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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Stats/Watch: Wolf Pack lose 5-2 (Danny Kristo scores)

The Wolf Pack lost to the Sound Tigers last night 5-2:

  • Mat Bodie: 1 assist
  • Conor Allen: minue one, 1 shot, hooking, boarding, slashing penalty
  • Ryan Malone: 1 shot
  • Dylan McIlrath: 1 assist
  • Ryan Bourque: 4 shots, hooking penalty
  • JT Miller: assist, 2 shots
  • Marek Hrivik: 1 shot
  • Oscar Lindberg: minus one, 4 shots, cross checking, holding penalty
  • Michael Kostka: minus one
  • Danny Kristo: 1 goal, 5 shots, holding penalty
  • Ryan Haggerty: 2 shots

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Stats/Watch: Wolf Pack win 3-2 (Oscar Lindberg with TWO goals)

The Wolf Pack defeated Hershey 3-2 yesterday to split their weekend series:

•    Mat Bodie: minus one, 2 shots
•    Dylan McIlrath: delay of game penalty
•    Ryan Bourque: 1 shot
•    JT Miller: 1 assist, 1 shot
•    Marek Hrivik: plus one
•    Chris Bourque: 1 goal, minus one, 2 shots, boarding penalty
•    Oscar Lindberg: 2 goals, plus one, 5 shots
•    Jesper Fast: 1 assist, minus one, 3 shots
•    Danny Kristo: 1 shot, interference penalty
•    Ryan Haggerty: 1 shot

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Stats/Watch: Wolf Pack Lose 4-2 (Oscar Lindberg and JT Miller score)

The Wolf Pack lost to Hershey last night 4-2:

•    Mat Bodie: 1 assist, minus 3, 2 shots, hooking penalty
•    Dylan McIlrath: 2 shots, boarding penalty
•    Ryan Bourque: minus one, 2 shots
•    JT Miller: 1 goal, minus one, 2 shots
•    Marek Hrivik: 3 shots
•    Chris Bourque: minus two, 2 shots
•    Oscar Lindberg: 1 goal, 4 shots
•    Jesper Fast: 2 assists, minus one
•    Danny Kristo: minus one, 1 shot
•    Ryan Haggerty: 1 shot

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Stats: Wolf Pack win 4-3 on Sunday (JT Miller, Danny Kristo, Jesper Fast score)

The Wolf Pack beat the Worcester Sharks 4-3 on Sunday.

•    Mat Bodie: 2 assists, plus one, 1 shot
•    Ryan Bourque: 1 assist, 1 shot
•    JT Miller: 1 goal, 1 assist, plus one, 3 shots
•    Marek Hrivik: nothing on scoresheet
•    Chris Bourque: 1 goal, plus one, 3 shots
•    Oscar Lindberg: 2 assists, plus two, tripping penalty
•    Jesper Fast: 1 goal, plus two, 1 shot
•    Danny Kristo: 1 goal, plus one, 1 shot, hooking penalty
•    Ryan Haggerty: 1 shot