Gervais gets look at fast-paced NHL
SHELTON When Bridgeport Sound Tigers defenseman Bruno Gervais was
up with the New York Islanders in training camp, he got a taste of
what the new-look NHL and AHL rules package could mean.
What it could mean, in particular, on the stick of a future Hall of
Famer like Brian Leetch.
"We were playing Boston," Gervais said, "and every time Leetch had
the puck, two guys were flying up."
The NHL eliminated the restriction against two-line passes precisely
to offer a Brian Leetch a chance to make a home-run pass, to create
odd-man rushes, to generate more offense.
The goal is to open up the game, and though it's still to be seen how
much of an effect the package will have on the game, it's already
affecting the way players and coaches are thinking.
"Guys with speed can skate into pucks a lot more than they used to,"
said Sound Tigers coach Dave Baseggio, whose team defeated Albany 7-6
in a preseason game Saturday night at The Rinks at Shelton.
Taking out the red line was a common cure-all suggestion for opening
up the game. Baseggio is not as sure, thinking teams could pick up
perhaps three additional scoring chances a game.
There's still a chance that those three could be dangerous. But even
if the defense drops back to take away the long pass, it could open
up room for defensemen to move the puck elsewhere, Gervais said.
"Sometimes you can hit a guy long," Gervais said. "Guys like Blakes
(Islanders winger Jason Blake) can fly up the wing. If the D gets
responsible there and backs up, it gives you more space in close."
Baseggio said he's stressed making line changes at the right times,
especially in the second period, when defensemen have a longer trip
to the bench.
"If you dump the puck out, they can turn it right up and catch you,
especially in the second period," Baseggio said.
Among the numerous other changes the NHL hopes will open up the game
is a major crackdown on obstruction and penalties against the puck
carrier. The result in both the NHL and AHL preseasons has been games
full of penalties and power plays.
Defensemen who have grown up learning to punish the offensive player
in front of the net now can barely breathe on him until the puck gets
"Sometimes there's nothing you can do," Gervais said.
"It's all about body position," he added. "You try to be smart and
take the stick away at a good time. You've got to be quick and smart."
The penalty-box parade affected the momentum of Saturday night's
game. In the first period, Albany scored two power-play goals as the
Sound Tigers went to the box five times, building a 4-2 lead.
But in the second period, Albany took the only three penalties.
Bridgeport scored twice with the man advantage and twice at even
strength to take a 6-4 lead.
The Sound Tigers went 4-for-7 on the power play and are 8-for-17 in
the preseason. Albany went 3-for-8.
Justin Papineau, just down from the New York Islanders, scored two
goals and added an assist for the Sound Tigers. Wade Dubielewicz made
25 saves. Allan Rourke had two goals.
Rob Collins was scheduled to play but sat out with a lower abdominal
injury. Baseggio said Collins will see a doctor soon, but the injury
doesn't appear serious.
Wyatt Smith (foot) and Travis Brigley (back) remained out.
The team will hold a "fan fest" today at The Rinks during and after
practice, which begins at 11:15 a.m. Players will be available after
the skate for autographs.
Sound Tigers 7, River Rats 6
Albany4 0 2 6
Bridgeport2 4 1 7
First Period 1, Bridgeport, Papineau, 1:36. 2, Albany, Khomutov
(Allen, Bergfors), 7:35 (pp). 3, Albany, Minard (Sgroi, Letourneau-
Leblond), 8:25. 4, Bridgeport, Rourke (Papineau, Colley), 9:48 (pp).
5, Albany, Voros (Clarkson, DeMarchi), 11:39 (pp). 6, Albany,
Bergfors (Suglobov), 17:54. Penalties Regier, Bpt (hooking), 2:01;
Jarrett, Bpt (slashing), 4:26; Aquino, Bpt (hooking), 6:58;
Tallackson, Alb (interference), 9:23; Lee, Bpt (holding stick),
10:44; Caldwell, Bpt (interference), 17:54.
Second Period 7, Bridgeport, Rourke (Marjamaki), 5:12. 8,
Bridgeport, Colliton (Masse, Gervais), 9:10 (pp). 9, Bridgeport,
Papineau (Bouchard), 15:44 (pp). 10, Bridgeport, Jarrett (Colley),
18:36. Penalties Clarkson, Alb (holding), 3:08; Nittel, Alb (cross-
checking), 3:58; Masse, Bpt (interference), 3:58; Voros, Alb
(holding), 7:22; DeMarchi, Alb (interference), 14:18.
