By Brian Ring
Hartford, CT, November 4, 2011 – The Connecticut Whale fell to the St. John’s IceCaps, 6-3, Friday night before 4,028 at the XL Center in Hartford.
St. John’s scored twice in 38 seconds midway through the third period, as part of a four-goal frame which erased a 3-2 deficit en route to a 6-3 win over the Whale.
“Sometimes it comes down to second effort, recognition, desperation, things like that,” said Whale coach Ken Gernander. “We got some big goals at the end of the second period and then we really didn’t force the issue and played first-effort for the last 20 minutes.”
Connecticut had gotten on the board early, as John Mitchell scored his fourth of the season on a backhander just 4:03 into the first period. His shot found its way past sprawled-out St. John’s goaltender Edward Pasquale, as Mats Zuccarello’s bid was kicked out to the Whale center. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault also received an assist on the goal.
Carl Klingberg tied it for St. John’s at 13:58 with his seventh goal of the season, his wrist shot from the wide-open slot beating Whale goaltender Chad Johnson to his glove side. Aaron Gagnon and Marco Rosa each assisted on the score.
The IceCaps took a 2-1 lead on the power-play with just 42 seconds left the opening period, as Shawn Weller scored from the slot on a deflection of a Jason DeSantis shot. Rosa picked up his second helper of the night on the play.
The Whale struck back with two goals in 19 seconds in the waning moments of the second period, taking a 3-2 lead into the third period.
Kris Newbury’s goal tied the game for Connecticut, as his shot went up and over Pasquale with 41 seconds left in the period. Kelsey Tessier and Carl Hagelin each assisted on the equalizer.
Connecticut then took the lead on the strength of Ryan Bourque’s first professional goal. Bourque’s shot from the right circle appeared to be swallowed up by Pasquale, but the shot trickled past his left pad and over the goal line for the 3-2 advantage. Tessier notched his second assist of the night on the goal, with Pavel Valentenko netting his second helper of the year.
The IceCaps responded in the third period, when Spencer Machacek netted his second goal of the season at 6:02. The Whale were unable to clear the puck from in front of Johnson, leading to the scoring chance created by Jason Jaffray and Riley Holzapfel, both tallying their third assists of the season.
St. John’s took a 4-3 lead on Eric O’Dell’s eventual game-winner, a turn-around shot from the right circle off a feed from Kevin Clark, O’Dell’s bid fooling Johnson to his short side. The goal was O’Dell’s first in the professional ranks. The IceCaps’ lead was increased to 5-3 just 38 seconds later, when Arturs Kulda blasted a shot from the point which beat Johnson low, for Kulda’s first goal of the season.
An empty-net goal from Kulda with 1:28 remaining in the third sealed the 6-3 win for the IceCaps.
“We come out strong and we get the first goal,” said Tessier. “We try to keep the lead and it’s always when we get to the third period that we can’t finish. But we’ve got to stay positive here though, we’ve been winning. We’ve got to climb back and get that goal, I think everyone hates losing.”
The Whale will return to action Saturday night, when they head to Albany to face the Devils at the Times-Union Center (7:00).
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St. John’s IceCaps 6 at Connecticut Whale 3
Friday, November 4, 2011 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
St. John’s 2 0 4 – 6
Connecticut 1 2 0 – 3
1st Period-1, Connecticut, Mitchell 4 (Zuccarello, Audy-Marchessault), 4:03. 2, St. John’s, Klingberg 7 (Gagnon, Rosa), 13:58. 3, St. John’s, Weller 2 (DeSantis, Rosa), 19:18 (PP). Penalties-Audy-Marchessault Ct (hooking), 17:46; Zuccarello Ct (tripping), 20:00.
2nd Period-4, Connecticut, Newbury 5 (Tessier, Hagelin), 19:19. 5, Connecticut, Bourque 1 (Tessier, Valentenko), 19:38. Penalties-Chiarot Stj (hooking), 7:40; Pasquale Stj (diving), 14:50; Thuresson Ct (goaltender interference), 14:50; Cormier Stj (boarding), 16:35.
3rd Period-6, St. John’s, Machacek 2 (Jaffray, Holzapfel), 6:02. 7, St. John’s, O’Dell 1 (Clark, Albert), 9:40. 8, St. John’s, Kulda 1 (Weller, Chiarot), 10:18. 9, St. John’s, Kulda 2 18:32 (EN). Penalties-O’Dell Stj (interference), 12:08.
Shots on Goal-St. John’s 12-7-9-28. Connecticut 8-6-5-19.
Power Play Opportunities-St. John’s 1 / 2; Connecticut 0 / 3.
Goalies-St. John’s, Pasquale 3-0-0 (19 shots-16 saves). Connecticut, Johnson 3-1-2 (27 shots-22 saves).
Referees-Geno Binda (22), Ryan Hersey (46).
Linesmen-Derek Wahl (46), Luke Galvin (2).