Big Sunday Bounce-back for Whale

It was a grind for the Whale this past week, but they finished it in strong fashion, with a 4-2, come-from-behind victory Sunday in Providence over the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins.

That was arguably the Whale’s toughest matchup of the week too, the Bruins having gone 9-1-0-2 in their previous 12 games and 15-2-0-2 in their previous 19, and having just gotten Chris Bourque back from Boston for the first time since the start of the NHL season.  Good goaltending is a great equalizer, though, and Jason Missiaen was terrific in Sunday’s game, in only his second start in 14 games.

Jason Missiaen

Jason Missiaen

The Bruins had won five straight and nine out of ten at home and dominated much of the first two periods, especially the second.  The Whale were outshot 15-5 in the second frame and gave up one, but Missiaen did an outstanding job of preventing the Bruins from padding the margin.

Andrew Yogan scored a huge goal on a wraparound only 32 seconds after Providence had re-taken the lead on an early third-period power-play score, and the Whale were able to ride that momentum through the rest of the third.  Nick Palmieri scored what turned out to be the winner on a deflection less than three minutes after Yogan’s goal, and after Michael Hutchinson stopped Kris Newbury on a penalty shot at 11:10, Brandon Mashinter sealed the deal with an empty-net goal.

The win was a huge psychological boost for the Whale, not only because it came at the expense of a powerful team that was red-hot, but also because of what happened to the Whale in Saturday’s game at Adirondack.

That one was a huge punch in the gut, with the Whale seemingly in full control in the third period, only to see the Phantoms explode for three goals in a span of 3:04 late in the third, on the way to a 4-3 stunner of a win.

The bus was as quiet as I’ve heard it in a long time on the drive back to Hartford from Glens Falls, and the team seemed to be questioning itself in a very real way.  The defensive pairing of Sam Klassen and Blake Parlett, which had been together much of the year and had evolved into the Whale’s top shutdown pair, was -3 in the game, and Kris Newbury’s line with Chris Kreider and Benn Ferriero was on the ice for all four goals-against.

The coaching staff decided that it was time for some changes going into Sunday, and all three defensive pairs, and three of the four forward lines, were changed up for the game in Providence.  A new pairing of Parlett and Mike Vernace was a combined +5, Klassen had an assist and was +1 playing with Logan Pyett, and the statutory all right-handed pair (four of the Whale’s six regular D-men are right-hand shots, so two of the righties always have to play together) was Dylan McIlrath and Sean Collins.

The one line that stayed together was Yogan centering Mashinter and Brandon Segal, which is kind of the polar opposite of the line that was crackling so well a couple of weeks ago.  That was a fireplug size trio of Kelsey Tessier between Micheal Haley and Christian Thomas, and by comparison, the Yogan (6-3, 203), Mashinter (6-4, 230), Segal (6-2, 209) group is a fleet of aircraft carriers.

Andrew Yogan

Andrew Yogan

That Yogan line had played well in the Adirondack game, and the threesome had two points apiece Sunday, including Yogan’s nice individual effort on the 2-2 goal in the third.  Yogan has some nice hands and wheels for a kid his size, and has shown flashes of some dominant offensive skill in the cups of coffee he has had with the Whale at the end of his last two Junior seasons, but didn’t seem to have much confidence going for much of this year.  The Florida native has really started to turn it on in the last couple of weeks, though, with five points in the last six games, and seems to like playing center better than the wing.  If he can continue to excel there, that will give the Whale a real nice mix down the middle, with two tall, long-reach guys in Yogan and Kyle Jean, and a pair of hard-battling bulldog types in Newbury and Tessier.


4 Responses to “Big Sunday Bounce-back for Whale”

  1. chris Says: bob i dont know if you hered but jack parker is set to retire at the end of his season. looking at his total resume of 40 years of haed coach at bu i think its safe to say he is and will always be one of the best who ever coached college hockey. i think id put jerry york up thier with him. with more wins then any one how could you not right.

  2. chris Says:
    bob as of now this as in as i post this link says we need 36 points to get in. but it also says the 9th place team needs 35. how is it a team that is behind us in the standings need 1 point less to get it. i would of though they would need more?

  3. chris Says:

    oh got it thanks

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