Ben Holmstrom has three goals this year. Today’s was a pretty big one. The other two were up there, too. “We’ve been working on it a lot this year, especially as of late, the (defensemen) getting their shots through and the forwards getting to the net and making it hard on goalies,” Holmstrom said. “Sometimes you get rewarded.”
It was a three-in-three interdivisional game, so it wasn’t pretty. Utica seemed to find its way in the third, got those two goals, seemed to have more life. Holmstrom said there wasn’t anything unusual that had to be said at that point. Brent Thompson said the leaders were keeping things up, Steve Bernier, the vets on the back end.
“Obviously, there’s our captain who gets the tying goal,” Thompson said. “Character and work ethic suits him.”
They kill a penalty late, get it done in overtime, get two points. With 24 games left, they’re all huge.
Some turnovers, some lapses: some fatigue. “I think it’s a function of three-in-three,” Thompson said. “I thought we were sloppy with the puck through the entire game. We’ve got to clean that up. We don’t want to beat ourselves. We’ve got to be a lot smarter managing the puck, defending. That’s going to be a priority moving forward.”
On this three-in-three in particular, “we had two games against Providence that were not easy,” Otto Koivula said (Mark Divver aptly called them “rock fights“). “It’s always, to me, a new game. You have to refocus and do the right things. That’s my mindset, the whole team’s mindset.”
Maintenance day for Connor Jones, Thompson said.
Cool: Chris Bourque and Brendan Woods were lined up opposite each other at the draw to open the second period. They had a little chat, and Bourque gave him a little tap on the shin. Woods’ dad, Bob, coached Bourque in Hershey a decade ago.
Bourque and Koivula have been productive. “It’s been good to play with Chris. He’s a good guy,” Koivula said. “You know, 900 pro games, there’s a lot of games behind him. It’s an honor to play with him. He’s such a good player. I think we’re on the same page every game. I just like to play with him.”
Thompson on Matt Lorito: “You could just see his skill set, his vision, his plays with the puck. I’m looking forward to seeing more. I thought he got more and more confident as the game went on. I think you saw in the third period he started controlling play in the offensive zone. Every time he’s on the ice, he’s a threat. I thought he did a great job setting up the game-winner.”
Tanner Fritz is now alone in third place in Sound Tigers all-time overtime scoring, 3-4-7. Devon Toews is 2-6-8, and Jeff Hamilton was 6-1-7.
Tyler Barnes scored again for Worcester — seven in a row — but though they came from behind to get a point, the Railers lost in overtime.
Anaheim GM Bob Murray takes over as interim head coach. Wow.
Charlotte goalie Scott Darling is ttaking a leave of absence, Chip Alexander reports.
More during the week.