Even before -- but likely in anticipation of -- the recalls of Casey Cizikas and David Ullstrom, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers had converted five PTOs into regular AHL contracts over the past week, with Kael "Mallrat" Mouillierat, Scott Howes, and Steve Oleksy among them.
As part of the moves, oft-loaned but seldom-played Benn Olson was dealt to the Houston Aeros for future considerations, which in the AHL is usually a one-day voucher for a loaner bus that already looks mean.
With all those transactions looming before Monday's NHL trade deadline -- and the AHL Clear Day a week afterward -- ConnPost beatwriter Michael Fornabaio had coach and master recruiter Brent Thompson waxing on the dilemma:
"It's a really good problem to have, especially with the strong group of players who have played so well. We want everyone contributing, everyone a part of this race we're in."
The roster picture was also colored by the rehab of Calvin de Haan, who returned yesterday afternoon, and Mark Katic, who's expected back soon.
Feb. 20: Bridgeport 3, Albany (Devils) 0
The Sound Tigers absolutely dominated as Anders Nilsson nabbed his second shutout of the season. Thanks to a boarding misconduct (his second of the season) in this one, Tomas Marcinko was suspended three games and misses all three games this weekend. [Game Highlights]
Feb. 24: Springfield 2* (Columbus), Bridgeport 1 (*SO)
Although they made it through 65 minutes tied, Anders NIlsson was forced to make 35 saves and Brent Thompson called it an uncharacteristically mistake-filled game. According to that game report, the goal conceded came when Tyler McNeely pulled a Josh Bailey and backhanded a clear in his own zone. The lone BPT goal came from Blair Riley, one of the bevy of PTO-turned-AHL contract players signed recently. [Game Highlights]
Feb. 25: Bridgeport 5, Providence (Bruins) 4
For a potentially contentious encounter, the Sound Tigers lined up at the opening faceoff yesterday with Trevor Gillies and Haley with Mouillierat; Gillies then took a hooking penalty 6:34 into the game, which I'm sure intimidated the Bruins so much they proceeded to build a 3-0 lead. Teh Gritz! Haley also had a spirited fight, which is in the highlight link below.
Things would turn around, however. Jeremy Colliton scored his 200th AHL point on the game-winning goal with under eight minutes left. It was a big comeback win, with Bridgeport turning things around at the game's midpoint as they reeled off four consecutive goals.
Justin DiBenedetto (15th, Tony Romano, Aaron Ness) scored, followed by Trevor Frischmon's 7th (Backman, McNeely) and then two goals by Micheal Haley (9,10) with Howes, Landry and Mallrat collecting assists. After giving one back, Colliton's goal was assisted by DiBenedetto. Kevin Poulin had 27 saves on 31 shots. [Game Highlights]
DiBenedetto's post-game Tweet was priceless:
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The Sound Tigers complete the weekend today against Albany at 3 p.m., just two hours before the parent Islanders play in Ottawa.
Natural Born Kirills
Kirill Petrov picked up an assist in his lone game this week. He's up to 16 goals, 13 assists and 29 points in 51 games. [Highlight video of Petrov prowling in front of the net and playing the body.]
Ryan Strome's point streak was stopped at 13 consecutive games. Bust. That leaves the slacker with only 22-30-52 in 36 games.
John Persson still leads Red Deer with 21-32-53 in 59 games.
Brenden Kichton has played 60 games (13-46-59) in the WHL and is tied for Spokane's scoring lead with a guy who knows the right way to spell "Dominik." Granted, Dominik Uher has played fewer games, but he's also a center. Kichton was a minus-3 Friday night though as the Chiefs were thumped 8-3 by Nino Niederreiter's old team.
Andrei Pedan (9-22-31, 129 PIM) has impressed with recent disciplined play as Guelph makes a push for the final playoff slot.
Hit The Books: NCAA
*Waivers and Clear Day Procedures 301 is popular
Brock Nelson scored his 21st and 22nd goals of the season yesterday, but the Fighting Possibly Offensive Name couldn't complete the weekend sweep in Denver. It's been almost 1200 days since any team has managed to do so. (By the way, The Reverend Nelson is "youngest 20-goal scorer since an 18-year old Jonathan Toews scored 22 as a freshman in 2005-06."
In that second game, a 5-3 Denver win, Scott Mayfield scored the gamewinner on the powerplay. Random Google Return: Scott Porter is now engaged to Kelsey Mayfield, so you can all stay tuned for details of the big day. That has nothing to do with anything, but when you turn to Teh Google, you never know what lovely news you'll find.
Anders Lee was on an 11-game goalless slump, but he broke it with a goal during Notre Dame's weekend split with Michigan State. He has 15 goals and 16 assists in 36 games. That wraps up the regular season for Lee and Robbie Russo (4-10-14 in 36), and the 8th-place Fighting Inoffensive Name get home-ice advantage for a best-of-three series with Ohio next weekend.
Jason Clark remains without a goal. Cody Rosen did not play this week.
Finnish Loans and Trust
Jesse Joensuu is up to 11-15-26 in 45 games for HV71. (Always fun trivia: Jason Krog leads that team with 12-26-38.)
Mikko Koskinen hasn't played the last four games, as KalPa appears to be riding Juha Toivonen ever since he relieved Koskinen five games ago.
Johan Sundstrom added an assist and is up to 5-3-8 in 44 games for Frölunda-cheese.
Ziggy Palffy has 82 points in 47 games in Slovakia. I mean really now. He also has 76 PIM.