The Connecticut Whale squared off against the Portland Pirates this week, and although it was a hard fought game, they could not find 2 points. The Whale did however come up with 1 point, as a late goal forced overtime, and eventually an even more dramatic than usual shoot out.
The first goal of the game came on a Portland power play when Brandon Gormley knocked one past Cam Talbot 20 seconds into the man advantage putting Portland up 1-0. Halfway through the period, Portland up on another power play, Chris Brown beat Cam Talbot like his name was Rihanna, putting Portland up 2-0.
Shortly after the second goal, Andrew Carroll and Boris Valabik went at it, dropping gloves, and woke up the sleeping Whale. Chris Kreider centered himself in front of the net and pushed a beauty from Logan Pyatt passed former Whale goalie Chad Johnson. At the end of the first, Sam Klassen took a high sticking penalty, and Portland’s Chris Conner hit the Pirates 3rd goal of the period with .9 seconds to go, putting the Pirates up 3-1.
Jason Missiaen replaced Talbot in net for the rest of the game. After killing off a penalty, and then coming up blank on a power play of their own, Whale rolled with momentum and did not stop trying. Kris Newbury found Kreider for his 2nd of the game, and 10th overall of the season (9 for Whale). Christian Thomas got 3 one timer’s off, one hit the post, one stopped, and another wide. Momentum still swinging. With 23 seconds left, Palmieri let a shot go which then deflected off of Segal and tied the game at 3. Segal is everywhere he is supposed to be, and involved in everything good since his return from the Rangers.
This game then went into overtime and found mostly everyone watching turning blue, holding their breath for 5 minutes. This one went into a shootout, and Mashinter and Segal both found twine, but it was not enough. Johnson held on tight, and Portland’s Miele hit the final G, giving the Pirates the 4-3 win.
Chris Kreider was sent down to Connecticut to find his game. In 3 games, he has four goals, some blocks, and a few nice hits. I will admit, this kid is one of my favorite players, not necessarily because of what he has done, but because of what he will do. As much as I want Kreider bombing goals in a blue shirt, I think he needs to master his game here in green. I said in an earlier story that Kreider was most likely told to light up the AHL, and that’s what he is beginning to do. Coach Ken Gernander stated that Kreider is “finding his game”.
I think one of the more important things about Kreiders offense has been that his last 3 goals were while he was centered in front of the goal. The reason I say this is because everyone knows this kid has speed, but now he is finding position, and momentum. If Kreider was given the minutes in the NHL, then maybe he would do just fine, but he has not been afforded a real opportunity up there yet. Until that opportunity arrives, Kreider will be getting ready in Hartford. This is the reasoning, and importance of the AHL. If Kreider was only given a few minutes per game up there, he may just be another name, but down here, I am hoping a star is being made. As always, thanks for reading.