By Brian Ring
Bridgeport, CT, November 2, 2011 – The Connecticut Whale fell to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Wednesday afternoon, 4-3 in overtime, at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard.
The Sound Tigers’ Tim Wallace tallied a hat-trick in the game, including the overtime winner, to lead Bridgeport to a come-from-behind win. The Whale received two goals and an assist from rookie Jonathan Audy-Marchessault.
The defeat snapped the Whale’s five-game winning-streak, but Connecticut did gain at least a standings point for the ninth consecutive game (7-0-0-2).
“It’s 3-1 and you’re giving up odd-man chances, that’s no good,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander.
“We were feeling good about ourselves going into the third period,” said Whale forward John Mitchell. It’s a couple mental lapses that ended up costing us the third period and eventually in overtime.”
The Sound Tigers had opened up the scoring with Wallace’s first goal of the season, as his wrist shot snuck past Whale goaltender Cam Talbot (27 saves) just 4:06 into the first period. Justin DiBenedetto and Dylan Reese assisted on the goal.
Audy-Marchessault tied the game 7:16 into the first, after breaking into the offensive end on a two-on-one with Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello’s pass across the slot fooled Bridgeport goaltender Kevin Poulin (33 saves) and allowed Audy-Marchessault to beat the backstop high to glove side. Tim Erixon also assisted on the goal, his first AHL point coming in his first game with the Whale after starting the season with the parent New York Rangers.
The Whale took a 2-1 lead on Mitchell’s snap-shot at 16:32 of the period, his shot from the left circle beating Poulin high to the stick side. Audy-Marchessault tallied his second point of the afternoon with an assist on the goal.
Audy-Marchessault struck again with his second goal and third point of the game just 38 seconds into the final frame, scoring off of another quality pass from Zuccarello. The Whale’s first successful power-play conversion of the game gave them a 3-1 lead.
Wallace cut the Connecticut lead to 3-2 midway through the period with his second goal of the game, his shot going over the left pad of Talbot. Cizikas and DiBenedetto registered the assists on the score.
The equalizer finally came at 13:17, when Bridgeport’s David Ullstrom put his fifth goal of the season up and over Talbot, after the Whale had failed to get the puck out of their zone along the boards.
Wallace netted the game-winner, his third of the game, at 3:12 of overtime, breaking in on a three-on-one and ripping a shot past Talbot. That came just after a Whale power play had expired.
During the game, it was announced that the Whale’s Chad Johnson has been selected as the Reebok/AHL Goaltender of the Month for October. Johnson made five October appearances and went 3-0-2, tying for the league lead among qualified goalies in both goals-against average (1.69) and save percentage (.942).
The Whale will finally return home this Friday, when Connecticut hosts the brand-new St. John’s IceCaps at the XL Center (7:00) on “Power Ghouls” night. The Whale will be hosting a special on-ice Halloween costume parade and offering a buy-one get-one ticket deal to fans who come to the game in costume. CL&P employees who present their company ID at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center will also be extended the buy-one-get-one-free offer on Upper Level tickets for Friday night.
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Connecticut Whale 3 at Bridgeport Sound Tigers 4 (OT)
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 – Webster Bank Arena
Connecticut 1 1 1 0 – 3
Bridgeport 1 0 2 1 – 4
1st Period-1, Bridgeport, Wallace 1 (DiBenedetto, Reese), 4:06. 2, Connecticut, Audy-Marchessault 3 (Zuccarello, Erixon), 7:16. Penalties-Redden Ct (high-sticking), 10:58; Gillies Bri (roughing), 13:44; served by Romano Bri (bench minor – too many men), 17:16.
2nd Period-3, Connecticut, Mitchell 3 (Audy-Marchessault), 13:32. Penalties-Niederreiter Bri (hooking), 6:34; Nightingale Ct (delay of game), 14:30; Bickel Ct (fighting), 17:22; Haley Bri (fighting), 17:22; Backman Bri (hooking), 19:27.
3rd Period-4, Connecticut, Audy-Marchessault 4 (Zuccarello, Mitchell), 0:38 (PP). 5, Bridgeport, Wallace 2 (Cizikas, DiBenedetto), 9:24. 6, Bridgeport, Ullstrom 5 (Wishart), 13:17. Penalties-No Penalties
OT Period-7, Bridgeport, Wallace 3 (Cizikas, Reese), 3:22. Penalties-Wishart Bri (high-sticking), 0:50.
Shots on Goal-Connecticut 11-8-14-3-36. Bridgeport 11-9-10-1-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 1 / 5; Bridgeport 0 / 2.
Goalies-Connecticut, Talbot 3-2-0 (31 shots-27 saves). Bridgeport, Poulin 2-3-0 (36 shots-33 saves).
Referees-Jamie Koharski (84).
Linesmen-Marty Demers (79), Kevin Redding (16).