By Brian Ring
Hartford, CT, May 6, 2012 – The Connecticut Whale were defeated by the Norfolk Admirals, 4-3, Sunday night in Game Three of their second-round playoff series at the XL Center. Mike Angelidis had the game-winning goal for Norfolk, which has now won two straight against the Whale in the series. Casey Wellman scored twice for the Whale.
The Whale trail the Admirals in their best-of-seven series, two games to one, with Game Four coming up Monday night in Hartford at 7:00 PM.
“I thought we had a good start, I thought we showed good resolve at the end of the game, and we had a few mistakes in the second period that were pretty costly,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander. “We’ve got this one put behind us, time to focus on tomorrow night’s game and come out flying tomorrow night.”
The Whale struck first, as Wellman blocked a pass by Norfolk’s J.P. Cote an blasted a shot from the right-wing side past Norfolk goaltender Dustin Tokarski (19 saves) for the 1-0 advantage 5:20 into the opening frame. The goal came unassisted on the Whale’s first power-play opportunity of the game.
Ondrej Palat would tie the game for the Admirals just 2:41 later, as Norfolk broke up a Whale power-play chance. Palat emerged from the Connecticut end with the puck and went in on a shorthanded breakaway, deking out Whale goaltender Cam Talbot (26 saves) with a move to the backhand for the equalizer.
Connecticut would take the lead again with 2:38 left in the first period, enabling them to make it a 2-1 game after one period. Andre Deveaux managed to push a loose puck past Tokarski after winger Marek Hrivik muscled the puck to the front of the Norfolk cage. The goal was Deveaux’s second in as many games.
The Admirals would tie the game back up at two with six seconds remaining on a second-period power-play, as Alex Killorn snapped one from the right circle past Talbot. Killorn’s third of the postseason was assisted by Mike Kostka and Alexandre Picard at 11:31.
Norfolk took a 3-2 lead just 45 seconds later, as Trevor Smith sent his third goal of the playoffs past Talbot to give the Admirals their first lead of the game. Smith’s goal was a deflection of a shot by Mark Barberio, and was also assisted by AHL MVP and Rookie of the Year Cory Conacher.
Angelidis extended the Admirals’ lead to 4-2 with 2:20 left in the second period, as he converted a pass from Michel Ouellet past the outstretched leg of Talbot. Radko Gudas also assisted on the score, Angelidis’ first point of the playoffs and the eventual game-winner.
Wellman would get the Whale to within one with his second goal of the night 1:06 into the third, as Connecticut scored their second power-play tally of the game. Wellman’s slapshot from just inside the Norfolk blue line beat Tokarski, with assists going to Kris Newbury and Tim Erixon.
The Whale, however, could not even the score despite several close chances during a last-minute scrum in the Admirals end, and find themselves down for the first time in the series.
The series resumes Monday night at 7:00 p.m., as the Whale host the Admirals in Game Four of their second-round series at the XL Center (“The Rock” 106.9 WCCC-FM, www.ctwhale.com, live video streaming at www.ahllive.com). Game Five is this Wednesday, May 9, a Whale home game that will be played at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT at 7:00. Tickets for Game Four are on sale now at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, and Game Five tickets are available at the Webster Bank Arena box office. Tickets for both Games Four and Five can be purchased on-line at www.ctwhale.com and through TicketMaster Charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000.
Playoff ticket packages are also available that include tickets to all possible home playoff games. To speak to a Whale account executive about a playoff ticket package, call (860) 728-3366. More information is available at www.ctwhale.com.
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Norfolk Admirals 4 at Connecticut Whale 3
Sunday, May 6, 2012 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Norfolk 1 3 0 – 4
Connecticut 2 0 1 – 3
1st Period-1, Connecticut, Wellman 2 5:20 (PP). 2, Norfolk, Palat 2 8:01 (SH). 3, Connecticut, Deveaux 2 (Hrivik, Newbury), 17:12. Penalties-Valentenko Ct (interference), 0:14; Smith Nor (boarding), 3:53; Segal Nor (slashing), 6:23; Bourque Ct (hooking), 8:59.
2nd Period-4, Norfolk, Killorn 3 (Kostka, Picard), 11:31 (PP). 5, Norfolk, Smith 3 (Barberio, Conacher), 12:16. 6, Norfolk, Angelidis 1 (Ouellet, Gudas), 17:40. Penalties-Oberg Nor (hooking), 0:56; McIlrath Ct (high-sticking), 9:37; Deveaux Ct (roughing), 18:51; Picard Nor (roughing), 20:00.
3rd Period-7, Connecticut, Wellman 3 (Newbury, Erixon), 1:06 (PP). Penalties-Barberio Nor (holding the stick), 0:43.
Shots on Goal-Norfolk 8-7-7-22. Connecticut 11-14-5-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Norfolk 1 / 4; Connecticut 2 / 5.
Goalies-Norfolk, Tokarski 4-1-0 (30 shots-27 saves). Connecticut, Talbot 4-2-0 (22 shots-18 saves).
Referees-Chris Ciamaga (24), Geno Binda (22).
Linesmen-Jim Briggs (83), Paul Simeon (66).