Whale’ forwards Hrivik, Moses and Thomas reach rookie milestones in final week of the regular season

“It’s definitely a huge weight off my back,” said Christian Thomas after Friday’s 5-4 shootout loss to Manchester, during which the former second-round selection of the New York Rangers recorded his first professional goal, assist and points. “Getting that first one is always nice, but hopefully I can get some more.”

Thomas, 19, wasn’t the only player to register his first pro goal on Friday, as 22-year-old winger Steve Moses beat Thomas to the milestone one period earlier. Moses, who scored twice against the Monarchs, had a similar reaction to the exciting feat.

“It feels good,” he said after game. “The first couple of games I had a lot of chances but couldn’t get a bounce…it was nice to finally get a few bounces tonight and get on the board.”

Moses’ first goal came at 5:25 of the second period, when the 5-foot-9, 170-pound, forward drove Manchester’s net and buried a Casey Wellman rebound. Moses explained after the game that many of his goals generally come in the form of rebounds and by crashing the net.

“I try to get to the front of the net and create some opportunities,” he said. “Casey (Wellman) and Marek (Hrivik) were able to create some good chances tonight and I was able to finish them off.”

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CT Whale Weekend Review: Playoff picture update; Hrivik debuts; More

The Connecticut Whale played three times over the weekend, winning once and losing twice (once in overtime).

On Friday, the Whale hosted the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and lost 3-0. Chad Johnson played for just 9:01 of the game before allowing three goals on 13 shots, and being pulled from the net. Cam Talbot made 18 saves in relief.

Then on Saturday, the Whale hosted the Adirondack Phantoms and defeated them 3-0. Talbot improved his shutout streak to 110:59, stopping all 26 shots-against; earning his third shutout of the season and 13th win. Forward Kelsey Tessier scored twice in the win, while Casey Wellman added a goal and an assist.

Connecticut hosted the Providence Bruins on Sunday, and lost 3-2 in overtime on a goal scored with just 2.1 seconds remaining. Talbot’s shutout streak was snapped at 145:35 (minutes: seconds), but he still provided the Whale with a solid 28 save effort. Kris Newbury had a goal and an assist in the game, and rookie Jonathan Audy-Marchessault added helpers on both goals. Wade Redden also scored in the overtime loss.

The Whale’s record now looks like 34-24-7-5 (80 points), and they are seated second in the Northeast Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. They need six points to clinch a playoff berth with six games remaining in their regular season.

“(Right now) everyone is watching the standings for points, and it becomes more important to win games,” Whale head coach Ken Gernander said following Saturday’s win. “At this point our margin of error is such that you’re not afforded mistakes,” he added on the playoff topic after Sunday’s game.

The Whale will play another three games this weekend, beginning with a home game on Friday at 7pm (ET) against the Manchester Monarchs. Then on Saturday, the Whale visits the Penguins for a 7:05pm puck-drop, followed by a 5pm game in Hershey against the Bears on Sunday.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (83 points; first in the Northeast) play three times week, with home games on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Adirondack (72 points; third in the Northeast) will play three times this weekend, while both Springfield (72 points; fourth in the Northeast) and Albany (71 points; fifth in the Northeast) play once mid-week, and twice over the weekend.

If the Whale can win all three of its games this weekend, then a playoff berth will be clinched. Depending on how the teams mentioned above, along with the Portland Pirates, perform during the week, Connecticut’s road to the playoffs may become easier and quicker.

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News: Rangers announce latest round of cuts

RANGERS121The Rangers have announced their latest round of cuts and the following players have been sent down/re-assigned:

Forwards: Chris Bourque, Ryan Bourque, Danny Kristo, Nick Tanasky

Defense: Conor Allen, Mat Bodie, Tommy Hughes, Petr Zamorsky

Goalie: Jason Missiaen

Both Bourque brothers and Nick Tarnasky are also on waivers. (Re aid Lavoie)

Cedrick Desjardins is day to day and will be sent down when healthy. (Andrew Gross)

Here are the players still in camp:

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Practice: Kevin Hayes on the wing/new lines

12:21PM: The Rangers did PP work with Kreider, Brassard and Zuccarello up front and Dan Boyle and Chris Mueller on the points. The other unit was St. Louis, Miller, Nash, Ryan McDonagh and Michael Kostka. (NYR)

11:09AM: Kevin Hayes is skating today on the wing with Chris Mueller in the middle and Anthony Duclair on the other side. (Gross)

The other lines at the skate are (Gross):

  • Chris Kreider, Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello
  • Rick Nash, JT Miller, Marty St. Louis
  • Marek Hrivik, Matthew Lombardi and Jesper Fast

The defense pairs working together are Marc Staal and Dan Boyle, Mat Bodie and Dylan McIlrath, Matt Hunwick and Michael Kostka, Ryan McDonagh and Steven Kampfer

FINAL: Rangers 4 Blackhawks 1

First Period:

  • Oscar Lindberg (1) Wrist shot – ASST: Lee Stempniak (1), Conor Allen (1)
  • Anthony Duclair (1) Wrist shot – ASST: Rick Nash (1), Derick Brassard (1)

Second Period:

  • Dennis Rasmussen (1) Wrist shot – ASST: Phillip Danault (1)

Third Period:

  • PPG – J.T. Miller (1) Tip-in – ASST: John Moore (1), Anthony Duclair (1)
  • Marek Hrivik (1) Wrist shot – ASST: Ryan McDonagh (1)

Stats:

Event_Summary

Adam’s Thoughts:

  •  Anthony Duclair certainly showed why there is hype around him. He may be one of those guys who is ready to play in the AHL but can’t because the rules state he has another year to play in junior. I don’t think he should/will make the Rangers but this was a really good first impression. I don’t think there is enough ice time for him with the Rangers and the best situation would be for him to go to the AHL but instead he will get another year to dominate in the QMJHL, hopefully make Team Canada for the World Juniors and then play for the memorial cup.
  • JT Miller was good again and has probably tightened his grip on locking up a roster spot and likely filling in for Derek Stepan while he was out. The big game on faceoffs is very encouraging and nice to see.
  • I liked what Rick Nash showed tonight. He had good legs, went to the net, was engaged and looked a lot like the player the Rangers need him to be.
  • One thing that may work in Oscar Lindberg’s favor, towards getting a spot on the roster, is his ability on the PK, especially with Derek Stepan out.

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