It wasn’t pretty but it’s still two points.
The Connecticut Whale got a late goal from Kris Newbury and an outstanding performance between the pipes from Dov Grumet-Morris who stopped 28-of-29 as well as all four shots in the shootout to lead the NY Rangers top farm club to a 2-1 road win against the Adirondack Phantoms Friday night.
After starting a stretch of road games that has the Whale scheduled to play 10 of 12 away from the XL Center by suffering a humiliating 9-2 defeat in Toronto to the Marlies, Head Coach Ken Gernander’s squad has responded by winning three straight. They return “home” Saturday night as the crown jewel of the 12 days Whale Bowl when they take on the Providence Bruins at Rentschler Field. Over 30,000 fans are expected to gather and shatter the AHL attendance mark of 21,508 that was set on February 10, 2010 at the Mirabito Outdoor Classic. That game saw ex-Wolf Pack defenseman Dave Liffiton score the winning goal for the Syracuse Crunch as they beat the Binghamton Senators 2-1.
Connecticut was outplayed for much of the contest and fell behind at 6:43 of the second period 1-0 on a stuff-in goal by defenseman J.P. Testwuide. With time evaporating on the visitors in the third frame, defenseman Stu Bickel blasted a shot from just above the right circle. The shot had a lot on it but missed wide. The puck shot out to the left side of the slot where it found Newbury’s stick. Newbury, who just rejoined the Whale after being sent down by the NY Rangers earlier in the day, fired it back over the top of a diving Johan Backlund (22 saves, 7-13-2) into the far corner of the net with just 2:49 to go in regulation.
The former Wolf Pack could have won in regulation as Matt Walker took a roughing call for hitting Tim Kennedy for no apparent reason with 1:53 remaining and then with just 48.5 left, Jonathan Kalinski was whistled by referee Mark Lemelin for tripping Jeremy Williams giving the Whale a two-man advantage for 55-seconds. With 36 ticks to go, Williams’s shot from the high slot solidly smacked the post and then Kennedy was corralled by Backlund with just five seconds left on the clock.
So both teams went to overtime where they would play the very seldom seen 5-on-3 for the first seven seconds and then 5-on-4 for up to 1:04. They change to 4-on-3 at the first whistle which came with 36 seconds left in the man-advantage. Forgetting about the entire strange math aspect of it, the bottom line was that the Whale was unable to generate any real offensive thrust on the power-play all game long and finished the game 0-for-6.
Dale Weise got called for Unsportsmanlike Conduct when he mouthed off to Lemelin at 1:50, but to his benefit, his teammates bailed him out of it.
In the shootout, Grumet-Morris was exceptional stopping Michael Ryan with the pad, veteran Denis Hamel with the glove, ex-Wolf Pack captain Greg Moore with a poke check and then held his position forcing Luke Pither to shoot wide and miss the net for the win.
Kennedy, who entered the shootout having failed on all seven of his attempts, broke through for what would prove to be the game-winner, his fourth game winner of the season to tie Williams and Newbury for the team lead, when he put a strong fake that Backlund bit on and then slid it in past the outstretched leg of the Swedish goaltender.
Newbury’s attempt went high over the glove of Backlund and off the crossbar for what would be the clincher.
The Whale had a big chance early in the contest after Erik Gustafsson panicked when Weise charged at him and threw the puck into the stands. So just 35 seconds into the game, the Whale were on the man-advantage but were unable to do anything with it. Grumet Morris (28 saves, 4-2-0 ) making his fourth straight start for the Whale, stood tall at 7:42 when he got low on a rush by Eric Wellwood. Trying to slow him down, Blake Parlett, playing in his first game with the Whale since being recalled from the Whale’s ECHL affiliate, the Greenville Road Warriors earlier this week, took a slashing call. Adirondack couldn’t generate anything offensively and were turned away.
Zac Rinaldo then took an interference call for the Phantoms at 10:57 putting the Whale on their second power play, but again, Connecticut could not get the kind of chances that they needed to score.
Devin DiDiomete and Rinaldo dropped the gloves just after the power play expired and the fight was a draw. The scrap came at 13:04.
At 15:59, Wellwood tripped and fell over Justin Soryal in the low right corner of the Phantom’s zone, but for some reason Lemelin believed the Whale enforcer had caused it and sent him off to the penalty box.
Another successful penalty kill was followed up almost immediately by Wade Redden being tripped by Rob Bordson for the Whale’s third power-play at 17:59. But again, it was the same story…nothing doing on the power play.
As the period comes to a close, Ben Holmstrom clipped Kelsey Tessier with his stick as the buzzer sounded. Kennedy charged right over to stick up for his friend and teammate and hit Holmstrom hard which caused a large scrum and tempers flared. Lemelin ended up calling Holmstrom and Jyri Niemi for dueling roughing penalties. Shots were 9-6 overall to the Phantoms advantage as the first period came to a close.
