By Brian Ring
Hartford, CT, February 17, 2012 – The Connecticut Whale defeated the Springfield Falcons, 6-3, Friday night at the XL Center. Andre Deveaux scored twice for the Whale, including the game-winner, as did Ryan Bourque, and Mats Zuccarello (1-2-3), Kris Newbury (0-3-3) and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault (0-3-3) all recorded three points, in Connecticut’s sixth win in seven tries (6-0-1-0).
Connecticut scored three unanswered third-period goals, and would take the lead for good on Deveaux’s second goal of the night, coming at the 8:05 mark of the final frame.
“We had a strong finish, a strong third period and that ended up being the difference,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander.
The Whale jumped out to the first lead of the game 3:26 into the first period, when Deveaux’s slap-shot from the right faceoff circle beat Springfield goaltender Paul Dainton (20 saves) for his 14th goal of the season. Zuccarello started the play at mid-ice, dishing to Newbury, who made a nice feed to a streaking Deveaux down the right wing boards.
Springfield would bring the game back to even with 7:09 left to play in the first, as Cam Atkinson scored his 28th of the season on the power-play. Whale goaltender Chad Johnson (seven saves in the first period) gave away a large rebound after denying a shot from Tomas Kubalik, and Atkinson promptly deposited it into the net for the equalizer. Martin St. Pierre also assisted on the goal, his 36th helper of the campaign.
Zuccarello would enable the Whale to head to the locker room up 2-1, as he converted a pass from Newbury. Newbury passed to Zuccarello in the slot, his stick narrowly deflecting the puck through Dainton with 6:17 left to play in the opening period.
The Falcons would tie the game back up 4:13 into the second period, as Cody Bass’s shot from the high slot fooled Cam Talbot (17 saves), who replaced Johnson in goal to start the second period. Kubalik and Brent Regner assisted on the goal.
Dane Byers would give the Falcons their first and only lead of the game at the 13:43 mark of the second, as he finished a quality passing play among himself, Kubalik and Greg Amadio. Amadio’s long stretch pass to Kubalik, combined with a poor Whale line change, allowed Byers to tap in a pass from Kubalik to the right of Talbot.
Bourque’s fourth goal of the season would once again tie the score with 1:39 left in the second. Bourque ripped a one-timer past Dainton to make it a 3-3 game headed into the third period, with Audy-Marchessault and Casey Wellman recording the assists.
The Whale would take the lead for good on Deveaux’s second goal of the night, the first of three unanswered third period goals, as Zuccarello’s pass from behind the Springfield cage found him wide open in the Falcons’ slot for an easy put-in at the 8:05 mark on the power-play.
Bourque stretched the lead to 5-3 with his second of the game with 5:03 remaining in the third, as he converted an Audy-Marchessault faceoff win, slapping the puck right off the draw past Dainton.
Wellman would seal the victory with his 16th goal, a tap-in of a Pavel Valentenko rebound, who earned an assist in his return to the Whale lineup. Audy-Marchessault also assisted on the goal, his third helper of the night.
The Whale will be back in action Saturday night at the XL Center as they take on the Worcester Sharks (7:00 PM). Connecticut will finish the weekend’s slate Sunday afternoon in Providence, when they face the Bruins (4:05 PM).
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.
The Whale and the CT Hockey Hall of Fame will partner to hold a CT Hockey Hall of Fame night at the Whale’s home game at the XL Center Saturday, March 10 vs. the Norfolk Admirals. That night will mark the enshrinement of a new class of 2012 inductees into the CT Hockey Hall of Fame, which has adopted eight members from the storied Hartford Whalers Hall of Fame. The new inductees are: Connecticut-bred Hockey Hall of Famer Brian Leetch, ex-Hartford Whalers 56-goal scorer Blaine Stoughton, former Whalers goaltender Mike Liut, former Whalers captain Pat Verbeek, Connecticut Whale/Hartford Wolf Pack franchise icon, long-time captain and current head coach Ken Gernander, three-time Olympic medalist for Team USA and all-time NCAA women’s leading scorer Julie Chu, and one of the founders of the New England Whalers, William E. Barnes. There will be an induction ceremony before the game, which faces off at 7:00 PM on March 10, and the new inductees will also be recognized on the ice during the first intermission. Fans can take home a special souvenir of the March 10 night, as 5,000 Hall of Fame posters will be given away, courtesy of SuperCuts. There will also be a special meet-and-greet event on March 10, details of which will be announced soon. This will be the first class of inductees since 1990, and further details are available at cthockeyHOF.org.
College students can get discounted tickets to Whale weekday games with the Whale’s “Ditch the Dorms” deal. For Monday through Friday home games, students who show a valid student ID at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center can get $2 off Upper Level tickets and $5 off Lower Level seats.
Save on your tickets, and get the best seats, with a ticket plan for the Whale’s 2011-12 AHL campaign, which are on sale now. For information on season seats, mini plans and great group discounts, visit www.ctwhale.com, or call the CT Whale ticket office at (860) 728-3366 to talk with an account executive today.
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Springfield Falcons 3 at Connecticut Whale 6
Friday, February 17, 2012 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Springfield 1 2 0 – 3
Connecticut 2 1 3 – 6
1st Period-1, Connecticut, Deveaux 14 (Newbury, Zuccarello), 3:26. 2, Springfield, Atkinson 28 (Kubalik, St. Pierre), 12:51 (PP). 3, Connecticut, Zuccarello 11 (Newbury), 13:43. Penalties-Giroux Spr (hooking), 5:18; Cullity Spr (slashing), 9:55; Wellman Ct (hooking), 12:27; Amadio Spr (roughing), 18:54; Erixon Ct (hooking), 19:32.
2nd Period-4, Springfield, Bass 3 (Kubalik, Regner), 4:13. 5, Springfield, Byers 11 (Kubalik, Amadio), 13:43. 6, Connecticut, Bourque 4 (Audy-Marchessault, Wellman), 18:21. Penalties-No Penalties
3rd Period-7, Connecticut, Deveaux 15 (Zuccarello, Newbury), 8:05 (PP). 8, Connecticut, Bourque 5 (Audy-Marchessault), 14:57. 9, Connecticut, Wellman 16 (Valentenko, Audy-Marchessault), 17:46. Penalties-Wellman Ct (holding), 1:49; Atkinson Spr (hooking), 7:47; Bass Spr (charging), 15:44.
Shots on Goal-Springfield 8-13-6-27. Connecticut 9-9-7-25.
Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 1 / 3; Connecticut 1 / 5.
Goalies-Springfield, Dainton 6-4-0 (25 shots-19 saves). Connecticut, Johnson 15-10-5 (8 shots-7 saves); Talbot 10-11-0 (19 shots-17 saves).
Referees-Terry Koharski (10), Geno Binda (22).
Linesmen-Derek Wahl (46), Luke Galvin (2).