By Brian Ring
Hartford, CT, April 6, 2012 – The Connecticut Whale defeated the Manchester Monarchs, 2-1 in overtime, Friday night at the XL Center in Hartford. Casey Wellman scored the overtime winner for Connecticut, backing a 32-save, First-Star performance from goaltender Chad Johnson.
Ryan Bourque scored in regulation for the Whale, while Linden Vey had the only goal of the contest for the Monarchs. The win improved the Whale to 5-0-0-0 against the Monarchs this season.
“We’re obviously happy with the finish and the two points,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander. “But there were some points in the first and definitely in the second where we needed to play with more emotion and more desperation.
“[Johnson] was strong and kept us in there when we were a little bit lacking in emotion.”
The Whale took the first lead of the game 9:52 into the opening period, as Bourque redirected Andreas Thuresson’s wrist shot past Manchester goaltender Martin Jones (29 saves) for his sixth goal of the season. Jordan Owens picked up the secondary assist on the score.
Vey would answer for the Monarchs, tying the game for Manchester 12:23 into the first. Vey found himself open in front of the Whale netminder Johnson, as he put home his 18th goal of the season. Brandon Kozun and Nick Deslauriers were credited with the assists.
Neither team would break the one-all tie in the second period, and Johnson was sharp in keeping the Monarchs off the board in the frame.
The Whale were outshot, 17-9, in the second, and 24-18 through two periods, as the Monarchs were able to sustain several bursts of attack in the Connecticut zone.
Neither team would mount much attack in the third period either, but the Whale would take control of the majority of the play as they outshot their guests, 12-8, in the last frame of regulation.
Johnson and Jones were both on point through three periods, forcing the two clubs to battle into overtime for the first time this season.
Wellman would finally knock the puck just over the line past Jones 1:16 into the extra session to net the overtime victory for Connecticut, with Brendan Bell and Wade Redden tallying the assists after the puck trickled past Jones.
The Whale will be back in road action Saturday, when they face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (7:00 PM).
The Whale’s last home game of the regular season is next Friday, April 13, as the Monarchs return for a 7:00 game. That is Fan Appreciation Night, as the first 5,000 fans receive a green Whale bracelet presented by Xfinity. Also, $5 Family Value combo meals are available. For tickets visit ctwhale.com. Presented by the Connecticut Lottery, sponsored by Aetna, CBT and St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center.
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Manchester Monarchs 1 at Connecticut Whale 2 (OT)
Friday, April 6, 2012 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Manchester 1 0 0 0 – 1
Connecticut 1 0 0 1 – 2
1st Period-1, Connecticut, Bourque 6 (Thuresson, Owens), 9:52. 2, Manchester, Vey 18 (Kozun, Deslauriers), 12:23. Penalties-Vey Mch (slashing), 13:35.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Kaunisto Mch (roughing), 4:21; Newbury Ct (roughing), 4:21.
3rd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Muzzin Mch (slashing), 0:12; Bourque Ct (hooking), 8:23.
OT Period-3, Connecticut, Wellman 23 (Bell, Redden), 1:16. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Manchester 7-17-8-1-33. Connecticut 9-9-12-1-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Manchester 0 / 1; Connecticut 0 / 2.
Goalies-Manchester, Jones 16-17-2 (31 shots-29 saves). Connecticut, Johnson 22-17-5 (33 shots-32 saves).
Referees-Chris Cozzan (18), Darcy Burchell (42).
Linesmen-Brent Colby (7), Paul Simeon (66).