By Brian Ring
Hartford, CT, January 27, 2012 – The Connecticut Whale were defeated by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 3-2 in overtime, Friday night before 4,163 at the XL Center in Hartford. Ex-Whale Jason Williams scored the overtime game-winner for the Penguins, while Whale goaltender Chad Johnson made 37 saves to keep the Whale in the game. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Sean Avery both scored for Connecticut.
“Penalties, penalties, it’s all about discipline,” said Whale forward Kelsey Tessier. “Discipline is the key. We had the game in the pocket.”
The Penguins opened the scoring on the power-play, as Ryan Craig had an easy put-in score to give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 1-0 lead at 8:16 of the first period. Craig received a pass from Eric Tangradi at the far post of Whale goaltender Chad Johnson, with the secondary assist going to Bryan Lerg.
Sean Avery would tie the game up for the Whale 3:28 into the second period, tallying his second goal of the season for Connecticut. Avery snapped a shot through the legs of Penguins’ goaltender Brad Thiessen (20 saves) as he came in alone. Ryan Bourque recorded the lone assist on the score.
Johnson would keep the game tied in a period that saw the Penguins outshoot the Whale, 14-8, making numerous saves during a four minute penalty-kill following Avery’s score.
The Whale would take a brief 2-1 lead 4:46 into the third period, as Audy-Marchessault banged home a loose puck that Thiessen lost sight of. Andre Deveaux and Brendan Bell both assisted on Audy-Marchessault’s 15th goal of the season.
Robert Bortuzzo would tie the game back up just under a minute later at 5:44 on the power-play, as his wrist shot from the top of the left circle beat an apparently screened Johnson.
The teams would remain deadlocked the rest of the way, and for the third straight game the Whale headed to overtime after three periods.
Bourque would get called for tripping with 1:10 left in the extra session, giving the Penguins a man advantage the rest of the way, and Williams would cash in with the game-winning goal 16 seconds later to lift Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and send the Whale to their tenth straight defeat (0-5-3-2).
Saturday night, when the Springfield Falcons visit the XL Center for a 7:00 game, will feature a giveaway of additional sets of the first group of Whale trading cards. That array included cards of All-Star Mats Zuccarello, Wade Redden, Kris Newbury, Chad Johnson and Carl Hagelin. Also, after the game Saturday night, Audy-Marchessault and Zuccarello will conduct an autograph session in the XL Center atrium to sign their cards.
Tickets to all 2011-12 Whale home games, are on sale now at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, as well as on-line at www.ctwhale.com and through TicketMaster Charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000.
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Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 3 (OT) at Connecticut Whale 2
Friday, January 27, 2012 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
W-B/Scranton 1 0 1 1 – 3
Connecticut 0 1 1 0 – 2
1st Period-1, W-B/Scranton, Craig 6 (Tangradi, Lerg), 8:16 (PP). Penalties-Zuccarello Ct (tripping), 3:32; Grant Ct (cross-checking), 6:45; Williams Wbs (hooking), 18:52.
2nd Period-2, Connecticut, Avery 2 (Bourque), 3:28. Penalties-Avery Ct (roughing, unsportsmanlike conduct, misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 3:28; Sneep Wbs (interference), 18:19; Mormina Wbs (tripping), 19:38.
3rd Period-3, Connecticut, Audy-Marchessault 15 (Deveaux, Bell), 4:46. 4, W-B/Scranton, Bortuzzo 2 (Williams, Tangradi), 5:44 (PP). Penalties-Bell Ct (hooking), 5:37; MacIntyre Wbs (major – boarding, game misconduct – boarding), 6:47; Deveaux Ct (roughing), 6:59; Lerg Wbs (slashing), 10:04; Craig Wbs (roughing), 11:32; Deveaux Ct (roughing), 11:32; Bouchard Ct (slashing), 12:14.
OT Period-5, W-B/Scranton, Williams 6 (McDonald, Grant), 4:06 (PP). Penalties-Bourque Ct (hooking), 3:50.
Shots on Goal-W-B/Scranton 9-14-11-6-40. Connecticut 4-8-10-0-22.
Power Play Opportunities-W-B/Scranton 3 / 7; Connecticut 0 / 5.
Goalies-W-B/Scranton, Thiessen 17-11-2 (22 shots-20 saves). Connecticut, Johnson 10-9-5 (40 shots-37 saves).
Referees-Jean Hebert (43).
Linesmen-Kevin Redding (16), Glen Cooke (6).