Chad Kolarik’s goal with 34.3 seconds left in the third period was the winner in the Connecticut Whale’s first preseason victory, a 3-1 decision over the Adirondack Phantoms Saturday at the MSG Training Center, the New York Rangers’ practice facility.
The Whale had been 0-2 previously in the preseason.
Kolarik, who missed the entire 2011-12 season due to a knee injury suffered during Ranger training camp at the MSG Training Center, banged his own rebound past Phantoms goaltender Scott Munroe for the deciding score, after a long heave from the left point by Sam Klassen.
Chris Kreider, making his first appearance of the preseason for the Whale, added an empty-net goal with 15.4 seconds on the clock.
Jason Missiaen made 34 saves for the Whale in the win, and Connecticut also got a goal from Andrew Yogan. Brayden Schenn scored the Phantoms’ only goal, and Munroe made 29 saves in the Adirondack net.
After a scoreless first period in which the Whale were outshot 8-2, they would allow another 18 shots in the second frame but would take their first lead of the preseason on Yogan’s goal at 6:13.
After a strong rush up ice by Kyle Jean, J.T. Miller jammed the puck to the front of the net, and Yogan poked it out of a crowd and past Munroe.
The Phantoms tied it, though, at 13:08 on a power play. Schenn, who spent all but seven games of last season with Philadelphia, and Sean Couturier, who was in the NHL all year, hooked up on the tally, as Couturier found Schenn in the slot with a pass out of the right-wing corner, and Schenn beat Missiaen with a shot into the top shelf.
Neither goaltender yielded after that until Kolarik’s late tally, with Munroe stopping Miller on a penalty-shot attempt at 12:25 of the third, after Miller had been dragged down on a shorthanded opportunity.
In addition to Kreider, the 2009 Ranger first-round pick, joining the Whale lineup, Kris Newbury, recovered from an injury that had cost him nearly a week of training camp, made his first appearance in Whale preseason action Saturday.
The Whale finish the preseason on Sunday, as they host the Worcester Sharks at the Koeppel Community Sports Center on the campus of Trinity College. That game faces off at 2:00 PM, and is a benefit for the Ryan Gordon/Connecticut Whale Community Scholars Fund, with donations accepted at the door in lieu of an admission charge. The fund memorializes young fan Ryan Gordon, who passed away in 2006 and asked that a portion of the monies set aside for his college education be donated to the Connecticut Whale Community Foundation. The Koeppel Community Sports Center is located at 175 New Britain Ave. in Hartford.
The Whale open their 2012-13 season Friday, October 12 at the XL Center, with a 7:30 PM battle against their in-state rivals the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. At that game, all fans can purchase tickets at the special price of $12 each, and that night will also kick off the Whale’s new Friday night $1 hot dogs and $2 beers promotion.
Tickets for that game, and all Whale regular season home games at the XL Center, are on sale now at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, through TicketMaster Charge-by-Phone at 1-800-745-3000 and on-line at www.ticketmaster.com.
Adirondack Phantoms 1 at Connecticut Whale 3
Saturday, October 6, 2012 - MSG Training Center
Adirondack 0 1 0 - 1
Connecticut 0 1 2 - 3
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Rinaldo Adk (boarding), 3:28; Newbury Ct (hooking), 8:52; Parlett Ct (roughing), 15:52; Grant Ct (cross-checking), 19:03.