Sound Tigers - The Weekend Reviewed
Two minutes and fifteen seconds into overtime on Sunday, Hartford’s Brandon Segal took control of the puck on a two-on-one breakaway with defenseman Logan Pyett. Under heavy pressure from Sound Tigers forward Jack Combs, Segal found Pyett on his left streaking toward the goal. Pyett quick-wristed Segal’s pass to the back of the net with purpose. (Photo:Reiter/Hockeyflan)
The force of the puck hitting the twine trampolined BST goalie Kenny Reiter’s Gatorade bottle into the air and while waiting for the red light to start flashing and referee Ned Leduc to point his accusing finger, Reiter could only turn and watch with disdain as the offending puck made its’ exit. Game over, weekend over but we all remember how the weekend began.
On Friday night Rick DiPietro made his well-chronicled start for the Tigers against Hartford’s ‘Whale-Pack’. The results of the game were widely reported in print, on the web and on numerous TV and radio broadcasts and why not? It’s the type of ‘news’ that sells papers, gives your website a hit or boosts your ratings. The 4.5 million dollar goalie was chased after one period.
I talked to Sound Tigers goalie Anders Nilsson on Saturday about the game and we had very similar impressions about RDP’s performance, with one notable exception.
We both agreed that no goalie could have stopped the first two pucks that DiPietro let get by him. “The team looked terrible” is how Nilsson described it. Left naked or hung out to dry might be another.
The third puck that got past him came through a screen where luck is the only thing that puts your blocker, pads, stick or body in the right place at the right time. The fourth goal came off a perfectly executed two on one. “If you stop 95% of the shots you see, this is the one you miss” said Nilsson - and you’re an all-star he could have added.
The fifth and final goal that DiPietro allowed is where Nilsson and I disagreed. I told him it was “Ricky-being-Ricky trying to do too much outside the crease” the result was a pin-balling of the puck off of Kirill Kabanov and into the net.
“The team was showing him too much respect,” is how Nilsson described it, “They would yell off another goalie or take the puck away from him.” He stated.
DiPietro started in net for the Sound Tigers the following night at the Webster Bank Arena but the results did not generate any attention. Bridgeport won, breaking a long streak of losses, and DiPietro got his first win of the season after five starts, three in the NHL,and two here with the Sound Tigers. No headlines and little coverage - good news doesn't sell.
Pictured at the right, in a photo taken by Dave Csordas, is an obviously depressed Rick DiPietro joining the starting line-up at the blue line on Saturday for the singing of our national anthem. CT Post writer, Mike Fornabaio has some quotes from the clinically depressed DiPietro in his post game report here. In Fornabaio’s post game he listed the three stars as #1 - Bridgeport’s Jack Combs: Goal and two assists, #2 – Brock Nelson: Game winner coming out of the penalty box and #3 – Adirondack’s Jason Akeson: Goal and assist.
Mike’s unsung hero for the night was Bridgeport’s Jon Landry: Goal and a plus-3.
Landry (Photo:Landry/Hockeyflan) has been a consistent contributor to the Sound Tigers all season long. At twenty-nine Landry's journey has been a long one as described here in an article by Travis Betts posted on the Islanders official website in January.
Pictured here are Landry's frequent partner on defense Matt Donovan (top), the very successful Backman - Combs - Watkins line and Landry at the glass to celebrate his eighth of the season scored Saturday night.
3 stars of the weekend:
1. Ken Reiter: Stopped 40 of the 44 shots he faced in regulation allowing just 2 even strength goals in the five periods he played.
2. Rick DiPietro: Under the medias microscope came back with a solid performance to give the Tigers their first win since Feb. 12th.
3. Jon Landry: His goal and two assists put him tenth on the AHL's list of top scoring defensemen.
Unsung Hero: Sean Backman: His play and compete level over the last several weeks have brought him from the fourth-line to the top-line and he is just fun to watch now.
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