The first few shifts were phenomenal tonight. Bridgeport had nine shots before you blinked.
“Setting a tone was a big thing. We talked about it in the room,” Kyle Burroughs said. “For us, it was what we wanted to do, get going.”
Carter Hart got across to stop Travis St. Denis 2:18 in, stopped Steve Bernier on a two-on-one… he did fine, but it was Bridgeport making him work, Bridgeport getting in on the forecheck, Bernier and Michael Dal Colle pounding the defense on the first couple of shifts, forcing turnovers.
“I thought our guys were playing on our toes. They were aggressive. They were in on the forecheck. They controlled the puck,” Brent Thompson said.
“Our D had the mindset to get the puck to the net, which is important. If you look at our past couple of games, a lot of shots had been blocked. I thought a lot of our shots got through to the net, which allowed us to get secondary chances.”
Kieffer Bellows scored off a turnover. Chris Bourque scored off a blocked shot. Burroughs scored through Otto Koivula’s screen. And Bourque’s second effort at the blue line got him an empty-netter. It got Bridgeport a big win to end a rough month.
And it got Bourque off the schneid, a drought that was near historic for him.
In his rookie year, 2005-06, Chris Bourque had a five-point game in January, then went 24 games without a goal before he scored in his last game of the regular season. The next year, he went 14 games without a goal. And he didn’t go more than 13 games without scoring until these past 14. He was happy to get one. And Thompson likes the chemistry that he, Koivula and Bernier are developing. “It’s nice to see the two old guys helping the young guy out,” Thompson said. “I was really happy with that line, as far as a 200-foot game.”
Bridgeport went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill. Jeremy Smith made some big saves (did at even strength, too), but in particular on a penalty soon after Bourque gave them the lead, the Sound Tigers got in front of shots.
“We all just committed to (blocking shots),” Burroughs said.
“Right now, we’re just bearing down on the PK. We were getting those ones kind of squeaking in the last couple of seconds, untimely goals. We’re just trying to bear down and help out our goalie.”
The PK at this writing is up to 18th in the league (80.7 percent), nothing fancy, but it’s 34-for-the-past-38, a stretch that began with a season-long 14-for-14.
Burroughs got clipped with a puck off the boards dasher in warmup under his left eye. Stitched up.
Spencer Martin made 68 saves for Colorado last night, and it briefly looked like Hart might give him a run for his money here.
Worcester beat Adirondack; three points for Ryan Hitchcock, and an early goal and fight (and five shots in all) for Yanick Turcotte.
That’s the break, y’all. More Monday, most likely.