By Bruce Berlet
HARTFORD, Conn. – Dale Weise scored a pair of goals, Chad Kolarik had a goal and two assists, and Cam Talbot made 30 saves Sunday, to lead the Connecticut Whale to its fourth straight victory, a 4-3 verdict over the Adirondack Phantoms at the XL Center.
Talbot kept the Whale in the game the first 35 minutes and then Weise scored twice in 5:36 early in the third period.
The Whale (12-11-2-4) has won four in a row for the first time this season, are 6-0-0-1 since being rebranded from the Wolf Pack on Nov. 27, have an eight-game point streak (6-0-0-2) and are above .500 for the first time since they were 3-2-0-1 after a 5-1 loss to the Norfolk Admirals October 20.
“Cam was very good all night,” Whale coach Ken Gernander said of his goalie who stopped 30 shots, including all 15 in the first period. “They came out from the get-go. On the first shift, they got pucks deep and wanted to finish hits. It took a long time to raise our level to their emotional level.”
The Whale twice rallied to tie in the second period on goals by Kolarik and Jeremy Williams, then a line of Kolarik, Weise and Kelsey Tessier took over in the third.
“You don’t want to know the thinking behind that one,” Gernander said with a smile. “It’s not fit for print.”
“(Mats) Zuccarello, (Brodie) Dupont and (Kris) Newbury were rolling, but we didn’t have much jump from anybody else,” Weise said. “So we just shook the lines a little bit in the third, and me, Tess and Chad had pretty good chemistry and made some nice plays.”
The trio turned the game in the Whale’s favor, along with more shutdown defense and key saves by Talbot.
“I’m sure Dale feels like he’s a little behind the curve since he’s been on the sidelines for so much of the early part of the season,” Gernander said, referring to injuries that have forced Weise to miss 18 of 29 games and limited his effectiveness in some games he has played. “He’s a guy we’re counting on. When we were having our rough patch at the start of the year and he was out, we were thinking here’s someone who can help us when we get him back. To get him going is pretty important. He’ll get it, and we’ll be that much better for it.”
Weise said the injury situation “has been awful.” Especially coming off a season in which he had career highs for goals (28), assists (22) and points (50) and was among the final cuts of the parent New York Rangers in October.
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