By Brian Ring
Bridgeport, CT, March 25, 2012 – The Connecticut Whale were defeated by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 4-3 in overtime, Sunday afternoon at the Webster Bank Arena. Matt Donovan scored the game-winning goal for Bridgeport with two seconds left in overtime while the Sound Tigers were on a power-play.
Andre Deveaux, Mike Vernace and Tommy Grant all scored for Connecticut.
“It’s obviously getting a little redundant, pretty frustrating to come in after games and say your margin of error is going to be so slim and they’re going to be one-goal games, you’ve got to do a little better job securing the puck,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander.
“It gets a little bit frustrating.”
The in-state rivals would combine for five goals in the first period alone, as the Sound Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals in a span of 1:54.
Scott Howes would score first for Bridgeport, as he stuffed his tenth goal of the season between the left pad of Whale goaltender Cam Talbot (32 saves) and the goal post at 9:09. Tyler Gron and Justin DiBenedetto both assisted on the opening score of the period.
The Sound Tigers would score again at 11:03, when Rhett Rakhshani blistered a shot past Talbot after the Whale failed to clear an initial chance from the zone.
Vernace would get the Whale to within one at the 12:35 mark, tallying his first Whale goal with a slapshot from the top of the circles that beat Bridgeport goaltender Kevin Poulin (42 saves). Kelsey Tessier and Scott Tanski both assisted on the goal.
Connecticut would even the game at two on the power-play at 16:47, when Brendan Bell ripped a slapshot from the blue line that was tipped by Grant and found its way past Poulin for the equalizer. Grant’s 11th tally of the season was assisted by Bell and Wade Redden.
The Sound Tigers would send the game into the second period holding a 3-2 lead, as Steve Oleksy tallied his first career AHL goal with 44 seconds remaining, after an initial odd-man rush was stopped.
Neither team would score in the second period, despite the Whale outshooting Bridgeport, 14-8, in the period and receiving the only two power-play opportunities of the frame.
Deveaux would tie the game for the Whale 7:08 into the third period, finding the puck in the midst of a scrum in front of Poulin and putting it into the cage.
A Whale power play carried over into overtime, but the Whale would later find themselves shorthanded when Kris Newbury was called for hooking with 44 seconds remaining in the extra session.
It looked like the game was destined for the shootout, but Donovan put a shot through bodies in front of the Whale net and then past Talbot to win the game with just two seconds remaining.
The win cut the Whale’s lead in the Northeast Division to two points.
The Whale will return to action this Friday, when they host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the XL Center (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.
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 3 at Bridgeport Sound Tigers 4 (OT)
Sunday, March 25, 2012 – Webster Bank Arena
Connecticut 2 0 1 0 – 3
Bridgeport 3 0 0 1 – 4
1st Period-1, Bridgeport, Howes 10 (Gron, DiBenedetto), 9:09. 2, Bridgeport, Rakhshani 15 (Ness, Landry), 11:03. 3, Connecticut, Vernace 3 (Tessier, Tanski), 12:35. 4, Connecticut, Grant 11 (Bell, Redden), 16:47 (PP). 5, Bridgeport, Oleksy 1 (Donovan, Marcinko), 19:14. Penalties-Vernace Ct (slashing), 12:56; Donovan Bri (hooking), 15:19; Marcinko Bri (holding), 16:59.
2nd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Oleksy Bri (high-sticking), 6:11; Katic Bri (tripping), 15:59.
3rd Period-6, Connecticut, Deveaux 20 (Valentenko, Newbury), 7:08. Penalties-Wishart Bri (high-sticking), 10:05; Backman Bri (hooking), 19:21.
OT Period-7, Bridgeport, Donovan 9 (Katic, Rakhshani), 4:58 (PP). Penalties-Newbury Ct (hooking), 4:06.
Shots on Goal-Connecticut 14-14-13-4-45. Bridgeport 16-8-9-3-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 1 / 6; Bridgeport 1 / 2.
Goalies-Connecticut, Talbot 12-12-0 (36 shots-32 saves). Bridgeport, Poulin 17-17-4 (45 shots-42 saves).
Referees-Tim Mayer (19).
Linesmen-Luke Galvin (2), Brent Colby (7).