Following a 2-1 home-ice defeat Friday night that left its coach visibly angry, the Connecticut Whale bounced back with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory on the road in Worcester over the Sharks 24 hours later.
Chris Kreider helped forge the win, not only with a clutch third period goal which tied the game, but with an inspired effort throughout. Teammate Ryan Bourque delivered the game-winning goal in the final stanza, and goaltender Cam Talbot---who head coach Ken Gernander said on Friday "has saved our bacon quite a bit this year already" turned in yet another strong, 23-save effort.
In nine starts this season Talbot has posted a 5-4-0 record to go along with a terrific .931 save percentage and 2.30 goals against average. Since returning from an broken bone in his foot which caused him to miss training camp, Talbot has started every game, including both this past weekend and three games in three nights last weekend.
Ironically, a night after going 0-for-10 on the power play against Providence at the XL Center, the Whale pulled even against Worcester Saturday when Kreider scored a power play goal 1:40 into the third period. Kyle Jean---who now has 12 points (5-7-12) in 14 games---won an offensive zone faceoff back to Matt Gilroy, who hammered a shot on goal which was stopped. However Kreider deposited the rebound into the cage for his second goal---and second on the power play---of the season.
One minute seventeen seconds later Bourque's hustle and hard work behind the Worcester net led to a turnover and the game-winning goal when he slipped the puck over the goal line for his third goal.
After a string of tough losses the past couple of weeks, Saturday's victory---coming from behind in the final period on the road---was a sweet one and has the players hoping that it sets the stage for a strong finish to November with three of the remaining four games this month to be played on the road.
Connecticut's leading scorer (5-9-14 in 12 games) Kris Newbury sat out both games this weekend due to a lower body injury. Newbury is optimistic that he will be able to return to the lineup sooner rather than later, but the team has no official timetable for his return.
Teammate Andrew Yogan suffered an upper body injury on Friday night and did not play Saturday. Down to 11 healthy forwards the Whale signed Shayne Wiebe to a PTO agreement, and Wiebe played on Saturday night. The 22 year-old Wiebe broke training camp with the Whale due to injuries suffered by forwards Ryan Bourque and Marek Hrivik and playe din one game before being reassigned to Greenville of the ECHL. In 12 games with Greenville, Wiebe had scored seven goals and totaled 12 points, while posting a +9 plus/minus rating.