This weekend was an important one for the Connecticut Whale. The Rangers have sent Brandon Mashinter, Christian Thomas and Chris Kreider back to Connecticut. Mike Vernace and Benn Ferriero are both back from injuries. The Whale team, much like the parent club, the New York Rangers, are looking whole again. It paid off. The Whale took the Friday home game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NY Islanders affiliate), and then took an OT win in Bridgeport on Sunday afternoon.
Friday was going to be a spectacle off the bat, due to the Islanders sending down Rick DiPietro to goal tend for the Sound Tigers. Well it did not take long for the battle to get under way. Benn Ferriero drew a penalty 2:16 into the game. Seconds later, Chris Kreider netted a beauty while playing in front of the net. Thirty two seconds later, the Whale went back onto the power play. During said power play, Kris Newbury was marking his second assist as he fed Brandon Segal the puck, who made it 2-0 Whale. Mike Vernace, Christian Thomas, and Kris Newbury then made sure that DiPietro ended up in a padded room, by padding stats, ending the 1st 5-0 Whale.
The second period was different. Such as difference in goals, as the defense picked up. Different speed, as exchanging penalties slowed the game down. Different goalie, as DiPietro may have been demoted to beer league. Kenny Reiter was sent out to tend for Bridgeport and held his own throughout the period. Bridgeport got on the board at the end of the period when Nathan McIver shot into traffic and beat Talbs. 5-1 but we’re still going.
Coming in to the 3rd, Blair Riley and Aaron Ness both scored for Bridgeport, bringing momentum to the Sound Tiger bench, making it 5-3. Brandon Mashinter responded, 6-3. With less than a minute to go, Christian Thomas buried his 2nd of the night, Whale win 7-3!
Sunday was going to prove to be a hot one. With not nearly as much offense, there was just as much excitement as these cross state rivals were going at it again. The first period showed Brandon Mashinter destroying Nathan McIver. The period showed defense, defense, and finally, a goal! Mike Vernace got his second in as many games when he bounced one off of a defensemen into the net, making it 1-0 Whale.
The 2nd period showed much of the same, until my man Chris Kreider netted a Brandon Segal rebound for a power play goal. Whale ended the second up 2-0. In the third, Bridgeport outshot (14-8) and out hit the Whale. Brock Nelson was able to push one past Talbot making it 2-1 Whale. With less than 5 minutes to go, Scott Campbell got one through, bringing it to an even 2-2. This one would end regulation, and here comes overtime.
OT would end with Christian Thomas bolting down on defense, throwing the puck to Brandon Segal who found Logan Pyett. Pyett bombed a beauty of a clapper that beat Reiter stick side. Whale win 3-2!
I will say that I bet Rangers staff told Kreider that he needs to light up the AHL. Kreiders been chippy. Kreider is hitting, passing, charging the net, and scoring. Chris Kreider in my opinion, is one of the future all stars of the NHL. I do however think that if the time is not given to him in New York, than that road is through Connecticut. So here is to a stretch that has brought the Whale confidence, and a view of the playoffs. Thanks for reading.