(Editor’s note: Due to a family commitment in Albany, we were unable to see most of this game therefore it felt incredibly disingenuous to write on the portion we did see…therefore here is Bob Crawford’s recap)
BY: Bob Crawford, Voice of the Connecticut Whale
The Whale led the game 4-3 in the second period, before a collision between the IceCaps’ Patrice Cormier and the Whale’s Brendan Bell shattered a pane of plexiglass in the Connecticut zone with 4:41 left. The teams were sent to their locker rooms at that point for the second intermission, and the last 4:41 of the period was played prior to the start of the third period. That seemed to take away all of the Whale’s momentum, as the IceCaps scored twice before the end of the second and tacked on three more goals in the third period.
The eight goals-against were a season high for Connecticut.
“We didn’t have good coverage,” Whale head coach Ken Gernander said. “We didn’t finish checks, so now (St. John’s) players are free to move their puck and jump back into the play and become part of the second flow. Passes were being made in behind our forecheckers because we didn’t finish checks.
“When we had the one-goal lead, it was three quick turnovers, bang-bang-bang, in our defensive zone, that allows them offensive opportunities as well.”
The two teams combined for six goals and 32 shots (18 by St. John’s, 14 by Connecticut) in a wild first period.
The offensive flow started only 1:14 in, as Jaffray, the IceCaps’ captain, victimized Whale starting goaltender Cam Talbot with a high shot to the stick side.
St. John’s made it a 2-0 game at 9:19, with DeSantis getting his third goal of the season, on a bad-angle shot from near the right-wing boards that beat Talbot over his glove-side arm.
Mitchell brought the Whale back quickly, though, with a burst of two goals in 2:08 starting at 10:35, only 1:16 after DeSantis’ tally.
Mitchell’s first goal came on a rebound, after St. John’s netminder Ed Pasquale (26) made a fine save on Carl Hagelin. Then on a Whale power play at 12:43, Mitchell pounced on Kris Newbury’s rebound and fired a shot between Pasquale’s legs that the goalie got a piece of but could not stop, tying the score at two.
The scoring continued at 16:20, as Zach Redmond gave the IceCaps back the lead, and chased Talbot from the game, with his first pro goal. That came on a sharp-angle shot from the right side that squeaked through Talbot’s pads.
Chad Johnson relieved Talbot, who gave up three goals on 15 shots, and the Whale quickly tied the game again with their second power-play goal in two chances. This time, it was Tim Erixon beating Pasquale on a shot from the right point, for Erixon’s first pro tally.
The Whale grabbed their only lead of the game 6:33 into the second frame, on a penalty-shot goal by Hagelin, who was hooked on his way past the St. John’s defense. On his first career pro penalty shot, and the Whale’s first of the season, Hagelin put a backhand shot up under the crossbar behind Pasquale.
That lead lasted until the glass-breaking, but after the early break, the IceCaps got goals from Jaffray and Cormier 61 seconds apart to take the lead for good.
Jaffray notched his second of the game at 18:54, taking a pass from Rosa on the right-wing side and cutting in front to put a forehand shot past Johnson. Then with only 5.1 seconds left in the period, Cormier put St. John’s up 5-4, after the Whale’s Tommy Grant tried to drop the puck around behind his own net to the Whale defense, only to have Shawn Weller intercept and find Cormier with a centering pass.
After the teams switched ends to start the third, it took Klingberg only 1:11 to widen the IceCaps’ lead to two goals, after Arturs Kulda’s point shot deflected to Klingberg’s stick in the slot and he buried it past Johnson.
Rosa made it 7-4 at 13:38, just one second after Grant stepped out of the penalty box after serving a hooking penalty, deflecting a shot from the right point by DeSantis past Johnson. Jaffray then completed his hat trick at 19:34 on a power play, converting a centering feed from Klingberg, after Newbury had taken a slashing minor only six seconds earlier.
The loss dropped the Whale to 7-3-1-2 on the season, and St. John’s improved its record to an AHL-best 10-2-3-0 for 23 points.
It was the Whale’s first visit to Newfoundland in nearly nine years, since a 3-1 Hartford Wolf Pack victory over the St. John’s Maple Leafs at Mile One Centre December 1, 2002. The IceCaps have now scored a total of 14 goals in two games this year against the Whale, as they took a 6-3 decision from Connecticut last Friday at the XL Center.
“They’re a good team, they’re a first-place team,” Gernander said of the IceCaps, “and they’re going to create their own offense, they’re going to get their own chances, they’re going to create their own energy. But you can’t give them freebies, they’re going to have to work and earn it. But when you have turnovers, like we had tonight, those are quick scoring opportunities. And if you’re going to give opportunities, and not play your best game, against a first-place team, you’re going to pay the price.”
The Whale and IceCaps battle again Sunday afternoon at Mile One Centre, with faceoff at 2:30 Eastern Time. All the CT Whale Rockin’ Hockey action can be heard live on “The Rock”, 106.9 FM, WCCC, as well as on-line at www.ctwhale.com.
The Whale return home to the XL Center this Friday night, November 18, for a GEICO Connecticut Cup game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7:00. In celebration of Veterans Day, the Whale is proud to offer a buy-one-get-one-free discount on Lower Level tickets for that game to any military personnel who present a military/veteran ID at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center.
Connecticut Whale 4 at St. John’s IceCaps 8
Saturday, November 12, 2011 – Mile One Centre
Connecticut 3 1 0 – 4
St. John’s 3 2 3 – 8
1st Period-1, St. John’s, Jaffray 5 (Machacek, Marto), 1:14. 2, St. John’s, DeSantis 3 (Gagnon), 9:19. 3, Connecticut, Mitchell 5 (Hagelin, Valentenko), 10:35. 4, Connecticut, Mitchell 6 (Newbury, Erixon), 12:43 (PP). 5, St. John’s, Redmond 1 (King, Klingberg), 16:20. 6, Connecticut, Erixon 1 (Bell), 17:57 (PP). Penalties-Mitchell Ct (high-sticking), 3:54; Owens Ct (roughing), 11:55; Chiarot Stj (roughing, roughing), 11:55; Kulda Stj (interference), 17:35.
2nd Period-7, Connecticut, Hagelin 5 6:33 (TXT_PS). 8, St. John’s, Jaffray 6 (Rosa, Machacek), 18:54. 9, St. John’s, Cormier 3 (Weller), 19:55. Penalties-Bouchard Ct (tripping), 10:16.
3rd Period-10, St. John’s, Klingberg 8 (Kulda), 1:11. 11, St. John’s, Rosa 4 (Weller, DeSantis), 13:38. 12, St. John’s, Jaffray 7 (Klingberg, Machacek), 19:34 (PP). Penalties-Grant Ct (hooking), 11:37; Newbury Ct (slashing), 19:29.
Shots on Goal-Connecticut 14-7-9-30. St. John’s 18-14-9-41.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 2 / 2; St. John’s 1 / 4.
Goalies-Connecticut, Talbot 4-2-0 (15 shots-12 saves); Johnson 3-2-2 (26 shots-21 saves). St. John’s, Pasquale 6-0-0 (30 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Jean Hebert (43).
Linesmen-Jim Vail (34), Todd Horwood (56).