By Brian Ring

Portland, ME, January 2, 2012 – The Connecticut Whale were defeated in overtime, 5-4, by the Portland Pirates Monday afternoon in Maine. The Whale led by three goals at one point, and had a 4-3 lead as late as four minutes left in the third period. The Pirates’ Nathan Oystrick, however, would score once to tie the game at four and again in overtime to win the game for Portland.

CT WhaleKelsey Tessier scored twice for the Whale, and Francois Bouchard and Andre Deveaux each added two assists.

Reebok/AHL Player of the Week Kris Newbury gave the Whale a 1-0 lead just 25 seconds into the opening period, after Portland goaltender Justin Pogge (16 saves) kicked out a Brendan Bell shot. The rebound found Newbury’s stick, and the Whale scoring leader fired it in for his 13th goal of the season, also extending a Whale season-high point-scoring streak to eight games.  Deveaux recorded the secondary assist on the score.

The Whale opened up a 2-0 lead 4:23 into the period, as Tessier skated down the right wing boards and fired a wrist shot past Pogge for his fifth goal of the season. Andreas Thuresson and Bouchard both assisted on Tessier’s goal.

Connecticut finished the period with a 2-0 lead, but goaltender Cam Talbot (21 saves) had to be sharp, as he stopped all nine shots he faced in the period. The Pirates nearly got one back late in the period on the power-play, but the puck was deemed to have entered the net due to goaltender interference and an apparent Portland goal was called back.

Tessier extended the lead to 3-0 with his second goal of the game at 9:21 of the second period, deflecting Pave Valentenko’s slapshot through Pogge. Bouchard picked up yet another assist on the goal, his fifth helper in the last two games.

The goal chased Pogge, who was relieved by Marc Cheverie (20 saves) in a period that saw the Whale outshoot the Pirates, 10-2.

Portland cut the Whale lead to 3-1 on Brett MacLean’s team-leading 14th goal of the season, as MacLean one-timed an Andy Miele pass past Talbot. Brock Trotter also earned an assist on the goal.

The Pirates’ rally continued just 59 seconds into the third period, when Matt Watkins scored on a backhander  off assists from Miele and Trotter.

Portland would complete the comeback just one second into a power-play 4:47 into the third, as Trotter scored off a Miele face-off win, tying the game at three. The puck was tipped in by Trotter, up and over Talbot’s shoulder.

Jonathan Audy-Marchessault broke up the string of three unanswered Portland goals with his 12th of the season, which was jammed through Cheverie, putting the Whale ahead 4-3 with 10:40 remaining in the third frame.  Deveaux received the only assist on the goal.

The Pirates forced overtime with just 29.2 seconds remaining in the third, as Oystrick got one past the left pad of Talbot, who made several incredible saves during a Portland five-on-three opportunity. Oystrick’s equalizer was assisted by Trotter and MacLean.

Oystrick would strike again with the overtime game-winning tally with 33 seconds remaining, his slapshot beating Talbot with Audy-Marchessault in the penalty box. Trotter would pick up his fourth point of the night with an assist on the goal.

The Whale are back in action Friday night, when they take on the defending Calder Cup champion Binghamton Senators on the road (7:00 PM). Connecticut will return home Saturday to host the Springfield Falcons on Saturday (7:00 PM).

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Connecticut Whale 4 at Portland Pirates 5 (OT)
Monday, January 2, 2012 – Cumberland County Civic Center

Connecticut 2 1 1 0 – 4
Portland 0 1 3 1 – 5

1st Period-1, Connecticut, Newbury 13 (Bell, Deveaux), 0:25. 2, Connecticut, Tessier 5 (Thuresson, Bouchard), 4:23. Penalties-Stone Por (holding), 5:29; Newbury Ct (unsportsmanlike conduct), 7:39; Owens Ct (tripping), 17:11; Audy-Marchessault Ct (roughing), 19:25; Hextall Por (slashing), 19:25.

2nd Period-3, Connecticut, Tessier 6 (Valentenko, Bouchard), 9:21. 4, Portland, MacLean 14 (Miele, Trotter), 16:12. Penalties-Rome Por (slashing), 4:14; Bouchard Ct (hooking), 12:05; Duncan Por (hooking), 18:07.

3rd Period-5, Portland, Watkins 6 (Hextall, Duncan), 0:59. 6, Portland, Trotter 9 (Miele), 4:47 (PP). 7, Connecticut, Audy-Marchessault 12 (Deveaux), 9:20. 8, Portland, Oystrick 7 (Trotter, MacLean), 19:30 (PP). Penalties-Voros Ct (high-sticking), 4:45; Hollweg Por (tripping), 5:27; Oystrick Por (interference), 13:19; Erixon Ct (tripping), 15:01; Owens Ct (delay of game), 17:07; Avery Ct (high-sticking), 18:08.

OT Period-9, Portland, Oystrick 8 (Duncan, Trotter), 4:27 (PP). Penalties-Audy-Marchessault Ct (tripping), 2:33.

Shots on Goal-Connecticut 14-10-15-1-40. Portland 9-2-14-1-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 0 / 5; Portland 3 / 8.
Goalies-Connecticut, Talbot 9-6-0 (26 shots-21 saves). Portland, Pogge 5-3-3 (19 shots-16 saves); Cheverie 1-0-0 (21 shots-20 saves).
Referees-Geno Binda (22), Mark Lemelin (41).
Linesmen-Joe Andrews (32), Landon Bathe (80).

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