Third Period 11, Albany, Ryznar (Allen, Bergfors), 5:53 (pp). 12,
Bridgeport, Marjamaki (Colliton, Regier), 8:59 (pp). 13, Albany,
Clarkson (Voros, Nittel), 15:09. Penalties Koalska, Bpt (hooking),
4:22; Colley, Bpt (slashing), 5:12; Foster, Alb (high-sticking),
7:08; Allen, Alb (roughing), 8:34; Masse, Bpt (unsportsmanlike
conduct-diving), 8:34; Lee, Bpt (boarding), 12:59; Foster, Alb
Shots on goal Albany 11-6-14 31. Bridgeport 6-16-6 28. Power play
opportunities Albany 3 of 8, Bridgeport 4 of 7. Goaltenders
Albany, Doyle (22 shots-16 saves), Disher (6-5). Bridgeport,
Attendance 1,534. Referee Brown. Linesmen Redding, Demers.
SOUND TIGERS BEAT ALBANY 7-6 IN SHELTON
Outlast River Rats in second of three preseason games
SHELTON, CT The Sound Tigers beat the Albany River Rats 7-6 in a
preseason game at The Rinks at Shelton Saturday. The win improved
the Sound Tigers preseason record to 1-0-0-1.
Justin Papineau, who was just assigned to Bridgeport by the Islanders
Friday, opened the scoring with a pretty, unassisted goal 1:36 into
the game, but Albany answered with two goals in a 50 second span.
Ivan Khomutov tied the score at 1-1 at the 7:35 mark on the power
play off assists from Bobby Allen and Nicklas Bergfors, and Chris
Minard made it 2-1 off assists from P.L. Letourneau-Leblond and Mike
Sgroi at 8:25. Allan Rourke tied it at 2-2 with a power-play goal
for the Sound Tigers just 1:23 beyond that off assists from Papineau
and Kevin Colley, but the River Rats once again responded with back-
Aaron Voros put Albany ahead 3-2 on the power play off assists from
David Clarkson and Matt DeMarchi at 11:39, and Bergfors doubled the
lead to 4-2 off an assist from Aleksander Suglobov with 2:06 left in
the opening frame.
Rourke pulled the Sound Tigers to within 4-3 with his second goal of
the game and third of the preseason off an assist from Masi Marjamaki
5:12 into the second period, and Jeremy Colliton tied things at 4-4
on the power play at the 9:10 mark off assists from David Masse and
Papineau gave the Sound Tigers their second lead of the evening when
he scored on the power play, his second marker of the contest, at
15:44 off an assist from Joel Bouchard. Cole Jarrett then made it 6-
4 with 1:24 left in the middle frame off an assist from Colley.
Jason Ryznar pulled the River Rats to within 6-5 scoring on a two-man
advantage off assists from Allen and Bergfors 5:53 into the third
period, but Marjamaki tallied the eventual game-winner for the Sound
Tigers on the power play at 8:59 off assists from Colliton and Steve
Albany made it a one-goal game at 7-6 with 4:51 to play when Clarkson
scored off assists from Voros and Nittel, and the River Rats thought
they had tied the score at seven with 3:16 to go, but referee Chris
Brown ruled that the Sound Tigers goal had come off its right post
before the puck crossed the goal line.
Papineau was the first star of the game, Bergfors the second and
Colley the third. Wade Dubielewicz won his preseason debut by
stopping 25 of 31 shots. Frank Doyle started for Albany and stopped
16 of the 22 shots he faced before being replaced at the start of the
third period by Josh Disher who took the loss even though he allowed
just one goal on six shots. The Sound Tigers were 4 for 7 on the
power play Saturday and are 8 for 17 on the advantage this
preseason. The River Rats were 3 for 8 on the power play and had a
31-28 shots on goal advantage.
The Sound Tigers will host a "Fan Fest" following their 11:15 a.m.
practice at The Rinks at Shelton Sunday. The team will be available
to meet fans, sign autographs and pose for photos, and full-season
subscribers who have paid in-full will be able to pick up their
tickets during Sunday's "Fan Fest".
The Sound Tigers will finish their three-game preseason schedule when
they host the Hartford Wolf Pack at The Rinks at Shelton this Monday
at 7:30 p.m.