Bridgeport went on a tear this week, winning 4 straight games and posting 19 goals. It was a mix of the old names, Justin DiBenedetto, new names, Matt Donovan and the same solid goaltending from Kevin Poulin. Donovan is 9th among all defenseman and 18th among all rookies in points. Casey Cizikas is currently 12th among all rookies in points. With 7 games remaining in the season the Soundtigers have a 2 point lead over the Whale, with 3 regulation wins helping their lead.
Sunday March 25th Vs Connecticut (Smurfs)
BP outshot CT 16-14 and had the 3-2 lead at the end of the first. They held the lead until the last 7 minutes of the game, despite being outshot 27-17. Scott Howes (Tyler Gron, DiBenedetto), Rhett Rhakhshani (Aaron Ness, Jon Landry) and Scott Olesky (Donovan, Tomas Marcinko) scored in the first. For Howes that was his 10th goal on the season and Rakh's 15th goal. Matt Donovan (Mark Katic, Rakhshani) was the hero tonight though, scoring a PP goal with 2 seconds left in OT for the win. First Star of the game Poulin, Second Star Olesky and Third Star Donovan.
Tuesday March 27th Vs Worcester (Sharks)
This time BP started off slow, lucky to be down 2-0 after the 1st after being outshot 12-4. 5 minutes into the 2nd it was 4-1 thanks to a goal from Blair Riley (John Persson, Tony Romano). But BP proceeded to storm back, scoring 3 2nd period goals by Olesky (Howes, Marcinko) DiBenedetto (Calvin DeHaan, Tony Romano) and Kael Mouilierat (Romano, Aaron Ness). But it was halfway through the 3rd when DiBenedetto (Jon Landry, Romano) scored his 20th goal of the year to give BP the win, 5-4. First Star was Dibo, Second Star was Romano.
Friday March 30th Vs Springfield (Bluejackets)
Paul Dainton, goalie for Springfield, ran into a buzzsaw Friday night. BP scored 3 goals on 10 shots in the first 7 minutes of the game, including a Romano (Dibenedetto) goal just 14 seconds into the game. Micheal Haley (Rakhshani, Dibenedetto) got his 15th of the year and Blair Riley (Ty Wishart) jumped on the pile. Ullstrom (Mouilierat) got his 20th of the season to make it 4-1 at the end of the 1st. Rakhshani (Persson, Dibenedetto) and Ullstrom (Landry) added goals in the 2nd and 3rd. First Star was Ullstrom, Second Star was Dibo, Third Star was Rakhshani.
Saturday March 31st Vs Portland (Coyotes)
Riley (Ullstrom) opened the scoring in the first, giving BP a 1-0 lead at the end of the first despite being outshot 13-5. Portland scored 2 goals in the 2nd to make it 2-1. BP stormed back with goals by Landry (Sean Backman, Trevor Frischmon), and Rakhshani (Dibenedetto) to make it 3-2. Portland scored with under a minute left to force overtime. But with a second left in OT it was Frischmon (Donovan, Ullstrom) getting the game winner. First Star was Frischmon and Second Star was Poulin.
The Lone Kirill
Kirill Kabanov's Shawinigan moved on to the next round, finishing the sweep/rout of Rouyn. Kabanov had 1 assist in the last two games.
Oshawa is fighting tooth and nail with Ryan Strome's Niagra, winning back to back games at home tie the series at 2. This despite a 2nd star of the night performance with 2 goals and 1 assist from Strome in game 3. He helped power them to the game 5 win with another 2 goal performance.
After taking game 2, including 2 assists and 4 PIM from Andrei Pedan in the game, Guelph have dropped 3 straight games to Plymouth. Pedan had another assist, but combined in games 3 (7-1 loss) and 5 (9-3 loss) for a -7.
Unfortunately for Spokane who are in a tight 3-2 series (with the lead) with Vancouver, Brenden Kichton who is their third highest point getter on the season and an amazing +55 is done for the year. He went in for surgery to fix his broken jaw after taking a puck off the face in game 1.
Brock Nelson was the final NCAA Islanders prospect to have his season end. He had an assist in the Championship game that UND dropped to Minnesota.
Also of note, Notre Dame's Robbie Russo was named to the CCHA All-Rookie team, the first UND defenseman to make the team since 2007.
Since I can never understand how the Finnish League has it's stat boxes setup, what I can tell you is that Mikko Koskinen has struggled since shutting out the Espo Blues. In the first 3 games he allowed 2 goals as Kalpa took a 3-0 lead. But in dropping the last 2 games he has allowed 8 goals.
A Comparison: Anders Lee
This is going to be a new section as more and more of the prospects find their seasons coming to the end. We're going to spotlight one of the prospects and compare his season this year to his season last year. For the first of these we are going to look at Anders Lee of Notre Dame.
Last Season: After a dominating regular season, Lee and Notre Dame seemed to run out of steam late in the season, faltering in the semi-finals of both the CCHA and NCAA Tourneys. In 44 games, Lee had 24 goals and 20 assists for 44 points. Notre Dame went 25-14-5 on the season.
This Season: A strong start for Lee and Notre Dame faded as they hit a 5 game losing streak in December. They bounced back to win 4 straight, but following that streak they didn't win both weekend games again until the CCHA tourney. Lee meanwhile continued racking up another player of the month early on, but disappeared with the rest of the team during the tough stretches. Lee had 17 goals and 17 assists for 34 points in 40 games. Notre Dame went 19-18-3.
Although Lee struggled a bit compared to last season, his totals were still up there and one of the top stories for the UND Hockey Team was his announcement of intent to return for his junior year. Linemate TJ Tynan also had a tough year, having a 13 point drop between his freshman and sophomore years. The drop in points seems to be due to a lack of secondary scoring for ND. Lee was 2nd on the team in points, with 7 more points then 3rd, 9 more points then 4th and double the amount of points as 5th. Hopefully Notre Dame can add another weapon to take some of the pressure off the top line. At the very least they need to if they are going to compete again to win in the NCAA.
More Coverage for Bridgeport's Playoff Push
Just a note, with the Isles eliminated and Bridgeport playoff-bound, we'll turn a little closer lens on the daily Bridgeport happenings over the next few weeks. *Yes, this was partially just an excuse to shoot some Three Minute Island on a river: