Whale goaltender Jason Missiaen comes up huge in the St. Patrick’s weekend, where the Whale played back to back games on Saturday and Sunday. Missiaen was given the go ahead nod after securing a win last week in Providence. It should not be over looked that Brandon Segal has not slowed down since his short lived stint with the New York Rangers in their first few games. Another player who has stepped up his game tremendously since being sent to Hartford, is Chris Kreider. Kreider was told to get to CT, and toughen up his game, and that’s exactly what he has been doing.
On Saturday, the Whale played their first of a 6 game home stand against the Manchester Monarchs. Opening up the game, the Whale were playing a complete game, with the majority of the period played in the Monarchs zone. Early on, with the Whale on a PK, Missiaen fed the puck out to the boards to Newbury. Kris Newbury fed the puck out to where Chris Kreider got a hold of it, and used that speed that made him famous breaking away toward Monarchs goalie Martin Jones. Jones was undressed and dove to his right and lefty Chris Kreider banked a backhanded shorty (1st of pro career) to the back of the net. (Assists by Newbury and Missiaen).
Later in the second period, Brandon Mashinter knocked a beauty in on the Whale power play, bringing the score 2-0, Whale. Kyle Jean took advantage of great positioning later on, and had a beautiful break, looking as if he was sure to score, but Jones made the stop. Jean played through, chasing the puck, slapping it out to Mike Vernace who fed out to Carroll who put the Whale up 3-0.
After the 3rd period came and went, Jason Missiaen put his 2nd shutout of the season in the books, even earning an assist on the game winner. The Whale would be right back at it Sunday, versus division rival, Springfield Falcons.
Sunday, the Whale came out with the same momentum, and same goalie. However, with Springfield getting the man advantage, Matthew Ford of the Falcons got the first goal of the night, making it 1-0. Shortly thereafter, Kris Newbury fed Chris Kreider who tied the game 1-1 for his 11th goal of the season. 3 minutes later, Ryan Bourque, who was playing his 2nd game since being out for a large string of games with an injury, put the Whale up 2-1.
After the Whale had a few opportunities, and killed off a few for the Falcons, defenseman Blake Parlett buried a one timer putting the Whale up 3-1 to end the period. The third period was much of the same defensive game, until Ryan Russell of the Falcons put one past Missiaen. The Whale were out shot 13-3 in the 3rd, but held on to the lead, and ended the weekend with 4 points, with a 3-2 victory. This was also the 2nd consecutive game where Jason Missiaen won 1st star honors.
Before I close this out, I wanted to re-visit a Chris Kreider stat. Since Kreider has been reassigned to the Whale, he has played in 8 games. Kreider has 6 goals in his last 8 games. Kreider has also played great offense setting up plays, staying in position, and even more importantly, putting the body on. Kreider is registering multiple hits per game, and visibly connecting with his teammates. I think soon enough, if the time is given to Kreider, he could be part of the answer to the Rangers offensive problems. Thanks for reading.