By Brian Ring
Manchester, NH, March 4, 2012 - The Connecticut Whale defeated the Manchester Monarchs, 3-2, Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Wireless Arena. Kelsey Tessier notched the game-winning goal, and Kris Newbury and Andre Deveaux also scored, to back a 31-save performance by goaltender Chad Johnson.
Justin Azevedo scored twice for Manchester.
“We’re happy to get a road win and get back on track here,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander. “It’s been a couple games without a road win, so it’s an important one.”
The two teams played a scoreless opening period which started out slow, but picked up in intensity after a mid-period scrap between the Whale’s Jared Nightingale and Manchester’s Justin Johnson. The teams finished the frame tied with nine shots each, with the Whale getting their best chances on a five-on-three opportunity starting at the 12:11 mark.
The Whale would carry the majority of the play in the second period, outshooting the Monarchs 17-13. Jeff Zatkoff (39 saves) was great in goal for Manchester, stopping a number of quality opportunities, with saves on Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, Casey Wellman and Mats Zuccarello rating among the best.
Johnson was equally up to the task for the Whale, helping the Whale to kill a pair of second period penalties.
Azevedo would finally break through for the Monarchs 33 seconds into the third period, as Manchester’s power-play recorded the first goal of the game. Azevedo one-timed a pass from Jake Muzzin past Johnson for the score, with Trent Hunter recording the secondary assist.
The game would turn at that point, as the Whale scored three unanswered third-period goals in a span of 3:37.
The Whale would tie the game with 11:46 remaining, as Deveaux poked the puck past Zatkoff for his 19th goal of the season. The puck had bounced from Audy-Marchessault to Deveaux, who managed to just squeak it by the left pad of Zatkoff. Tommy Grant also assisted on the goal.
Newbury would score to make it a 2-1 game at the 10:23 mark, as he won the draw back to Pavel Valentenko. Newbury would then tip Valentenko’s shot past Zatkoff, becoming the first Whale player to crack the 20-goal barrier this season.
Tessier would earn the game-winner with a great individual effort just under a minute later, capitalizing on a two-on-one rush with Brendan Bell. Tessier made a nice move around the Manchester defender, missing his initial shot but sending the second attempt past Zatkoff.
Azevedo would score again for Manchester with 3.2 seconds remaining, but it was not enough to keep the Whale from capturing their third straight meeting with the Monarchs.
The Whale return home this Friday, when they host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in GEICO Connecticut Cup action at the XL Center (7:00). The Whale will then face the Norfolk Admirals Saturday night in Hartford (7:00).
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 this Saturday, March 10 vs. Norfolk. 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 during the game, which faces off at 7:00 PM on Saturday, and 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. 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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Connecticut Whale 3 at Manchester Monarchs 2
Sunday, March 4, 2012 – Verizon Wireless Arena
Connecticut 0 0 3 – 3
Manchester 0 0 2 – 2
1st Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Nightingale Ct (fighting), 9:43; Johnson Mch (fighting), 9:43; Newbury Ct (interference), 9:58; Azevedo Mch (hooking), 11:39; Cliche Mch (high-sticking), 12:11.
2nd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Deveaux Ct (delay of game), 3:57; Newbury Ct (tripping), 19:40.
3rd Period-1, Manchester, Azevedo 14 (Muzzin, Hunter), 0:33 (PP). 2, Connecticut, Deveaux 19 (Audy-Marchessault, Grant), 8:06. 3, Connecticut, Newbury 20 (Valentenko), 10:23. 4, Connecticut, Tessier 10 (Erixon, Bell), 11:43. 5, Manchester, Azevedo 15 (Hickey, Kolomatis), 19:56. Penalties-Clune Mch (boarding), 3:08; Wellman Ct (holding), 3:13; Zuccarello Ct (roughing), 10:19; Clune Mch (roughing), 10:19.
Shots on Goal-Connecticut 9-17-16-42. Manchester 9-13-11-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 0 / 3; Manchester 1 / 4.
Goalies-Connecticut, Johnson 18-12-5 (33 shots-31 saves). Manchester, Zatkoff 16-13-1 (42 shots-39 saves).
Referees-Darcy Burchell (42).
Linesmen-Jeremy Lovett (78), Brian MacDonald (72).