By Wil Goldsholl
Hartford, CT, January 6, 2013 - After watching Cam Talbot pick up his first shutout of the season in Hartford on Friday, Jason Missiaen decided he wanted one too. Supported by two goals from Kyle Jean, the Connecticut Whale skated to a 2-0 victory over the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, despite being outshot by a margin of 35-18. The Whale earned five points over a three-game weekend, to gain ground in the Northeast Division standings.
Brandon Segal set the tone in the first 90 seconds when he delivered a hard check to Dominik Uher behind the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goal. Christian Thomas followed suit and dumped Bobby Farnham on the way to the net minutes later.
In his eighth start of the year, Missiaen was tested early and often. Shots from Paul Thompson, Philippe Dupuis, and Warren Peters were all turned aside in the first five minutes.
Although Missiaen saw most of the rubber early on, the Whale put together some quality plays. Kris Newbury pulled a solid one-timer following a smooth and crafty break-in with linemate Chad Kolarik around the 13-minute mark. A short-side play from Tommy Grant to Kelsey Tessier near the midway point of the period was also cut off just before Grant shoved the puck through the goal mouth yet again.
Notable in the first period was Newbury’s play beneath the goal line. He put in the work underneath and drew the first penalty of the game to Dylan Reese for high-sticking at 11:41. This would prove to be a turning point when, 43 seconds later, Jean accepted a pass from Logan Pyett and shot from the left circle. Penguin backstop Brad Thiessen was heavily screened and the attempt found its way over his stick side shoulder. Jean’s first of the day came at 12:24.
Missiaen made his 10th save of the period after the next draw as Warren Peters attempted to walk in from a dead angle. At the other end, Thiessen made a big save on Newbury after Kolarik and Segal again demonstrated good chemistry with the Brampton, Ontario native. The first period concluded with Connecticut leading 1-0.
Blake Parlett was whistled for holding in the corner1:42 in to the second period. Missiaen came in to the spotlight on the ensuing penalty kill, first stopping a one-time effort, then staring down a Joe Morrow snap shot from close range. After an offs-peed puck made its way to his crease, Missiaen came up with a tremendous save on the rebound driven by Peters seconds after the penalty expired.
Next, Missiaen made a save for the highlight reel as, again, a puck was redirected right on top of his crease. Farnham was on the doorstep to close but was robbed by the extended right leg of the six-foot eight-inch netminder.
Jean netted his second midway through regulation time when Thiessen mishandled the puck behind his own goal. Micheal Haley was buzzing in to the zone and anticipated Thiessen pushing the puck down the wall. Haley spun the puck in front where it banked off Shayne Wiebe, and Jean was there to sweep in his seventh of the year at 9:29.
Head coach Ken Gernander spoke on Jean, Missiaen, and the team’s performance after the game, “[Jean] started the season real strong for us and then hit a dry spell. We need offense.” Prior to Sunday, Jean had played 23 games without finding the twine. Gernander also spoke highly of Missiaen, who recently spent some time with the team’s ECHL affiliate in Greenville, South Carolina, “Thirty-five saves. Some were really late there. I was thrilled with his performance.”
Several minutes later, Missiaen made a timely save on Uher again when a similar puckhandling flub occurred.
Pyett was handed a interference minor at 13:52 in the third, and the Penguins’ Brian Gibbons was sent off for hooking shortly after Pyett was released. Ryan Bourque hauled down Jason Megna at 14:52 and sat two minutes for tripping.
In the closing minute, Missiaen was still tested. He preserved his shutout, his first in the AHL and fourth as a pro, with a big point-blank save on Trevor Smith with under ten seconds to hang on for the win. Missiaen finished with 35 stops on the night, while Thiessen turned away 16 of the 18 he faced.
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Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 0 at Connecticut Whale 2
Sunday, January 6, 2013 - XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
W-B/Scranton 0 0 0 - 0
Connecticut 1 1 0 - 2
1st Period-1, Connecticut, Jean 6 (Pyett, Parlett), 12:24 (PP). Penalties-Reese Wbs (high-sticking), 11:41.
2nd Period-2, Connecticut, Jean 7 (Wiebe, Haley), 9:29. Penalties-Parlett Ct (holding), 1:42; Pyett Ct (interference), 13:52.
3rd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Gibbons Wbs (hooking), 1:32; Bourque Ct (tripping), 14:52.
Shots on Goal-W-B/Scranton 11-13-11-35. Connecticut 9-6-3-18.
Power Play Opportunities-W-B/Scranton 0 / 3; Connecticut 1 / 2.
Goalies-W-B/Scranton, Thiessen 4-7-1 (18 shots-16 saves). Connecticut, Missiaen 3-3-0 (35 shots-35 saves).
Referees-Jarrod Ragusin (54).
Linesmen-Jim Briggs (83), Derek Wahl (46).