Whale Kock off Springfield 3-1
Whale Knock of Springfield 3-1
By Gerry Cantlon
HARTFORD,CT-The resurgent Connecticut Whale kept pace in the tight AHL playoff race knocking off I-91 divisional rival Springfield Falcons 3-1 Sunday afternoon.
The Whale improved their record to (36-20-2-6) remained four points ahead of Worcester for ther 3rd palyoff spot in the Atlantic Division and one point ahead of Binghamton in the possible fifth and final spot in the crossover with the East Division.Springfield who were in the playoff hunt three weeks ago out by four points then dropped their 10th game without a win (0-9-1) and might miss the Calder Cup playoffs league record 9th year in a row.
The game wasn’t a barn burner as the two teams showed the effects of three games in 3 days late in the season and Springfield getting home at 2 a.m. from Binghamton.The first period and half was not textbook hockey more like scrap yard hockey, but the win was the most important thing for the Whale.
“We’re not going to thumb our nose at any win at this point in time,” Whale coach Ken Gernander said. “We’re happy with the two points in a pretty good grind of a weekend of three games in three days. The Sunday ones are maybe a little bit tough, but the guys got through it.
Penalties an ASchiles heel for Connecticut spent 8 of the 20 minuts killing off penalties in between Jeremy Williams found a way to dent the back of the net.
Taking a pass from Russian Evgeny Grachev he motored down the right wing side and beat former Austrian League netminder David LeNeveau top shelf over the right shoulder with his 29th if the year at 9:35.
Just 50 second later one of those penalties by rookie Czech rearguard Tomas Kundratek cost the Whale as Falcons veteran center and captain Ben Guite deflected rookie David Savard’s left point slapshot at 10:25 to even the score at one.
Finally, midway through the second after two quality shifts of cycling with wngers Derek Couture and Dale Weise beings topped the Whale took the lead. Leading scorer Kris Newbury found winger Dale Weise right in RW faceoff circle and he whistles it past a screened LeNeveau as defenseman Cody Golobeuf faced Weise who used him perfectly to turn on the red light for his 15th of the season.
“I didn’t think we had a very good start, but once again our goaltender held us in the game and we did what we had to do to win the game,” Weise said. “At the beginning of the season, we were finding ways to lose games like that, but the past few weeks we’ve been finding ways to win games like that.
Cam Talbot coming off a rough outing last Sunday held the door shut especially at 14:28 turning away David Savard shot.
The Whale sealed the deal with Russian defenseman Pavel Valentenko let go one of his cannon shots and it found its way to the best with traffic for just his 3rd of the season as rookie Kelsey Tessier was creating all sort of havoc in front.
“My role is a two-way player, get pucks in deep and get to the dirty areas and help the team out,” remarked a player who has grown all season on offense and defense.
The game ended on sour note at the benches Whale assistant coach Pat Boller had to restrain Whale tough guy winger Justin Soryal with a horse collar hold to prevent him going over the bench after Falcons winger Kyle Neubert who got into a stick fracas with AHL penalty minute leader Devin Diodiomete as time expired.
Didiomete said he was speared and both benches exchanged shoves,but no fights broke out. Wednesday’s rematch could be interesting. Soryal admitted he got some “jersey burn” from Boller’s hold.
Story added on 23rd March 2011 at 20:59 GMT
Story submitted by: Gerry Cantlon.