“Team game. Team game,” Christopher Gibson said after they got two points and ran. “It wasn’t pretty on our part all the time. We battled hard.
“This is how we have to play. We have to find a way.”
The way tonight was a bunch of Gibson saves, a penalty kill that got the job done through a parade of minors (one to the bench with 1:46 left) and two goals from unlikely sources (one of them unlikely to be unlikely) that let them survive and advance.
In its way, that’s playoff hockey. Goaltending, penalty kill, get scoring from everyone, find a way. But there are easier ways than Wednesday’s.
“Good teams find ways to win. We’ll get that in the bank and learn from it,” Brent Thompson said. “We have to focus on habits and details, be consistent every game, every practice, and prepare for playoffs, make sure we play the right way. (Tonight) was a little sloppy.”
Quite a bit, at times.
“It’s a time we can’t take our foot off the pedal,” Stephen Gionta said. “It wasn’t the cleanest of games, but we found a way to win. That’s what we have to do, kinda, going forward. We want to secure home ice and not let off the gas.”
One more point gets that second-place goal done.
“It’s exciting. We have a great group of guys. Young, old, everybody’s a fun guy to be around. We all want to play hard for each other.”
A friendly reminder that the Fake Team Awards are underway for the 14th year, and at least the third year that I’ve threatened will be the last. Voting still open until Friday night.
Kieffer Bellows’ first goal since Jan. 26. “I feel like my game’s really taking off right now. I said that before,” Bellows said, “but I think my all-around game right now, I’ve done a good job in the offensive zone,” Bellows said. “I’ve gotten chances and stuff, but also my defensive game has really improved a lot. Going into the playoffs right now, I feel good about my personal game and also the team’s game.”
Didn’t expect anything different, but Thompson said nothing’s determined about the weekend lineup yet, let alone if the guys from Worcester become an option at any point. Friday’s game will be meaningful; Hershey plays Hartford at the same time the Sound Tigers play in Springfield. But one point either way there, and Saturday becomes just a Game 76 (at least for Bridgeport; a chance it’s meaningful for the Penguins).
Speaking of Penguins, Big Club’s up by one.
Yanick Turcotte had been assigned 38 early in the season; he’s now assigned 43, according to the roster on the league site. David Quenneville was assigned 32; he wore 36 on his ATO last year.
Thompson didn’t offer specifics but did say Mike Sislo’s lower-body injury will keep him out “a longer term than expected.”
Elsewhere, we’d heard some buzz through the grapevine here, but Ben Birnell reported tonight that this will in fact be Jaime Sifers’ last season. A fine pro career for the former Fairfield Prep Jesuits defenseman. (Meanwhile, now especially, want.)
Hershey added Chris McCarthy, who you may remember from Hartford, or Lehigh Valley, or maybe the University of Vermont.
While Bridgeport called up their Worcester guys, Connor Doherty, the Railers’ former Sacred Heart defenseman, got a PTO with Utica.