There are a multitude of ways to lose in any sporting event, and the Connecticut Whale have certainly explored many of them this season, but Saturday night’s 2-0 loss to the Springfield Falcons at the MassMutual Center in front of 5,003 was in no small part due to some of the most bizarre officiating certainly of the season and possibly longer than that.
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There is something about the entire New York Rangers organization in 2011-2012…they just seem to dialed in to winning…even when they’re losing.
In New York, the Rangers are tops in the Eastern Conference and are three points behind the President’s Trophy leading Detroit Red Wings. The Rangers have four games in hand.
In Greenville of the ECHL, the Road Warriors are fifth overall in their conference and just five points out of the top spot in their conference and are 6-3-0-1 in their last ten games.
Kris Newbury, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, Andreas Thuresson and Jordan Owens were unsuccessful in their shootout attempts. Only Brendan Bell managed to score for the Whale while Brent Regner tied the shootout in the Falcon’s fourth attempt and Matt Culvert made a tremendous move that beat Chad Johnson (10-6-4, 26 saves) clinching the win.
Both I-91 rivals are a mix of veteran and young talent, but after scoring four unanswered goals over the last two periods, the Connecticut Whale showed how they have managed to hold onto first palace in the Northeast Division while the Springfield Falcons struggle to remain out of the division basement with a chemistry-led and convincing 5-2 win over in front of 5,448 at the XL Center on the last game of 2011.
Despite having strong talent like goaltender Manny Legace, AHL All-Star Martin St. Pierre, veteran Adam Mair, left winger Matt Calvert, ex-Wolf Pack captain Dane Byers and future AHL Hall-of-Famer Alexandre Giroux and young talent like Cam Atkinson and Tomas Kubalik the Falcons just seem adrift on the ice as they have lost all five games against the Whale this season.
For the Whale, Francois Bouchard, the game’s First Star, had a break-out game pacing the Whale with three assists. Kris Newbury extended his points scoring streak to seven games with two goals and Pavel Valentenko, quickly moving up the depth chart, had a goal and a helper, including what proved to be the game-winner for the Whale.