Hartford, CT - After suffering a 9-2 loss at the hands of the Manchester Monarchs the night before, the Connecticut Whale sought to turn things around against the division rival Albany Devils in Hartford on Sunday afternoon. Despite a slew of quality scoring chances and near-misses, the Whale fell, 1-0.
Keith Kinkaid stopped all 30 Whale shots to get the shutout win, and Joe Whitney’s second-period goal was the only scoring. Cam Talbot made 26 saves in the Whale net.
Kris Newbury found his way to the box early when he bumped Kinkaid in his own crease 53 seconds in. Newbury’s deliberateness was unclear, but if he was looking to rattle Kinkaid early, the goaltender was unaffected in the first period. He stopped all 12 shots he faced in the first 20 minutes.
Connecticut occupied the Albany zone for minutes at a time, seeing both earned and unearned opportunities to beat Kinkaid. Newbury redirected a puck handily that was kicked away. Christian Thomas was denied when he nearly scored by simply allowing the puck to hit his body and Kyle Jean also hit a post.
Albany had scattered chances on Talbot, including a three-on-one and a wrister that hit the stick side post in the last minute of the period.
Whitney scored the game’s lone goal 6:48 in to the second period with a stick side laser. The left-hander scooped the puck up on his own blueline and tore through the neutral zone before firing a snap shot from the right dot and past Talbot.
J.T. Miller, who had his first pro two-goal game last week against Bridgeport, nearly tied it up several minutes later. Miller came from underneath the goal line and stole the puck from a breaking Albany defenseman. He made a cross-crease move with Kinkaid sprawled and did not score, but drew a tripping minor on Eric Gelinas.
The early going of the third period rolled by uneventfully. Mike Sislo was called for holding early but the Whale power play struggled. Chris Kreider was sent off for hooking at 11:05, but Connecticut, who has the league’s 29th ranked penalty kill, managed to keep it a one-goal game.
Jean did everything but score in the later parts of the period. The rookie drew a roughing call on Tim Sestito in the offensive corner with 6:14 to go. He nearly tipped one in on Kinkaid just as that penalty was expiring when Michael Haley won a faceoff cleanly. Blake Parlett snapped the puck from the point and Kinkaid turned him away yet again. Jean would see yet another opportunity with 1:45 to play when he let a one-timer go from the slot, but Albany’s defense blocked it on the way to the net.
The Whale put up a fight with the sixth attacker on the ice and the net empty. Kreider got in on a rebound with 35 seconds to play but Kinkaid was able to smother it, making his thirtieth save and earning his second shutout of the year.
The loss dropped the Whale to 10-11-2-0 on the year, while Albany moved to 7-8-0-5.
Albany Devils 1 at Connecticut Whale 0
Sunday, December 9, 2012 - XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum