Throughout a season teams goes through good and bad stretches. During the good, fans dream of championships. During the bad, they pray it doesn’t get too bad as they look for anyone possible to blame. Right now it is just plain ugly for the Whale. I don’t want to be one of those fans who starting trying to place blame but something has to change soon. Don’t know what but something. I know winning isn’t everything at this level but I can tell something is missing even by just listening to the games. It’s not good.
Once again we have a couple of lineup changes but these have to do with injuries. First of all, as mentioned earlier, Dylan McIlrath did indeed make his season debut as the Whale went with seven defensemen. I’m guessing this was partly because they were unsure how McIlrath would do and partly out of necessity – turns out Michael Haley was unable to go tonight due to the injuries he suffered during last nights’ game (stitches above his eyebrow and a swollen left eye) and the Whale had no extra healthy forwards. They will either remain with seven D for the weekend or call someone up (Andrew Yogan or Jason Wilson would be my guess) tomorrow.
Once again the game didn’t start well as the Sound Tigers struck just 1:57 into the game. While the Whale calmed down a little bit after that and kept the game at 1-0 until getting into some penalty trouble late in the period, that ended up being all the Sound Tigers would need.
First it was Kris Newbury who had to hook a Bridgeport player on a breakaway. As the whistle blew, Chad Kolarik ran his mouth and got to join Newbury in the box giving the Sound Tigers a full two-minute 5-on-3. The Whale were able to kill that, even getting a chance on a shorthanded breakaway, but Newbury stepped out of the box and was placed right back in it 30 seconds later for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Whale couldn’t kill that as Bridgeport doubled their lead just six seconds into the power play.
For their stupid penalties, Newbury and Kolarik got to sit on the bench until almost the halfway mark of the second period when my guess is Gernander was desperate to get something going while the Whale were on the power play. Probably didn’t hurt that an earlier power play had been wasted and the Sound Tigers had extended their lead to 3-0 a minute and a half after it ended.
Fortunately (or unfortunately) that was all for the second period and the Whale for the second night in a row went into the third period without any goals.
Unlike last night, there was no magic in the third as the Whale were shutout 3-0, giving them their third straight regulation loss for the first time this season.
The good news about tonight? The Whale don’t have to see the Sound Tigers for at least a month as the next game between the teams isn’t until February 1st. The bad news? Connecticut’s next game is Saturday night…in Springfield. The Blue Jackets will be streaming that game for free on their website. I’m sure Tim Erixon and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault are just who the boys want to see right now…