The Lost Hour
(Michael Haley/Pope Steve XXLVII)
Changing Daylight Savings Time to the second weekend of March has made this my least favorite weekend of the year. Well into my training regimen for St. Patrick’s Day the last thing I need is a lost hour of sleep. It would also prove to be a difficult weekend for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Another three games in three nights can be expected but this past weekend the opponents could not have been tougher. On Friday the Tigers visited Hartford the team with the AHL’s best home record, 16-4-2-4. Saturday the team would return home to face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins holders of the AHL’s best road record at an amazing 22-6-0-3. Shortened Sunday would find the Tigers at home against the AHL’s point leading Norfolk Admirals, winners of fourteen games in a row. Bridgeport did not post a win in those three games (first time winless in three in 2012) but they were not out played in any period in those games picking up two valuable points in the process.
Fridays’ game against Hartford was the typical battle fans have come to expect from these in-state rivals. Of the seven previous games played three were decided in overtime, one in a shoot-out and another in a dramatic one point Bridgeport victory. With top guns David Ullstrom and Casey Cizikas playing with the Islanders it was time for another player to step forward. Once again it was Michael Haley who came through. Haleys’, second goal of the night with 15:08 remaining on the clock should have been the winner and was for fifteen minutes and three seconds of that time until in ill timed and unfortunate bounce put the puck in the net giving Hartford a tie. Scoreless through overtime the Tigers would let this game, one in which they had held the lead in on three occasions, get away in a shoot out.
I went to Saturdays’ game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, with my good friend Mike (Scapp) Scappatura and his fiancée Mia, two Penguin fans. They were not alone as WBS travels well. Section 102 of the Webster Bank Arena was awash with the black and yellow of Pens fans. My guess is 200 of their faithful had made the trip. What we all saw that night was one of those games that is so well played, so hardly contested that you felt good leaving the arena win or lose.
Ullstrom and Cizikas were still missing. Haley, the hero from the night before had now been called up. Team captain Jeremy Colliton would miss the game and the weekend due to injury, Mark Katic was not yet available full time and fresh off his first NHL win (a shut out) goalie Anders Nilsson was still on the Island. To say we were short handed would understate the obvious; to say we were out manned, a mistake. Rhett Rakhshani scored his 13th of the season (34 games played) late to force overtime in a game neither team deserved to lose but the Tigers would lose once again in a shoot out.
The final game of the one-hour shorter weekend was a Sunday matinee against the AHL’s points leading Norfolk Admirals. Although it was for the most part a well-played game by both clubs it was decided by poor officiating. I’m not just talking sour grapes. At games end the Sound Tigers bench was assessed a game misconduct, which was added to the box score. Obviously a player or coach more gifted than I at expressing himself, offended one of the officials who was unable to explain how in a physically contested game one team could be penalized once while the other eight times. Final score NOR-6, BST-3. Power plays NOR 4 of 8, BST 0 for 1.
I want my lost hour back. Hopefully it will be sixty minutes of seventh game playoff hockey.
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