With five players returned from the New York Rangers, expectations were high that the Connecticut Whale were going to be a formidable opponent to play against when the Manchester Monarchs visited the XL Center. For the most part they were, but a 5:06 minute lapse in the quality of their play gave the Monarchs all they would need scoring three unanswered goals and they’d later add an empty netter for a 4-2 road win in front of 5,802 Friday night.
Tag Archives: Todd White
Talk about a tough act to follow.
Yes, even Connecticut Whale wing Brodie Dupont admitted he didn’t know what he could do for an encore as defending money-earning champion in the eighth Tip-A-Whale Dinner and Sports Carnival at the XL Center on Sunday from 4-7 p.m.
The XL Center could have made some serious money selling programs Tuesday if Connecticut Whale practice was open to the public.
Coach Ken Gernander and assistants J.J. Daignault and Pat Boller were in scramble mode again thanks to a plethora of injuries and illness that had a substitute goalie in one net and two defensemen playing forward with a junior player rehabbing with the Whale after offseason shoulder surgery.
They don’t award style points in hockey and even if they did, the Connecticut Whale wouldn’t have been awarded any in their 3-2 overtime win against the Norfolk Admirals at The Scope Saturday night.
No, this one was not pretty…not by a longshot…but the game winner certainly was.
Connecticut Whale head coach Ken Gernander, along with just about every coach from Pee-Wee on up, preaches to his players about playing the full 60 minutes. In Gernander’s case he’s been saying it in Hartford back to when he was on the ice as a player himself.
The Whale played reasonably well for 58:52 in their second of their four game road trip. But they broke down all over the ice during that other 1:08 and it cost them two standings points as they surrendered three-goals over that span and lost 5-2 in front of 4,891 at The Scope in Norfolk to the Admirals on Friday night.
The Whale (18-13-2-5, 43 pts.) celebrated the turn of the year by winning three out of four divisional games this past week, to move into sole possession of second place in the Atlantic Division. The Whale scored overtime wins in both ends of a home-and-home series with Portland, 2-1 in Hartford on Wednesday and 5-4 on the road Friday, with former Pirate Tim Kennedy scoring the winner in both games for his first career AHL overtime scores and the first-ever OT winners by the same player in consecutive games in franchise history. The Whale then laid a 6-2 thumping on the Providence Bruins at the XL Center on Saturday for their eighth straight home win, before seeing that streak come to an end in a 3-0 loss Sunday to division-leading Manchester. Besides Kennedy’s two overtime tallies, the biggest offensive contribution came from defenseman Wade Redden, who had seven assists in the three games he played before having to miss Sunday’s game due to an injury.
Martin Jones is simply the best goaltender that the Connecticut Whale have faced all season. The Ranger’s top AHL farm team just can’t seem to find a way to beat him. They have dropped all three contests when they’ve faced him in the 2010-2011 season.
Sunday was no exception as the goaltender, in the net for the Canadian squad that lost the Gold medal to Team USA in that stunning victory in last year’s World Junior tournament, beat the Whale for the the third time, and he did so in stunning fashion stopping 39 shots en rout to a 3-0 shutout.
As the Hartford Wolf Pack they struggled to find a way to win even six of their first 22 games and were last in the Atlantic Division. As the Connecticut Whale they’ve won 12 of their first 16 and moved into second place.
How did they manage to do that?
“Maybe the day we changed the name,” Evgeny Grachev said after the second year Russian forward played his best game as a pro in the Whale’s 6-2 shellacking of the visiting Providence Bruins. “We won a few games and you get used to it. You have a different mindset. You get out there and know you’re going to win, so you do your best. We have a great group of guys here who I think can go all the way. We have experienced defensemen and experienced forwards, a lot of guys with NHL experience and two great goaltenders, so I don’t think we should be surprising (anyone) that we’ve been hot. I think we have a good team.”