Four games is early to get too obsessed. But a couple of things stand out even from a cursory look at Bridgeport’s first four games (which is about all we’ve really given them in this space, covering one, very casually watching another and maybe getting highlights of the other two):
1) The Sound Tigers have been outshot on the whole. The exception is their last game, so maybe it’s a trend and not just a blip in a small sample, but total shots are 132-98 for the opponents (Hartford scored on the only shot of overtime). Yeah, Corsis, Fenwicks, quality, out-power-played 19-14, don’t confuse effort with achievement (with apologies to the Barry Trotz version everyone keeps quoting, this is the one my dad always told me), etc. But still.
B) Their goals have come mostly on the rush. Of nine goals in four games, seven have come directly off or on the rebound of transition (including the power-play goal), and you could argue for an eighth, Sebastian Aho’s pulling a rebound out into the right circle last Friday. The exception is Ryan Bourque’s tying goal in Hartford, on which the fourth line gained the zone, started to cycle, lost it, got it back, lost it again, got it back and scored.
Fair to say, Brent Thompson — and again, I apologized for the cursory look, but — they’re not spending enough time in the offensive zone?
“Offensively, no,” they’re not, he said, “We need to learn to protect the puck, control zone time, control the puck, win the walls, win the hard areas. There’s a lot of details that go into that. We’re just not doing it consistently enough through the course of the first four games. Now, this last week of practice felt like it was the best week we’ve had. Hopefully that’ll translate into the next group of games.”
Game 1 of the next group of games (five in nine days) is the home opener. It comes without Tanner Fritz, who’s away on a family matter. They’re also without Cole Bardreau, called up to possibly make his NHL debut. Otto Koivula remains out. With those several centermen out, John Stevens makes his season debut, and Mason Jobst takes over Bardreau’s spot. Colin McDonald has an ‘A’ in Fritz’s absence.
Bode Wilde arrived this week, playing date to be determined. It is not tonight.
F: Bellows-St. Denis-Schilkey
D: Wotherspoon-Burroughs (C)
F: Lucchini-Agozzino (A)-Noesen
D: Joseph-Warsofsky (C)
R: South, M.Sullivan. L: Wahl, Hejna.
Bridgeport scratches (presumed healthy unless noted): Soderstrom, Hickey (lower), Quenneville, Wilde (ankle), Brown (lower), Fritz (personal), Ho-Sang, Koivula (upper), Thomson, Turcotte (upper)
First Bridgeport game for referee Mike Sullivan (and not Joe Sullivan). Another hockey Mike Sullivan complicates a Google search.
And RIP, Bill Macy.