Photos by Rich Stieglitz
Friday night, The Arena at Harbor Yard - With three games in three nights – and four in five – the Sound Tigers coaching staff is careful not to crush their players with video. Tonight, head coach Jack Capuano takes measures to bring his pre-game video session in under five minutes. He even brings a stop-watch with him.
Capuano and assistants Pat Bingham and Matt Bertani enter the Bridgeport dressing room at 5:30 pm sharp. In 90 minutes, the Sound Tigers have a game with playoff-seeding implications against Worcester. Over five minutes of video, Capuano provides non-stop narration on the Sharks’ tendencies in the following:
- Defensive zone coverage
- Offensive zone play
Worcester utilizes a 1-2-2 forecheck. “You don’t want to play catch,” Capuano tells his defensemen. “Once you go D-to-D, we’ve got problems. You don’t want to go East-West and let them get into their trap.”
Every 30 seconds or so, Capuano punctuates some basic commentary with forceful directions.
“When that happens, everybody get to the net”!
“Watch how fast that winger gets out! Be aware of that”!
“Stay on their D. Force ‘em! Force em!”
Capuano refers to one of the Sound Tigers’ forechecks as “our Islanders forecheck.” In pointing out a Sharks defenseman with a tendency for turnovers, the coach says, “He’ll fumblef–ks the puck a lot.”
It’s a spirited, fast-paced session, hours and hours of work by the coaching staff boiled down to five minutes. Maybe not everything goes to form – this is hockey, after all – but the Sound Tigers defeat Worcester, 2-1 on goals by Junior Lessard and James Sexsmith and 37 saves by Nathan Lawson. Bridgeport improves its record to 42-20-3-5 and takes a one-point lead over Hershey at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
After a night’s sleep, the coaches and players get ready to do it all over again for Providence on Saturday and Portland on Sunday.