BRIDGEPORT -- An in-game shuffle of lines last weekend created a productive line that included Mike Halmo. The one-day return of Brock Nelson on Sunday shuffled the Bridgeport Sound Tigers' lines again; Halmo landed on the top line and had two points.
Opportunity didn't come often last year for Halmo. The past couple of weeks, the second-year pro has taken advantage.
"The coaches are showing trust in me, and I want to play my best and really help the team win," Halmo said Tuesday after practice at the Wonderland of Ice.
"We haven't been successful at that yet" -- the team is 1-3-1-0 -- "but we're coming together."
Sunday, Halmo's deflection helped lead to Ryan Strome's rebound goal. He later went to the front of the net to take John Persson's pass and backhand home a goal that was big at the time in Bridgeport's 6-5 overtime loss to Binghamton.
"I'm just seeing him play with more fire, more energy on a more consistent basis," coach Scott Pellerin said.
"Shift in, shift out, you see how that compete level is up, and he's getting rewarded. He's done a lot of good things."
When AHL rosters were loaded because of the NHL lockout last season, Halmo played just 18 of the Sound Tigers' first 37 games. He played the next 28 after the lockout was lifted before his season ended with a broken bone blocking a shot.
A few times Halmo was moved up to the top two lines, but those stints didn't last long.
"I didn't get off to the start I wanted to," Halmo said. "This year I've been given a chance early ... I've got to keep it going."
Halmo said he took some lessons out of last year, coming back knowing more about the pace of the AHL game, knowing he had to be stronger and faster. He worked on those over the summer.
And he came back energetic, but perhaps too energetic. Halmo took three minors in the first two periods of the season opener against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He was scratched the next day.
"Being in the stands again, having that feeling wasn't very fun," Halmo said.
He was back in for Game 3 a week later.
"We had some good conversations about the way I want him to play, the way he wants to play," Pellerin said. "He's implemented those into his game."
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