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.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Whale Take Game One Against Admirals

This certainly is not the team we saw at the end of the season.  The Whale ended their 10 game losing streak against the Norfolk Admirals on Wednesday night at the Scope Center.  They beat Norfolk for the first time as the Connecticut Whale and took a game one lead in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals series.  It was a "greasy road win", according to many members of the team. 

The trip to Norfolk didn't start well for the Whale.  Their gear was on an A-frame trailer that broke down on I95 on the trip down.  The delay on the highway didnt dampen the Whale's spirit though as they fought and even match with Norfolk and at the end of regulation the two teams were tied at 2 goals apiece. 

Into sudden death playoff overtime hockey they went.  It ended up being a short over time because Andreas Thuresson did what your suppose to do.  He shot the puck, after all you miss 100% of the shots you dont take.  It was a bad shot but a bad shot has a chance of going in, and it did.  Thuresson's shot came with two men covering him.  He took the shot which awkwardly bounced over Norfolk goalie Dustin Tokarski and then rolled in the crease and eventually over the goal line before Tokarski could freeze the puck. It happened quickly too at 2:53 of the over time.

This was only the second loss Norfolk suffered since February 5, 2012.  They had ended the season with a 28 game winning streak.  It was a new record for the AHL and it gave the Admirals the number one seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.  When Norfolk got into the playoffs they were easily the hands on favorite in the league to keep on winning.

Cam Talbot once again got the start in net.  He has won all four games in the playoffs thus far. He has stopped 158 of 163 shots.  That means he has a save percentage of .970.  In this game he stopped 31 or 33 shots to keep the Whale in the game.  Cam Talbot has to really be turning heads at MSG.  There is nothing like having a hot goalie in the playoffs and that's what the Whale have.

Marek Hrivnek who joined the Whale late in the season has been their number one playoff scorer.  He has five goals in four games.  He added some size to the Whale forward position at 6"1' 187 pounds. Hrivnek scored one of the goals in this game along with Jonathen Audy-Marchessault.  Hrivnek, and J.T. Miller are just two of the late addition of college players and junior players has given the Whale the extra punch they lacked since January.

Winning the first game of the series means that there will most likely be a game 5 in Bridgeport.  It would be unlikely the Whale win in four games, it's not out of the realm of possibilities.  I did think the Whale would fall to Norfolk in five games but after the Whale's gutsy win in game one I think Norfolk may go back to the drawing board on how to nail the Whale.

Game two is tonight at the Scope Center in Norfolk,  then the Whale take the ten hour bus trip back to Hartford and play at the XL Center on Sunday night for game three at 7 P.M.

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