The Whale hoped to end 2012 on the right foot by finally beating the Portland Pirates on their third try. They were well on their way to doing so when disaster struck and to that this Whale fan has one thing to say – Good riddance 2012! Hopefully 2013 will be a better year for you boys!
As for the game, no lineup changes for the Whale…but that is probably because they have no extra players to switch out as the only player on the roster not playing at the moment is Dylan McIlrath, who is serving the second game of his two-game suspension.
The Whale got the first power play of the game a little over five minutes in and while they got a few chances, they weren’t able to get one past Chad Johnson. (Yes, the same Chad Johnson who manned the Whale net last season.) Six and a half minutes later, the Whale took their first penalty. Thirty seconds later, the Pirates went back to the box leading to a minute and a half of 4-on-4 hockey.
It took the Whale six seconds to win the face-off and put the puck in the back of the net. Marek Hrivik took the initial shot from the slot which Johnson saved but Brandon Segal got to the rebound and buried it to give the Whale the 1-0 lead.
A couple more penalties to complete the first period but nothing hit the back of the net as the Whale took the lead into the second after being outshot 9-8.
The second period looked like it might not start well as Portland came out flying getting numerous chances in the first minute and a half of the period after an early icing on the Whale. But things turned at 1:44 as Logan Pyett threw a long pass to Michael Haley who made no mistake in burying it behind Johnson to give the Whale a 2-0 lead.
Just 58 seconds later, Tommy Grant got a number of whacks at a puck loose in the crease and finally buried it behind Johnson to make it 3-0. Christian Thomas got the lone assist.
Things seemed to be going well as the Whale continued to dominate through most of the second period. With less than two minutes remaining, disaster started to hit. At 18:40, Portland got on the board with a goal from Mathieu Brodeur. One minute and four seconds later, Chris Summers got his first of the year to make it 3-2 even though the Pirates had been outshot 17-9 that period.
Then the Whale got into penalty trouble as Chris Kreider received a penalty to end the second period. The Whale killed that one but Mike Vernace went to the box seven seconds after it ended. The boys weren’t able to kill that one as Jordan Szwarz tied the game with a little over sixteen minutes to go.
A little over eight minutes later, the Pirates managed to take the lead as ex-Rangers prospect Ethan Werek got one past Talbot. Guess the boys didn’t learn their lesson on that as that goal would be the difference. It was the first loss all season for the Whale when leading after two periods as they were 7-0-1 before tonight.
Not the way the boys wanted to end the year but hopefully they can leave this style of play back in 2012 and get back on track in 2013.
The boys start the New Year with a home-and-home against Adirondack for their first games of the season against the Phantoms (Flyers AHL affiliate) on Friday and Saturday night. Then on Sunday it’s another team the Whale haven’t seen yet this season – the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. Pretty self-explanatory who they are the affiliate of so I’d say it’s a pretty big weekend next weekend. Hopefully the Whale can start the New Year right.