RAISING THE STANDARD
By Corey Witt
Last night the Bridgeport Sound Tigers went into one of the most intimidating buildings in the AHL and took Game One of the Eastern Division Semifinal and home ice advantage away from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Timely goals in the second period and clutch goaltending throughout the game were the main ingredients to the victory.
But the Sound Tigers aren't satisfied with just one win on the road. They know this best-of-seven game series has only just begun. And with that in mind, they know there are some aspects of their game that must improve if they are to come out of Game Two with another victory.
"I think we played a good game, but we need to improve on finishing our chances," said winger Sean Bergenheim, who made reference to the five posts the team hit on Thursday night. "The Penguins are a hard-working team, so you know they'll come out with more intensity. We have to do the same."
Sound Tigers head coach Dave Baseggio has a more analytical point of view. "Our power play could always be a little better and we could be better at faceoffs, and not just the center," he said. "We can work on our positioning taking the draw. We know we'll have to be more ready on Saturday night because our opponents certainly will be."
Unlike Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Sound Tigers know who their starting goaltender is. It's no secret that Wade Dubielewicz will get the nod in net for the Sound Tigers tomorrow night. On the flip side, their opponents are mulling over the decision whether they go with the AHL's Most Outstanding Goaltender this season in Dany Sabourin or former No. 1 overall pick Marc-Andre Fleury, who started a large bulk of games for the Pittsburgh Penguins this season. At least for the Sound Tigers, it's one less thing they have to worry about.
"It's also a few less questions I have to answer," joked Baseggio. "Dubie is our guy and there's no question about it. Either goalie for the Penguins is a good option for them. The problem occurs if and when the team gets second-guessed with their choice."
Added Dubielewicz: "As team, we've bonded. I trust the guys in front of me and they trust me. Late in the third, they know I'll step up my game and I know they'll step up theirs. We use it to our advantage. That trust is a big thing late in a game. "
In the world of the playoffs, in any league, a hangnail becomes an "upper-body injury" and a head cold becomes "just a day off to rest the body" - not that we're saying that's the case here. But the media-friendly Baseggio isn't going to tip his hand on injury updates. Will Jeff Hamilton, Allan Rourke and/or Ryan O'Marra return from their injuries? That's anyone's guess. We'll just have to follow the game like everyone else.
"Why give the other team an advantage?" Baseggio said with a smile. "The less they know, the better."
As a reminder, all Sound Tigers games are web-cast live at www.soundtigers.com. Fans can also watch all AHL games live on the Internet via the B2 Networks pay per view. For more information on the B2 Network, visit www.theahl.com.