HARTFORD, April 7 – There was no lighting of the lamp for the home fans in the 2013 regular season finale for the Connecticut Whale. Despite 28 shots on net, the Whale couldn’t score in a 1-0 loss to the Providence Bruins Sunday afternoon at the XL Center in front of over 5,200 fans.
The Bruins scored the only goal of the contest with 12:28 left in the first period. Ryan Spooner took a feed from Kyle MacKinnon and skated into the zone. The left-hander broke to the right circle and opened up, scoring his 14th on the far side of the net with a wrist shot that seemed to fool Whale goalie Jason Missiaen.
Missiaen has now lost three straight decisions since beating Hershey on March 22.
Connecticut (35-28-5-3) had 28 shots on net and several good opportunities. One of the better ones came from Whale forward Chris Kreider in the first period. Coming out of the penalty box, the 21-year-old forward caught a pass to break in alone on Providence goalie Niklas Svedberg. But Svedberg got a pad on the shot to deny Kreider.
Svedberg, a 23-year-old from Sweden, is 34-8-2 this season with Providence (44-21-0-5), who leads the Atlantic Division and has clinched its first AHL playoff berth since 2009.
“He has been great since day one,” Providence head coach Bruce Cassidy told NHL.com earlier this week. “Like every other team, when you’ve got a lot of faith in your goaltender, you play a little looser. He’s there to make the saves when we need him.” It was fourth shutout of the season.
It was the Whale’s third game in three days – they went 2-1 in that span. Connecticut remains in seventh place in the AHL’s Eastern Conference, three points behind sixth place Portland and three points ahead of eighth place Hershey. The top eight teams earn a spot in the AHL playoffs. Connecticut has five games left – all on the road.
Connecticut has three games next weekend with a games at Manchester on Friday, at Adriondack on Saturday and at Springfield on Sunday. They conclude the regular season on April 19 and 20 with games at Albany and Portland, respectively.
Providence 1, Connecticut 0
Providence 1 0 0 – 1
Connecticut 0 0 0 – 0
1st Period-1, Providence, Spooner 14 (MacKinnon), 12:28. Penalties-Kreider Ct (boarding), 6:36.
2nd Period– No Scoring. Penalties-Flick Pro (fighting), 4:53; McIlrath Ct (fighting), 4:53; Collins Ct (delay of game), 5:50; Krug Pro (delay of game), 11:07; Miller Pro (roughing, fighting), 16:56; Palmieri Ct (fighting), 16:56.
3rd Period– No Scoring. Penalties-Ferriero Ct (interference), 1:08; Bourque Ct (goaltender interference), 6:53; Khokhlachev Pro (slashing), 15:40.
Shots on Goal-Providence 13-13-6-32. Connecticut 8-13-7-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Providence 0 / 4; Connecticut 0 / 3.
Goalies-Providence, Svedberg 34-8-2 (28 shots-28 saves). Connecticut, Missiaen 10-7-2 (32 shots-31 saves).