Calder Finals Game 2: Wolves vs. Sound Tigers

By Bill Drake

“I saw something in Patty Leahy,” said Bridgeport coach Steve Stirling of the left winger. “I some little jump, a little energy and hard work. It’s a nice package and I had to get him on a line as soon as possible.”

Stirling shifted the line up in the second period putting Leahy on Jason Krog and Trent Hunter’s port side, shifting Juraj Kolnik to Justin Mapletoft’s and Raffi Torres’ line.

At 3:47 of the second period, Leahy snuck between two Chicago defenders into the crease and tipped in Jason Krog’s errant rebound to tie the game for Bridgeport at one goal apiece.

The Sound Tigers continued the pressure throughout the second period and broke the tie when Marko Tuomainen raced across the red line carrying the puck. He wound up at the blue line shooting one stride into the Wolves zone. Tuomainen beat Goaltender Pasi Nurminen high glove side.

“I know that kid a little,” said Tuomainen of the former goaltender of the 2000 Finnish World Championship Team. “He’s a small goalie and I was trying to put it up for more of a chance to score.

The goal at 9:48 of the second was Tuomainen’s first of the playoffs.

“It’s been a pretty bug frustrating year for me, especially in the playoffs. It’s a big lift for me,” said Tuomainen.

The Sound Tiger’s big lift proved to be the fatal blow for the Wolves as they never mounted a serious attack until the third period when Rick DiPietro staved off the dangerous Steve Maltais moving right to left across the crease closing his pads on the shot.

“They shut us down pretty good,” said Wolves coach John Anderson, “you have to change that.”

The Wolves attack managed just 4 shots in both the first and third period and 16 for the game.

Only in the first period could the Wolves beat DiPietro. Kirill Safronov capitalized on the only Sound Tiger breakdown, scoring on a rebound at 17:55 to give the Wolves the late first period lead. Andres Karlsson cleaved Sutton and Ricci getting in to DiPietro all alone. The rebound was blocked by DiPietro’s glove hand and Sutton blocked a shot behind the goaltender but the Wolves swarmed the net and the defenseman Safronov knocked the goal in on the right post.

Early in the second Bridgeport winger Eric Godard squared off against defenseman Francis Lessard near the penalty boxes. The fight was a draw with both combatants taking multiple right and left punches to the head and helmet before cinching together and the linesmen coming in. The fight seemed to awaken the both teams, especially Bridgeport who had just five shots before the fight.

“We came out in 2nd or 3rd gear, said Stirling, “and the fight put us into 4th gear. Was it the turning point? No, but it was close.”

The Sound Tigers and the 5,000 + in attendance only had to wait another minute and a half for the real turning point.

Notes and Observations

Raffi Torres was absent from the score sheet ending his 11-game point streak. Torres was all over the ice however, hitting whomever he saw.

The line shift that Stirling put in place in the second period looked something like this:

Leahy-Krog-Hunter

Torres-Mapletoft-Kolnik

Godard/Tuomainen-Higgins-Morisset

Anderson, however, left the Wolves lines alone for the game going with

Maltais-Karlsson-Brown

Yuri Butsayev-Dan Synder-J.P. Vigier

Guy Larose-Ben Simon-Kamil Piros

Nor did Anderson foresee any line changes for the first game in Chicago on Thursday, May 30th.

“I haven’t seen any drastically poor play but nothing is set in stone and that’s the beauty of coaching,” said Anderson.