8:55 pm – I just spoke with Bridgeport coach Jack Capuano as he was boarding the team bus for the ride home after the Sound Tigers’ come-from-behind 5-4 win in overtime tonight in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Some of Capuano’s thoughts:
On the comeback: “We haven’t quit all year. This team just does not quit, so I can’t say I was surprised we came back from down 4-1 and with a lot of adveristy in that second period. Walking into this building down two games, where the Penguins have one of the best home records in the league, and with all our injuries…well, this was just outstanding. We have a lot more work ahead of us, but I’m proud of their effort.”
His pre-game approach: “I told the guys right before the game, “We can’t win four games in one night. We just have to keep battling and battling until the end.’ And you know what? That’s exactly what our team did.”
On Sean Bentivoglio: “So great to see a kid like that rewarded. Benti works so hard and it hasn’t always dropped for him. But he’s played real well the last few weeks. In the overtime, Jack Hillen fed him a perfect pass and Benti took care of the rest. The coaching staff is so happy for Benti because we know the effort he puts in every night.”
On Peter Mannino: “The true mark of a good pro goalie, that’s what he showed tonight. We gave up the four goals in the second period and it could have turned into a nightmare. But Pete made a huge save at the far post on Nick Johnson late in the second period and then we made it 4-2. He was perfect in the third and in overtime. That’s what winning goaltenders do.”
On the pro debut of NYI draft pick Justin DiBenedetto: “I just met with Justin because I wanted to give him immediate feedback. He made his professional debut tonight under pretty trying circumstances – on the road in a must-win game in the playoffs. Dibo has incredible hockey sense, puck skills and hands. He played a regular shift, must have gotten at least 20 minutes. I can’t say for sure because like the Penguins we’re a little beat up and bruised and I don’t know if we’ll get anyone back. But Justin did plenty tonight to earn a shot at Game 4 on Wednesday back at our home rink.”
What needs to change for Game 4: “Nothing, really. I don’t mean there aren’t some aspects we can be better at, especially the power play and PK. But I like our approach. Our team identity all season has been to play with passion. I don’t expect that will change.”
8:02 pm – Sean Bentivoglio scores at 9:48 of overtime to complete the comeback and give Bridgeport a 5-4 win in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Penguins now lead the best-of-7 series 2-1 with Game 4 in Bridgeport on Wednesday.
7:30 pm – Tonight it’s Bridgeport’s turn to mount a third period comeback on the road. Down 4-2 in the third period, the Sound Tigers get goals from Jon Sim (11:51) and Joe Callahan (15:46) to send the game into overtime. Gutsy.
6:55 pm – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scores 4 goals in the second period to take a 4-2 lead heading into the third period. Jon Sim and Andrew MacDonald have the goals for Bridgeport, who are on the brink of playoff disaster after such an impressive regular season.
Plenty of changes for Bridgeport today after dropping Game 1 and 2 to the Penguins at the Coliseum in the first round of the AHL playoffs. Kyle Okposo (World Championships), Mike Iggulden (upper-body injury) and Pascal Morency are out. For his hit on Iggulden, Tim Wallace of the Penguins has been suspended for one game. Goaltending switch: Peter Mannino in for Nathan Lawson.
Good test for OHL scoring forward Justin DiBenedetto. He’ll make his AHL and pro debut today for Game 3 on a line with Rob Hennigar and Jesse Joensuu. 2007 draft pick Max Gratchev – unsigned by the Islanders and on an ATO with Bridgeport – also debuts. Dennis Packard in for Morency. We’ll have a story on the game tonight. Faceoff for Game 3 in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is at 5:05 pm.