With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Weekly Whale

Last Sunday the Whale lost to the Bruins from Providence by a score of 3-2.  It was a good game, until the Whale suffered what must be one of their dozens of mental defensive breakdown in their own zone. Carter Camper took a loose puck in front of the Whale net and put it past Cam Talbot with 2.1 seconds left in over time.   It was just another late lost for the Whale something they have been accustomed to a bit more than usual this season.   

With the Whale only earning a point for an over time lost, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers have moved ahead and taken first place.  They built a seven point lead very quickly before The Whale played the Monarchs last night.  

Last night the Monarchs came into Hartford in the 8th and final playoff spot.  Manchester would like to move up into the Whales spot.  Who can blame them depending on if they move up or not they could either play Norfolk, whom has won 24 games in a row. Or they could play St. Johns, and they are no piece of cake either. 

Ryan Bourque put the Whale in front with a his 6th goal of the season.  A lead was born and the Whale would be able to protect it until Linden Vey tied it up when he beat Chad Johnson, to his glove side high.  It was the only goal Johnson would allow as the next two periods remained scoreless.  Johnson was tested on Monarch breakaways, he stopped 32 of 33 shots and was named the games First Star.  

It wasn't until 1:16 of over time that Casey Wellman's shot slide past Monarch goalie Martin Jones.  Jones initially made the save but the pucks momentum carried it across the goal line spinning slowly on its short side.  Jones stopped 29 or 31 Whale shots.  Wellman's game winning goal came from Brenden Bell, and Whale Captain Wade Redden.  

The Whale hopped on a bus last night and headed to Wilkes Barre/Scranton to play the Penguins.  Then next they will travel further in the Key Stone state to play the Hersey Bears on Sunday.  

Those are two daunting games when you consider they trail Bridgeport by five points with only five games left.  They really need to win them both to keep the pressure on Bridgeport to win their games.    If the Whale can find a way to finish ahead of Bridgeport they will have home ice advantage in a short first round five game series.  

Home ice could play a significant role in the series.   

Particularly when you think about how well the Whale has played in Bridgeport's Webster Bank Arena.  They are 0-5 this year when playing in Bridgeport.  

Playing Bridgeport is not a guarantee at all.  If the Whale fall down the ranks they could have to play Norfolk or St. Johns.  Two teams they did not beat once this year, but it could be worse than that.  The Whale could miss the playoffs entirely if they don't keep pace with the pack.  

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