Gerry-Cantlon-150x150BY: Gerry Cantlon, Special to Howlings

The Connecticut Whale were almost dragged across the finish line, but twenty minutes of Hershey Bears hockey prevented the New York RangersAHL affiliates from making the post season.

The Whale were eliminated from playoff contention finishing in the ninth spot two points behind the Bears 81 with 79 points.

Despite an atrocious season-ending six-game losing streak, the Whale still had a chance to make the Calder Cup playoffs on the very last day of the regular season.

To make it the playoff dance, the Whale required Providence and Manchester to both win their games in regulation over Norfolk and Hershey respectively. Had that come to pass, it would have left the Whale in a three-way tie with Hershey and Norfolk. By virtue of having more regulation and overtime wins than either of them, it would have given the Whale the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern conference Calder Cup playoffs.

It almost happened.

Earlier in the day, the Bruins, at home before a crowd just under 10,000 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, did their part as rookie Ryan Spooner capped a hat-trick by scoring with 21 seconds remaining in regulation to send Providence past the Norfolk Admirals 4-3. Chris Bourque had four assists for the Baby Bruins.

But the Whale season ended when Hershey upended Manchester 4-2 before nearly 11,000 at the Giant Center in “Chocolate-town.” South Windsor’s Jon DiSalvatore’s scored two third period goals for Hershey. The Bears win also came via an important early third period penalty kill that wiped out a double minor high-sticking call. The PK prevented Manchester from scoring and trimming a 2-1 lead early in the third period.

For the Whale, they head into the summer and are left to ask themselves how not being able to pick up a meager two points out of twelve on the table over the final SIX games eluded them and sent the team to only their second early summer vacation in team history.


Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Pretty disappointing…

    Too often the Whale didn’t get the goal, or stop, they needed, to not lose.

    Also, it would’ve helped the Rangers to have the guys skating/playing as ready call-ups if needed.

    Staal, Boyle and Dorsett are expected back during playoffs, but you never know, and more injuries can happen.

    I suspect Miller, Bickel, Newbury, Talbot are recalled, maybe one or 2 more guys w NHL experience (Haley, Ferriero, Mashinter, Segal, Palmieri). Maybe a D-man but Gilroy and Hamrlik are already spare D. Or maybe a few top prospects (Thomas, McIlrath, Bourque, Hrivik – mostly to soak it all in), but Torts hates having extra bodies around.

    • CWede/// I think you named virtually the entire roster…

      I think Talbot along with Miller and Thomas will get recalled and MAYBE Haley. I can’t see them bringing in any more than that. Newbury wouldn’t be a shock, but a little bit of a surprise to me. His propensity for taking bad penalties would preclude me from thinking that he would ever get even remote consideration by Coach Tortorella to get in a playoff game and if that’s the case why pay him an NHL salary to sit and watch? I think the Bickel experiment is over. I don’t think he’s going to be resigned. I think the rest didn’t do enough to warrant any kind of reward. McIlrath isn’t ready for even a look yet and there’s no reason for the others.

      • Mitch – Bickel has 1 year left and the salary thing for Newbury is pretty irrelevant since players don’t get salary during playoffs

        • So Bickel will be in Hartford next season. I was aware of the not paid for playoffs thing. I should have noted that. My bad! Still though, I would be surprised if he got in a game. I was basing my comment more on merit rather than practicality or the way things are done.

  2. Thanks Mitch, I wasn’t suggesting all those guys get recalled, just that they might be candidates, all those vet F’s have NHL experience over multiple years.
    re numbers, Its a tricky challenge.
    NYR have to be prepared for the worst, and if the farm team is not playing, you need to keep spare guys sharp, just in case.
    Hypothetical: Boyle and Dorsett can’t return, and you lose a forward to injury in each of the first 3 rounds. If only Miller/Thomas/Haley recalled, you don’t have any more spare forwards should you lose any to injury or suspension in last round.
    Re: McIlrath and the other youngest guys, it would be like last year (McIlrath, Miller, Erixon), they’re not there likely to play, but for the exposure.
    These added guys likely might not even travel from MSG Training Center unless needed. It was already stated today that the call-ups would practice apart from the big club.