Fritz out: Hershey pregame

Bad news from the Island this morning: Tanner Fritz is out six to eight weeks after surgery on a blood clot in his hand. That’s, like, conference finals at best, which is disappointing.

His mates on the Island carry on without him. His old mates in Bridgeport are inching closer to joining the Big Club in a playoff spot. Magic number is three, and 10 to clinch home ice. Their closest competitor, in magic-number terms at least, visits today.

The Sound Tigers go today without Otto Koivula, who has one empty-net goal and three assists in the past 14, and Seth Helgeson, which is a smidgen surprising. Parker Wotherspoon and Stephen Gionta draw back in. Connor Jones moves up into Koivula’s spot.

Hershey is pretty close to what it ran last night to beat Providence, just moving Yalie Joe Snively up and going with Vitek Vanecek in net.

Pucks and Paws day. A couple of dogs in the bowl as warmup got going. They haven’t started barking yet, thankfully.

F: Bellows-Lorito-Bernier (A)
St. Denis-Jones-C.Bourque (A)
Kubiak – Stevens – Ho-Sang
R.Bourque-Gionta-B.Holmstrom (C)
D: Aho-Burroughs
Vande Sompel-Hutton
G: Gibson

F: O’Brien-Sgarbossa (A)-Barber
Walker (A) – Megna – Smith-Pelly
D: Ness-Lewington (A)
G: Vanecek

R: O’Donnell, Rekucki. L: Colby, Simeon.

This should be the box.

Bridgeport scratches (believed healthy unless noted): Helgeson (veteran), Rathgeb, Carpenter, apparently Eansor, Koivula, Sislo (veteran/maintenance), Wahlstrom.

First Bridgeport game for referee Jake Rekucki.

Scoreboard watching: Not today, unless you’re keeping an eye on Matt Donovan’s playoff chances: Three other games, all out in the Rumored Conference. (That’s some battle in the Central, though, five teams separated by six points with five-to-seven games left, battling for two spots, the bottom four separated by three points.)

Michael Fornabaio