Finding Offense

So the Whale lose one of their most skilled players, Mats Zuccarello, a couple of hours before Sunday’s game in Manchester, after their offense had been strangled the night before in a 3-1 home loss to Norfolk, in which the Whale’s top talent was held almost completely in check.

And what happens?

Don’t the Whale come out and put up a five-spot on the road in their third game in three days, handing the Monarchs a 5-3 defeat and moving back into a tie with Bridgeport in the points column.

Five goals qualifies as quite an outburst for the Whale.  It was the third time in the last 11 games that they had bested the five-goal mark, but only their seventh outing of five goals or better all year.

Leading the way was Casey Wellman, who scored two goals and an assist for his best output since joining the Whale.  Wellman’s numbers aren’t

Casey Wellman

overwhelming since the trade, 6-6-12 in 16 games with the Whale, compared to 14-11-25 in 26 games with Houston, but look at the Whale’s record since he came aboard.  The trade was made while the Whale were coming off of an 0-6-3-2 January, and the club is now 11-4-1 in 16

games with Wellman in the lineup.  Some of that may be coincidence, but there is no doubting that Wellman’s speed and good hands around the net have been a big help.  He got even more responsibility Sunday with Zuccarello not available, and had a goal just 1:14 in that gave the Whale some confidence after the loss to Norfolk, and also scored the third-period tally that gave Connecticut the lead for good.

It was nice of Norfolk, too, to go down and beat Bridgeport after snuffing out the Whale’s seven-game home winning streak on Saturday’s Connecticut Hockey Hall of Fame Night.  The Admirals’ 6-3 win over the Sound Tigers on Sunday allowed the Whale to tie Bridgeport in the points column.

It’s looking like Norfolk is legitimately the team to beat in the Eastern Conference, and maybe the league, after they extended their winning streak to 15 with their sweep of the Nutmeg State.  I talked to their captain, Mike Angelidis, before Saturday’s game, and he told me that the Admirals have better depth this year than last season, when they fell in six games to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the first round, after winning the first two on the road.  If Tampa Bay doesn’t make the playoffs and the Admirals get any kind of goaltending at all, they are going to be tough to stop.  I didn’t think they played nearly their best game Saturday, and the Whale held them to only two shots in the second period, but Norfolk squared everything away in the third, and never seemed to doubt that they were going to win.


4 Responses to “Finding Offense”

  1. chris Says:

    whale have 31 wins and 15 games left. my prediction is most of the 16 teams that will get in to the post season will have between 40-45 wins. and a few will have around 50.

  2. chris Says:

    sid back on thursday it looks like. its ag our rangers bob but hey. this is a fantastic thing for the nhl and sid is no question eaither the best or right up there with the best in the world. welcome back sid.

  3. joe m Says:

    when is Chad Kolarik coming back? That would be a way to find some additional offense.

    • Crawford's Corner Says:

      Joe, unfortunately Kolarik is not going to be able to play for the Whale this year. That is because of a roster technicality involving his having gotten hurt while in NHL training camp. It’s basically a catch-22…a player cannot be assigned to the minors while he is injured, and no one can be put on an AHL team’s Clear Day list who is not on the AHL roster, at least on paper, as of the NHL trade deadline. If you are not on the Clear Day list, you can’t play in the AHL after Clear Day, and Kolarik could not be put on the list because he couldn’t be assigned to the AHL, due to the fact that he had not been cleared to play yet. Tough situation for all concerned, especially Chad.

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