Season Over In Twelve Hours

There are just 12 hours left in the Bridgeport Sound Tigers regular season. Twelve hours where each twenty-minute period will be played with intensity. In my most recent post, I stated that I did not expect the team to return to the arena on Monday March 25th in first place, and they won’t. Did I expect them to lose each of the last five games? I did not, but it happened. Is the team out of the hunt for a divisional title? Not by a long shot.

In a late night tweet following Wednesday’s shut out loss to the Binghamton Senators, Rhett Rakhshani posted “Tough stretch for the tigers. Sometimes you learn and grow the most from the tough times. We will turn this ship around!”. While the ‘boat’ reference brings to mind Captain Ahab’s Peqoud sunk by a Connecticut Whale, the Titanic destroyed by the St. Johns Ice Caps or Captain Quint’s boat Orca devoured by a Worcester Shark in the movie ’Jaws’, I share his optimism.

The team is missing some weapons at the moment. Call-ups, injuries and a suspension will keep David Ullstrom, Casey Cizikas, Jeremy Colliton and Michael Haley from lighting the goal light for a bit longer. Led by Rakhshani and a net crashing Justin DiBenedetto (pictured/Photo by Pope Steve XXLIV) there are plenty of weapons left in the arsenal and new ones arriving almost daily.

Friday night the Tigers face the Springfield Falcons for the last game of a long tough stretch. It is time to start a win streak, twelve hours left with two points awarded each hour and every point precious the time is now. So what needs to be changed?

Goaltending is not an issue. Kevin Poulin and Anders Nisson have both proven they are solid backstops. Recently injured (sprained ankle), Anders will miss a few more starts and Quinnipiac U. goalie Dan Clarke has signed an ATO to serve as the necessary backup.

On defense I don’t think there is a better team in the AHL. Led by top prospects Matt Donovan, Aaron Ness, and Calvin de Haan, the team also has Mark Katic getting healthier every day and veterans such as Ty Wishart, Steve Oleksy and Jon Landry providing leadership at the blue line. (The Donovan-Oleksy pairing we saw so much of in Jan. and Feb. would be a top line on any team.)

Scoring does not concern me, there is just too much talent lacing up each night for that to be a worry. Every night all four lines are forcing the play and crashing the net, the goals will come and hopefully in bunches. In fact I would be willing to bet on it. Aside from my annual $5 Super Bowl/ coin-toss wager with good friend Justin Keeler, I have not placed a bet since I lost $42 (my weekly take home at the time) betting on the Colts to beat the Jets in 1969. This one is a lock. 12 games left, over/under for Sound Tigers goals scored is set at 34. I will take the over and cheer each of them. (My pick is 40).

Take another look at what Rhett posted. He did not say ‘we need to turn the ship around’ he said ‘We WILL turn the ship around’. Bring home the banner boys we can talk Calder next month.

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