Embarrassed. That is the only word I can think of that describes how I feel about Thursday nights’ Sound Tigers loss to the Whale. It has little to do with the way the team played or the outcome of the game. It has nothing to do with the embarrassment I felt for the singer of our National Anthem who forgot the words. It has everything to do with the small crowd in attendance. I can only recall one time I felt that totally embarrassed.
After years of living in the same house, I had just moved into a one-bedroom condo on the first floor of a well-lit building in Bridgeport. Prior to that, my normal routine for nocturnal emissions was, rise from bed, take a left, another left, quick right and close the door behind me. In my new environs this familiar routine left me buck-naked in the hallway where looking to my right I could see the entrance to St. Ambrose Church. I was able to escape my embarrassment; the Sound Tigers were not as fortunate.
Naked and under the bright lights they took the ice after bringing home the division title. A tremendous effort by the team had brought them from worst to first and they were greeted by a handful of 'fans' who only offered a brief roar from section 103 after winning free passes to a local bowling alley. Not the playoff hockey atmosphere I had expected or promised friends, nor was it what the team deserved, but it was typical of the support teams in our state are given.
To be honest, Thursday night's contest was a difficult one to watch. The first two periods were dominated by the defensemen from both teams. Neither team could create space, passing lanes were blocked and momentum was denied on every shift. It promised to be a long night.
When Bridgeport had its 'muckers' in place to plant a rebound, none came. When a rebound did come, it landed on the stick of an opponent and was quickly cleared from harms way. When a scoring opportunity presented itself, goalies Kevin Poulin (BPT) or Cam Talbot (HAR) denied access. When the Sound Tigers latest import from Sweden, left-winger John Persson, poked one home for an apparent 1-0 Bridgeport lead, it was waived off by referee Mark Lemelin because he was 'thinking about blowing the whistle.' -WHAT?
A couple of lapses on defense led to Hartford goals, and an impressive outing by their goalie (42 saves) led to a 3-0 shut out loss for the Tigers. Bridgeport was going to lose a game in this best of five series and may lose one more. Hartford will have losses as well (hopefully three) as this series is destined to go the distance.
I understand that losing a game is part of the process of moving forward. I also understand that there are reasons that people could not attend Thursday's game. Perhaps you were broke after paying your taxes or totally exhausted from competing in the Boston marathon. Many will not be able to attend on Saturday for good reason as well, it is after all opening day of trout season and there is that must see episode of 'Doing Something With Stars'.
If you have no such legitimate excuse, do yourself a favor and come to The Webster Bank Arena. I cannot promise a win for the Sound Tigers but I will promise an evening of entertainment you are sure to enjoy.
- Mike Flannery
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