9:25 pm: The Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ season ended tonight with a 4-1 loss in Game 5 in Hershey. The Bears, 60-game winners in the regular season, won the series four games to one.
As an indication of what a mismatch this series was on paper coming in, Hershey scored six goals in the second period in Bridgeport in Game 3 on Saturday. Tonight, midway through the game, the Bears not only were winning 4-1, they had out-shot the Sound Tigers 23-1. The one Bridgeport shot was a goal by Dylan Reese, shorthanded in the first period. For the game, the Tigers were out-shot 34-7. Yes, for the game.
On the bright side, Jack Capuano’s Sound Tigers gave the Bears two tough games in Hershey to open the series – including an overtime Game 1 in which the home team benefitted from some shaky officiating – and won Game 3. (Maybe Hershey, the AHL affiliate of the James Taylor-deep Washington Capitals, wanted another home game of more than 8,000 paid. Nah, just kidding).
Best of all, goalie prospect Mikko Koskinen (30 saves tonight) was promoted from his ECHL rehab stint in Utah and got some AHL playoff time. His recovery from major hip surgery has been a strong one.
Per Michael Fornabaio of the Connecticut Post, this was Bridgeport’s lineup in Game 5:
Reich – Mauldin – Rakhshani
Smith – Radja – Davies
Bentivoglio – Haskins – Joensuu
Martin – Marcinko – Figren
MacDonald – Reese
Kohn – Flood
Wotton – Gleed
As you can see, for Bridgeport’s biggest game of the season, this was not a roster filled with legitimate Islanders prospects. (This is why PB’s coverage was non-existent, nor was I bowled over with requests, lol). At forward, it might be generous to say there was one on each line. But that’s the AHL for you, especially in this era of NHL hockey.
This is pretty much what the Islanders envisioned for Bridgeport this season. (Well, except for Matt Moulson as the team’s leading scorer). The climate changes in 2010-11, when Bridgeport could be home to the development of several in-coming Islanders prospects, including dman Travis Hamonic, goalies Koskinen and Kevin Poulin and possibly forward David Ullstrom.
Slowly, steadily the plan continues to come into focus.
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