BY: Mitch Beck, Publisher – Howlings
The Connecticut Whale dug themselves a three goal deficit through the game’s first 44:32, but staged a valiant effort over the remaining fifteen minutes and almost brought themselves all the way back, but time ran out them and the New York Rangers’ AHL affiliates dropped a 3-2 decision before the second largest crowd in franchise history – 13,239 – at the XL Center Saturday night.
The Whale might have made it all the way back had it not been for some sparkling goaltending by Curtis McElhinney, (19-7-2, 33 saves). With a full house of scouts, league officials and Rangers executives, including Mark Messier, McElhinney left no doubt that he has the skills to play in, “The Show.” The Whale battled furiously in the third period against the league leader in shutouts (6) but weren’t able to get that third goal.
Springfield got on the board at the 8:07 mark of the first period when Dylan Prout and Cody Goloubef broke out of their own end and found Tomas Kubalik who turned on the afterburners and blew around Logan Pyett and put the puck on net. The puck appeared to hit Cam Talbot‘s (15-19-0, 30 saves) stick and ricocheted up over his shoulder into the top of the net.
Dylan McIlrath, who’s game seems to get better each time he comes out on the ice, looked to fire up his teammates with a HUGE hit on Goloubef along the left wing boards. Tim Spencer immediately rushed at the rookie defenseman. But the young man with the nickname, “The Undertaker” won his heavyweight brawl and fired up both the bench and the crowd who were there for cub scouts night combined with a white out and free towel giveaway.
Christian Thomas responded with a a great move coming off a break in pass and on his way to the net was mugged by Michael Chaput. The Whale’s Jason Wilson was having none of that and immediately jumped in for an exchange of fists. Wilson received an extra roughing call on the play which was certainly the kind of penalty teams don’t mind killing off.
The fisticuffs continued in the second frame with Andrew Carroll and Greg Amadio at 2:03 just after Kyle Jean’s shot off the left wing on the rush rebounded off McElhinney’s shoulder right to Kelsey Tessier, who had gotten in front of Kubalik for a wide-open net, but the third year pro shot it over the cage.
Moments later, at 3;56, the Whale would get yet another golden opportunity to put a biscuit in the basket. Sam Klassen found Kris Newbury with a perfect stretch pass that led the Whale assistant captain for a breakaway chance on the left wing, but Newbury’s wrister from the left circle was rejected.
At 10:42 Newbury returned the breakaway chance to Tessier also on a stretch pass, but McElhinney’s glove kept Tessier from his ninth of the season.
The Whale’s PK would hurt them again, as it has often this season at 13:29.
With the Whale’s Sean Collins in the box for a holding call, Goloubef blasted a one timer from Nick Holden and it beat Talbot to make it 2-0.
It became 3-0 at 4:32 of the third when Nick Drazenovic found a rebound of a Ryan Craig shot and put it over a sliding Collins and past Talbot.
21 seconds after that goal, Michael Haley, all 5’11 (that’s what he’s listed at) and 204 pounds dropped the gloves with the 6-3 224-pound Prout and literally beat him bloody. It was a David and Goliath like fight and David is now 2-0.
From that fight forward, it was ALL Whale.
At 7:20 Andrew Yogan rushed the puck up left wing and put the puck on net. McElhinney stopped it but was looking behind him with the puck still in the crease. The Whale battled to get the puck, but somehow Springfield managed to keep “Brass Bonanza” from playing for a Whale goal.
2:30 later, the Bonanza was played loud and clear when Tessier made a perfect home-run pass to Brandon Mashinter who looked like a runaway freight train as he broke in alone on McElhinney. Mashinter faked a low shot and went top shelf past the glove for his fifth of the season and third since joining the Whale.
1:33 later the Whale would tally again when J.T. Miller snuck one past McElhinney off a feed from behind the net by Brandon Segal. The play was made by excellent work in the corner by Jean and Segal to get the puck to the wide-open Miller.
The Whale buzzed the net and tried all they could to put it in the net including some phenomenal chances for Newbury in front with just fourteen seconds left, but it was not meant to be.
Whale player and coach Ken Gernander‘s reaction in the post game can be found below.
The Whale return to action for the end of their homestand before heading up to St. John’s for two games with the IceCaps next weekend.
The Whale attendance record was set against the very same Springfield Falcons back on January 24, 1998 in a 6-4 loss.
On Sunday, Chad Kolarik scored the winning goal with just over ten seconds left in overtime for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS:
(Video provided by SentToNews.com)
23 Brandon Mashinter - 10 J.T. Miller - 90 Kelsey Tessier
18 Michael Haley – 11 Kris Newbury - 26 Brandon Segal
14 Jason Wilson – 7 Kyle Jean – 24 Shayne Wiebe
21 Andrew Yogan – 28 Andrew Carroll - 92 Christian Thomas
33 Cameron Talbot
31 Jason Missiaen
Assistant Captains in BOLD
15 Marek Hrivik - Upper Body / Concussion – Indefinite
9 Ryan Bourque - Upper Body – “Long Term”
19 Benn Ferriero – Recall with NY Rangers
1. SPR – C. Goloubef
2. SPR – N. Drazenovic
3. CT – C. Thomas
T.J. Luxmore (49)
Terry Koharski (10)
Marty Demers (79)
Luke Galvin (2)
After dropping two straight at home, the Whale will try and get it back on track as they welcome the Albany Devils to the, “Arena so big they call it, ‘XL’.” Game time is set for 7pm. You can catch Bob Crawford and all of the action on WCCC-FM or watch it on AHL Live. You can also follow us for all of the play-by-play on Twitter at @HowlingsToday.
Springfield Falcons 3 at Connecticut Whale 2 – Status: Final
Saturday, February 2, 2013 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Springfield 1 1 1 – 3
Connecticut 0 0 2 – 2
1st Period-1, Springfield, Kubalik 12 (Goloubef, Prout), 8:09. Penalties-Goloubef Spr (hooking), 2:02; Spencer Spr (fighting), 10:43; McIlrath Ct (fighting), 10:43; MacLeod Spr (roughing), 11:28; Haley Ct (slashing), 15:18; Weber Spr (fighting), 18:33; Wilson Ct (roughing, fighting), 18:33; Chaput Spr (high-sticking), 19:31.
2nd Period-2, Springfield, Goloubef 4 (Holden, Drazenovic), 13:29 (PP). Penalties-Amadio Spr (fighting), 2:03; Carroll Ct (fighting), 2:03; Segal Ct (high-sticking), 11:50; Collins Ct (holding), 13:06.
3rd Period-3, Springfield, Drazenovic 15 (Craig, MacLeod), 4:32 (PP). 4, Connecticut, Mashinter 5 (Tessier, Parlett), 9:50. 5, Connecticut, Miller 8 (Segal, Jean), 11:23. Penalties-Thomas Ct (high-sticking), 4:11; Prout Spr (fighting), 4:53; Haley Ct (fighting), 4:53.
Shots on Goal-Springfield 13-10-10-33. Connecticut 9-12-14-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 2 / 5; Connecticut 0 / 3.
Goalies-Springfield, McElhinney 19-7-2 (35 shots-33 saves). Connecticut, Talbot 15-19-0 (33 shots-30 saves).
Referees-T.J. Luxmore (49), Terry Koharski (10).
Linesmen-Marty Demers (79), Luke Galvin (2).