The Connecticut Whale opened their first game of the weekend back-to-back games with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Syracuse Crunch. The Crunch were red hot coming into this contest as they held a record of 9-1-0 in their last ten games, and currently lead the Eastern Conference with 28 points.
As usual, the Connecticut Whale started off the game being pinned in their own end for several minutes at a time. However, Cam Talbot was a brick wall in net to start, and helped weather the early Crunch pressure. Christian Thomas was able to push the Whale to a 1-0 lead with a nifty move coming from the corner, and roofing a backhand over the shoulder of Riku Helenius. John Tortorella was also in the house tonight, and must have exploded watching the Whale struggle early on during the game. Luckily he wasn't present in the locker room between periods.
Faced with an early breakaway in the second period, Cam Talbot made a beautiful glove save on Cory Conacher to hold the Whale to a 1-0 lead. That save seemed to of jump started the Whale as Blake Parlett would blast , and I mean absolutely blast home a one-timer just passed the midway part of the second period. The lone assist went to Brandon Segal who made the feed out to Parlett at the point.
Cam Talbot came up with another highlight reel save nearing the end of the period after stuffing Tyler Johnson in front, and making a diving save on the secondary wrap-around attempt. Talbot was channeling his inner Henrik Lundqvist and was the driving force behind the Whale's 2-0 lead.
Heading into the third period, the Whale were clinging to their 2-0 lead with a little luck on their side as Marek Hrivik snapped a shot off of Helenius' pad and found it's way into the net off of a defender's skate. Chad Kolarik picked up the secondary assist on the play which gives him ten points in his last five games.
Disaster set in as the Syracuse Crunch were able to score three goals in a matter of seven minutes to tie the game up, with goals coming from Tyler Johnson, and a pair from Richard Panik. Turnovers were the recipe for failure tonight as all three Crunch goals were caused by turnovers in their own end. As the two teams headed to overtime, the Whale had a slew of chances in the offensive zone, but weren't able to connect the dots.
For the fourth time tonight, the Whale defeated themselves with a Matt Gilroy turnover in the defensive zone, and Mark Barberio snapped home the game winning goal from the hash marks. It was quite a disappointing loss for the Whale to say to least, as they blew the worst lead to have in hockey.
That now gives the Whale two straight losses as they're back at the XL Center to face the second place Springfield Falcons tomorrow night.