Big losses aren't fun, but it's fun to watch the Bridgeport Sound Tigers deal with the burden of expectations and the inevitable inconsistencies that any team, particularly a young team, faces as it buses around the AHL.
Wednesday saw a poor 5-1 loss to the Adirondack Phantoms, a loss that coach Scott Pellerin said was "very similar" to previous clunkers that have interrupted their now 10-5 start.
The Sound Tigers fell victim to their own effort, to a Phantoms powerplay that uses four forwards on the first unit, and to fresh recall Jason Akeson, who led the Phantoms in scoring last season and had three primary assists in his season debut last night.
On the bright side, such as it is, Nino Niederreiter extended his scoring streak to nine with an assist on Jon Landry's goal. He led Bridgeport with five shots on goal. Nino has a ways to go to chase franchise records, but Michael Fornabaio says only Jesse Joensuu has compiled a longer streak since 2007-08.
Here's how they lined up, according to the official site, with some tweaks since last game:
22 Nino Niederreiter – 29 Brock Nelson – 13 Colin McDonald
23 John Persson – 28 Johan Sundstrom – 42 Brandon DeFazio
24 David Ullstrom – 14 Matt Watkins – 40 Mike Halmo
44 Brett Gallant – 16 Sean Backman – 20 Blair Riley
15 Marc Cantin – 3 Travis Hamonic
46 Matt Donovan – 6 Ty Wishart
27 Aaron Ness – 7 Jon Landry
38 Kevin Poulin (starter)
45 Anders Nilsson
Links: Adirondack 5, Bridgeport 1
- Box score | Game sheet
- BST recaps: Official site | Soundin Off long-distance live blog and post-game
- From the other side: Saratogian blog on Akeson and the powerplay | Saratogian gamer | Phantoms Forum
So now it's back to 10-5 -- a record most before the season would have taken for the first 15 games. But with success comes expectation, which sets up a different sort of disappointment after losses like this: Not quite "here we go again," but rather "This isn't us.." Once again, they have a chance to prove it Friday night at home against the Connecticut Whale.