The Connecticut Whale capped its pre-season schedule Sunday with a 4-3 win over Worcester at Trinity College in Hartford. And Chris Kreider provided the exclamation point to this capper by netting a Hat Trick, scoring once in each period for the Whale, which never trailed in this contest.
Quite simply Kreider was explosive at times on Sunday. In the first period he stole a puck at center ice and in an eye-blink he raced up left wing, spinning a defenseman around on a 2-on-1 with Chad Kolarik, before snapping a hard low shot into the back of the cage for an unassisted goal. In the second Kreider flew up the right wing and made a quick backhand centering pass to a cutting Kris Newbury, with the puck bouncing into the net off a Sharks defenseman for Goal No. 2. Then in the third period Kreider ripped another smoking shot from left wing into the cage for the Hat Trick goal, his second Sunday on the power play.
For those scoring at home that is goals scored in four consecutive periods for Kreider, dating to Saturday's third-period empty-netter against Adirondack.
Kreider's reaction after the game Sunday? "It's only pre-season. And the key words are pre...season."
Whale head coach Ken Gernander had this take, "You can see what he can do featuring those two great skills he has: the speed to go wide around just about anyone, and that hard snap shot. He was impressive."
Other than Kreider's standout performance, marred only by a hooking penalty he was whistled for in the third period which led to a late Sharks power play goal, here are some other notables from Sunday's contest which evened the Whale's record at 2-2-0:
- Kreider's fellow first rounder JT MIller scored his second goal of the pre-season, ripping a power play shot home from the left circle in the first period. Miller bounced back from a so-so performance Saturday with a strong all-around outing on Sunday. A real good sign for the 19 year-old rookie pro.
- Scott Stajcer started and went the distance in goal. He was sharp for the most part, though he allowed a five-hole softie in the second period. Other than that there was much to feel good about Stajcer's performance.
- Sounding like a broken record, but the Kid Line of Miller-Kyle Jean-Andrew Yogan impressed again. Jean creates a slew of chances every game it seems.
- Tommy Grant had a pair of golden scoring chances, but did not convert. Glass Half Full: he was in position to contribute offensively. Glass Half Empty: he did not score.
- Christian Thomas had a quiet game, and his blind defensive zone pass led directly to a Sharks goal in the second period.
- Michael Haley engaged in a first-period fight with Curt Gogol and when it was all said and done, Haley extended a hand to the linesman who had fallen to the ice during the scrap and was struggling to get back up on his skates.
- Marek Hrivik and Ryan Bourque both remained out of the lineup due to unspecified injuries. After the game Gernander said he can not guage their return dates until they return to the ice to practice with their teammates.
The Whale open up the regular season next Friday at the XL Center in Hartford. I'll be there to keep you up to date on all the doings.
October 7, 2012