By Brian Ring
Hartford, CT, February 3, 2012 – The Connecticut Whale defeated the Albany Devils, 3-2, Friday night at the XL Center in Hartford to snap an eleven-game winless streak. Kris Newbury, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Wojtek Wolski all scored for the Whale, while Mats Zuccarello and Brendan Bell added two assists apiece.
“It’s a good feeling in here right now, the guys are happy,” said Newbury. “The good news is we get to get right back at it and try to have a good weekend.”
Albany staked themselves to an early 1-0 lead, as Eric Gelinas’ shot from the right point was ripped past Whale goaltender Chad Johnson (20 saves) just 1:39 into the opening period. Stephane Veilleux and Darcy Zajac each assisted on the goal.
The Whale would strike back just over a minute later, as Newbury tied the game in his return to the lineup after missing the last two games due to injury. The puck hit off the end boards to the left of Albany goaltender Keith Kinkaid (21 saves) and out to a streaking Zuccarello, who hit Newbury with a quick one-time pass. Bell would also assist on the equalizer.
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault would give the Whale a 2-1 lead that they would carry into the first intermission with a power-play goal, his 16th tally of the season, at 18:30. Audy-Marchessault managed to sneak a bad angle shot past Kinkaid, as the Whale All-Star had gathered the puck up and fired at the Devils’ goal line to the right of the cage. Bell recorded his second assist of the game on the score, with Andre Deveaux earning the secondary assist.
The Whale would extend their lead to 3-1 with 3:47 remaining in the second period, as Wolski tallied Connecticut’s second power-play score of the night for the eventual game-winner. Wolski fed Zuccarello for a quick give-and-go passing play, depositing the return pass in the top right corner of the Devils’ net. The goal came in Wolski’s first tilt with the Whale after he joined the team from the New York Rangers on a conditioning assignment, with fellow assignee Jeff Woywitka notching the secondary assist.
Joe Whitney would close the Albany deficit to 3-2 5:21 into the third period, as he stuffed a loose puck past Johnson. Zajac and Veilleux both collected their second assists of the night on the goal, Whitney’s team-leading 12th.
The Whale, however, would hang on in the third period to preserve their first win since Dec. 31.
“We need to build off of this win and keep it rolling in here for tomorrow,” said Newbury.
Connecticut now heads to Hershey to face the Bears Saturday night at the Giant Center (7:00 PM).
The Whale will return home on Tuesday, when they host the Syracuse Crunch in their only visit to the XL Center this season (7:00 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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Albany Devils 2 at Connecticut Whale 3
Friday, February 3, 2012 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Albany 1 0 1 – 2
Connecticut 2 1 0 – 3
1st Period-1, Albany, Gelinas 8 (Veilleux, Zajac), 1:39. 2, Connecticut, Newbury 16 (Zuccarello, Bell), 2:57. 3, Connecticut, Audy-Marchessault 16 (Bell, Deveaux), 18:30 (PP). Penalties-Tedenby Alb (interference), 9:46; Erixon Ct (hooking), 15:03; Palmieri Alb (interference), 17:24.
2nd Period-4, Connecticut, Wolski 1 (Zuccarello, Woywitka), 16:13 (PP). Penalties-Bell Ct (holding), 1:24; Zalewski Alb (high-sticking), 14:29; Parlett Ct (cross-checking), 16:37.
3rd Period-5, Albany, Whitney 12 (Zajac, Veilleux), 5:21. Penalties-Bouchard Ct (high-sticking), 17:40.
Shots on Goal-Albany 5-6-11-22. Connecticut 9-11-4-24.
Power Play Opportunities-Albany 0 / 4; Connecticut 2 / 3.
Goalies-Albany, Kinkaid 11-12-1 (24 shots-21 saves). Connecticut, Johnson 11-9-5 (22 shots-20 saves).
Referees-Ryan Hersey (46).
Linesmen-Luke Galvin (2), Jim Briggs (83).