By Brian Ring
Manchester, NH, March 11, 2012 – The Connecticut Whale defeated the Manchester Monarchs, 5-3, Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester. Casey Wellman had two goals and an assist in the game and Andreas Thuresson had the game-winner and an assist to lead the Whale.
The win gave the Whale two wins in three games this weekend, and improved them to a perfect 4-0-0-0 against Manchester this season. The Whale (31-20-5-5) also moved into a tie in the Northeast Division with first-place Bridgeport, which lost 6-3 at home to Norfolk, at 72 points.
“It’s going to be a grind, with a short night and travel last night,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander. “But the guys stuck with it, got a big goal by Casey [Wellman], and we were able to get our two points.”
Wellman would give the Whale a 1-0 advantage just 1:14 into the first period, backhanding a rebound past Manchester goaltender Jeff Zatkoff (27 saves). Brendan Bell’s rebound came to Wellman, who tallied his 19th of the season, with the secondary assist going to Thuresson.
The lead would be short-lived in a wild first period, as Richard Clune deflected a bid past Whale netminder Chad Johnson (34 saves) shortly thereafter. Clune got a piece of David Kolomatis’ shot from the point, tipping it through to tie the game at one 4:12 into the frame. Andrei Loktionov earned the secondary helper.
The Monarchs would take a 2-1 lead on the power-play, as Trent Hunter rifled a shot through Johnson just 27 seconds later. Kolomatis tallied his second assist of the period on the goal, with Justin Azevedo also notching an assist.
Connecticut would tie the game on their own power-play with 7:34 left to play in the first, as Jonathan Audy-Marchessault wristed a shot top –shelf on Zatkoff for the 20th goal of his rookie campaign. Kris Newbury and Tim Erixon both assisted on the play.
Neither team would break the 2-2 tie in the second period, although Manchester outshot the Whale, 11-6, in the frame and through two periods led Connecticut 27-19.
Audy-Marchessault missed a prime opportunity for his second goal of the night early in the period, as Zatkoff misplayed a puck that found its way in front of an open net. Audy-Marchessault, however, was foiled by Jake Muzzin, who just got a stick on his attempt.
The Whale would go up 3-2 on Wellman’s second of the night and 20th of the season, his wrist shot fooling Zatkoff at 8:09. Ryan Bourque notched the lone assist on the tally.
Thuresson would put the Whale up 4-2 at the 11:20 mark with a slapshot off of a feed from Wellman, who tallied his third point of the night with the primary assist.
The Monarchs would close to within 4-3 with 1:51 left to play on Thomas Hickey’s third goal of the season, his shot sneaking through traffic in front of the Whale net and past Johnson.
Whale captain Wade Redden, however, would ice the win for the visitors at 18:58 with a nearly full-length empty net goal, his second tally of the season.
The Whale will return home Friday, when they play host to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a pivotal installment of GEICO Connecticut Cup action at the XL Center (7:00). That game starts a five-game homestand for the Whale.
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.
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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Connecticut Whale 5 at Manchester Monarchs 3
Sunday, March 11, 2012 – Verizon Wireless Arena
Connecticut 2 0 3 – 5
Manchester 2 0 1 – 3
1st Period-1, Connecticut, Wellman 19 (Bell, Thuresson), 1:14. 2, Manchester, Clune 5 (Kolomatis, Loktionov), 4:12. 3, Manchester, Hunter 2 (Kolomatis, Azevedo), 4:39 (PP). 4, Connecticut, Audy-Marchessault 20 (Newbury, Erixon), 12:26 (PP). Penalties-Grant Ct (hooking), 4:23; Bourque Ct (tripping), 8:56; Deslauriers Mch (roughing), 11:56; Clune Mch (tripping), 14:30; Loktionov Mch (high-sticking), 15:20.
2nd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-served by Kozun Mch (bench minor – too many men), 10:36; Owens Ct (tripping), 13:48.
3rd Period-5, Connecticut, Wellman 20 (Bourque), 8:09. 6, Connecticut, Thuresson 13 (Wellman, Grant), 11:20. 7, Manchester, Hickey 3 (Mullen, Vey), 18:09. 8, Connecticut, Redden 2 18:58 (EN). Penalties-Deveaux Ct (holding), 12:48.
Shots on Goal-Connecticut 13-6-13-32. Manchester 16-11-10-37.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 1 / 4; Manchester 1 / 4.
Goalies-Connecticut, Johnson 19-13-5 (37 shots-34 saves). Manchester, Zatkoff 17-13-1 (31 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Chris Cozzan (18), Jon McIsaac (39).
Linesmen-Joe Ross (92), Brian MacDonald (72).