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Sound Tigers mix, match lines

Updated 12:32 am, Wednesday, February 20, 2013
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BRIDGEPORT -- Penalties kept coming furiously Sunday for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and that changed a lot at even strength.

A few forward lines that had been together for a while were broken up while some came back together. Some remained roughly intact at Tuesday's practice at the Wonderland of Ice.

"I was trying to find some balance," coach Scott Pellerin said. "Sometimes in the middle of games, with the penalties, you're putting different guys with different guys, and you see how it looks on a particular shift."

The regular lines split up after a Norfolk penalty early in Bridgeport's 3-2 overtime loss Sunday; that was the first of eight Admirals' power plays.

It so happened that Mike Halmo scored on the second shift after that penalty to give Bridgeport a lead. The Sound Tigers scored just once more, Chad Costello from Matt Watkins, two players who didn't play together often Sunday and had started a game together only once.

One of Sunday's more consistent combinations put John Persson in what had been Halmo's place, on the left side with Brock Nelson and Nino Niederreiter, a fairly common pair this year. The trio was together for a few games before the all-star break.

"We'd played before, and we played pretty good," said Persson, who'd been with Watkins and Kirill Kabanov since the break. "It was pretty good to be back. ... Me and Kabby and Watty had a couple of good games before that. We just didn't score."

The most important things to Pellerin were that players played their roles and communicated, no matter the combination.

"When lines change, there's two ways it can go," Pellerin said. "Either they're really quiet, or they know they haven't played together, and they really talk. I want them to really talk."

The Sound Tigers were without a bunch of regular forwards, including Niederreiter, recovering from having wisdom teeth removed. Blair Riley (lower body) sat out Tuesday after missing his first two games of the season this weekend, but he's expected to be fine; "I'm not worried about him," Pellerin said.

Max MacKay was sick.

The team doesn't play again until Friday, the start of another three games in three days.

"I still haven't decided on the lines," Pellerin said.

"I'll make some changes if I need to."

mfornabaio@ctpost.com; http://twitter.com/fornabaioctp; http://blog.connpost.com/fornabaio

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