Hartford, CT - Six days’ rest proved key for the Connecticut Whale, as they picked up a critical 3-0 win over the Manchester Monarchs on Saturday night in Hartford. Manchester, sitting in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference prior to the game, has not bested the Whale, who moved into a tie for seventh with the win, at the XL Center this season. Jason Missiaen earned an assist on the game-winning goal, on top of his second shutout of the year.
Whale head coach Ken Gernander had praise for the team, but was, as always, seeking improvement.
“I’d like to spread the ice time out even a little more,” Gernander said. “When you get a line like [Kyle] Jean and [Andrew] Carroll’s chipping in, [Chris] Kreider with the shorthander; we hit a two-game skid and you don’t want to see it take a life of its own. Jason Missiaen has continually gotten better, he’s been a factor in our last two wins. Then how often do you see first or second efforts go in? When you talk about ‘greasy’ goals, that’s it. It’s hockey, everyone should be banged up this time of year. I think there was extra effort tonight, not desperate, but when the situation calls for it we’ll find that extra emotion as well.”
Andrew Yogan took his first of two penalties in the first period at 4:44, hooking an uncontested Linden Vey in the slot. Despite the man-down situation, the Whale got on the board first with a shorthander. Missiaen threw a puck around the defensive glass and Kreider broke the puck out on the bench-side wing. With a smooth give and go to Kris Newbury on the Whale logo at center, Kreider streaked in on Manchester backstop Martin Jones and dodged the poke-check, moving forehand to backhand for his 10th goal of the year, and first career pro shorthander, at 5:22.
“We came out definitely ready to go,” Kreider said. “My job’s pretty easy playing with a player of that caliber [referring to Kris Newbury]. It’s nice to see a guy who works as hard as [Carroll] does get rewarded. And it’s nice having two very capable goalies. It helps team morale, [Missiaen] was just eating up pucks tonight.”
Several minutes later, Hunter Bishop, one of five Monarch players skating on Professional Tryout agreements, came as close to scoring as Manchester would, hitting the pipe.
The Monarchs ran into penalty trouble in the back half of the first, but escaped the first trailing 1-0 despite an even 9-9 shot count. Jones made a handful of quality saves late, including a stretching stop on a Brandon Segal try. Manchester went into the second period with 65 seconds of power play time on a Yogan boarding minor.
The Whale killed the minute and fifteen seconds of penalty remaining to start the second, and then killed their third penalty when Brandon Mashinter was called for tripping at 2:17. Missiaen made a big glove save on a broken play, and a slew of additional minor penalties preceded the Whale’s second score.
Vincent LoVerde got his stick on the hands of Benn Ferriero at 14:11, and Brandon Mashinter earned his 10th of the year on the ensuing man advantage, with a saucy backhand shot from the left side, assisted by Yogan and Logan Pyett.
Connecticut completed their scoring campaign following a Kyle Jean breakaway that Jones turned aside. With 2:19 to play in the second, Jean went to the corner after being denied and poked the puck along to Mike Vernace. The Whale blueliner put the puck into the slot to Carroll, who finished the second effort for his year’s first, to make it 3-0.
Late in the second, Missiaen preserved his shutout, using the backhand side of his paddle to deny a Brandon Kozun cross-crease attempt, preventing a certain Manchester score. Missiaen went on to say in the post-game, “I just try to stay focused and work hard, so when I do get in the net it’s not something new, it’s a part of my routine. I try to keep my game simple, keep the play in front of me, and the boys cleared the front out for me tonight. Three posts, but I’ll take ‘em. And a good kill tonight.”
A handful of penalties were accumulated in a scoreless third, as Connecticut finished a perfect seven for seven on the penalty kill. Jones put together a solid performance for Manchester, stopping 21 of 24, while Missiaen stopped 27 in the Whale net.
The Whale continue a six-game homestand Sunday against the division-leading Springfield Falcons. That game faces off at the XL Center, and features the Whale’s “Click It or Ticket” Sunday Family Value Packs. Those include a ticket, a hot dog or a slice of pizza and a soda, all for just $18. For all Whale home games, tickets start as low as $10 each ($12 each when tickets are purchased on the day of the game), 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.
Manchester Monarchs 0 at Connecticut Whale 3
Saturday, March 16, 2013 - XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum