6-7 at home on Mondays. They need to stop rescheduling Mondays, evidently.
ECHL transactions say Hershey called up Jordan Samuels-Thomas today.
Mikko Koskinen gets himself paid.
Darien’s Spencer Knight is the top-ranked North American goalie in Central Scouting’s midterm draft rankings. Tyce Thompson is the 123rd-ranked North American skater. Brooklyn Kalmikov, son of Konstantin, is 157th. Ridgefield’s Luke Krys is 202nd.