Neither team could get any traction offensively to start the second, even with both sides playing four-on-four over the first two-minutes. That was until 6:43 when Testwuide broke the scoreless deadlock.
The Phantoms were applying a lot of pressure in close and Grumet-Morris was doing all that he could to keep the puck from crossing the goal line behind him. The Whale net was under attack from both Holmstrom and Ryan, whom Grumet-Morris denied on a couple of back to back acrobatic stops. But with the defense acting more like spectators than actively involved participants, Testwuide pinched down from the left point was able to retrieve the puck and stuff it into the net from the left side of the cage.
At 8:14 the Whale had their fourth power play as Rinaldo was called for a high stick along the left side half boards where he hit Niemi. Same story for the Whale, nothing doing on the man-advantage
Adirondack earned their third man-advantage after some heavy pressure in front of the Grumet-Morris. In trying to slow down the Phantoms, Tessier ended up taking a hooking call. The Phantoms were getting shots through to Grumet-Morris who turned them all aside. Second period comes to a close with Adirondack leading 1-0 and held a 19-11 lead in shots on goal.
It was a different team that came out to start the third period. The Whale had more jump after Gernander switched up his lines swapping Weise and Williams on their respective lines.
With Chad Kolarik out with a hamstring concern, Niemi played most of the game on the left wing.
Bob Crawford called the game and summed it up at CTWhale.com. Meanwhile for the report out of the Phantom locker room, there’s Tim McManus at the PostStar.com. By the way, if you think that there’s animosity between Whale and Wolf Pack fans, read this article that McManus also posted.
(Standings via theahl.com)
* The Whale entered the game 2-5 in shootouts.
* Friday night’s shootout was Grumet-Morris’s first as a member of the Whale.
* Weise ended a six-game points streak. (4g, 5a)
* Whoever chose the three stars Friday night was not watching the game. Grumet-Morris was insane throughout and didn’t allow a goal in the shootout. Second star should have been Newbury for the equalizer and the clincher in the shootout and the third should have been Kennedy for the game winner.
* Adirondack and The Whale share the same ECHL team, The Greenville Road Warriors
Dupont – Newbury – Weise
Grachev – Kennedy – Williams
Niemi – Tessier – DiDiomete
Soryal – Garlock – Eizenman
Redden – Nightingale
Niemi – Bickel
Valentenko – Kundratek
(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)
Chad Kolarik – Hamstring, Day-to-Day
Tomas Kundratek – Flu, Day-to-Day
Cam Talbot – High Ankle Sprain, Undetermined
Chris McKelvie – Foot Surgery, Undetermined
Todd White – Concussion – Undetermined
1. CT – T. Kennedy
2. ADK – J. Backlund
3. CT – D. Grumet-Morris
ON ICE OFFICIALS:
Mark Lemelin (84)
Robert St. Lawrence (10)
Steeve Lemay (64)
It’s finally upon us. WhaleFest Saturday from the Rent at 7pm. Bob Crawford has the pregame a half an hour before the puck drops.
To watch the game live, you can purchased it for $6.99 at AHL-live.
For Ticket information for all home games, call (860) 548-2000.
CT Whale 2 (SO) at Adirondack Phantoms 1 – Status: Final SO
Friday, February 18, 2011 – Glens Falls Civic Center
Connecticut 0 0 1 0 – 2
Adirondack 0 1 0 0 – 1
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Gustafsson Adk (delay of game), 0:35; Garlock Ct (slashing), 7:42; Rinaldo Adk (interference), 10:57; DiDiomete Ct (fighting), 13:04; Rinaldo Adk (fighting), 13:04; Soryal Ct (tripping), 15:59; Bordson Adk (hooking), 17:59; Niemi Ct (roughing), 20:00; Holmstrom Adk (roughing), 20:00.
2nd Period-1, Adirondack, Testwuide 7 (Holmstrom, Ryan), 6:43. Penalties-Rinaldo Adk (high-sticking), 8:14; Tessier Ct (hooking), 14:46.
3rd Period-2, Connecticut, Newbury 9 (Bickel), 17:11. Penalties-Niemi Ct (tripping), 2:59; Grachev Ct (delay of game), 6:16; Newbury Ct (fighting), 17:11; Rinaldo Adk (fighting), 17:11; Walker Adk (roughing), 18:07; Kalinski Adk (tripping), 19:11.
OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Weise Ct (unsportsmanlike conduct), 1:50.
Shootout – Connecticut 2 (Kennedy G, Williams NG, Newbury G), Adirondack 0 (Ryan NG, Hamel NG, Moore NG, Pither NG).
Shots on Goal-Connecticut 6-5-11-1-1-24. Adirondack 9-10-9-1-0-29.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 0 / 6; Adirondack 0 / 6.
Goalies-Connecticut, Grumet-Morris 4-2-0 (29 shots-28 saves). Adirondack, Backlund 7-13-3 (23 shots-22 saves).
Referees-Mark Lemelin (84).
Linesmen-Robert St. Lawrence (10), Steeve Lemay (64).