By Brian Ring

Hartford, CT, January 20, 2012 – The Connecticut Whale were defeated in overtime, 2-1, by the St. John’s IceCaps Friday night at the XL Center. Jason Jaffray recorded the game-winning goal for St. John’s just 16 seconds into overtime on a tough deflection. Erik Christensen tallied the lone goal for the Whale in the contest.

CT Whale“We got better as the game went on, it was important to get a point,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander. “It was a much needed point at this juncture.”

The IceCaps got on the board first, as Riley Holzapfel cashed in on the third St. John’s power-play of the opening period. Holzapfel would stuff defenseman Paul Postma’s rebound past Whale goaltender Cam Talbot (35 saves) with 2:29 remaining in the frame. Spencer Machacek also assisted on the goal, registering his team-leading 29th point (10-19-29).

Neither team would score in the second period, despite each side receiving a pair of power-play opportunities. St. John’s goaltender Edward Pasquale (26 saves) kept the IceCaps out in front with an incredible diving save midway through the period, gloving Kris Newbury’s point-blank try with a last-ditch effort.

Christensen tied the game with his second goal in as many games at 16:33 of the third period, deflecting Tim Erixon’s shot from the point under the crossbar past Pasquale. Tommy Grant set up the play, earning the secondary assist.

That would be all of the scoring through regulation, as for the second straight period the IceCaps outshot the Whale 11-9. Talbot, however, stood tall for Connecticut and Pasquale’s efforts kept the Whale from taking the lead on multiple chances later on in the third frame.

The Whale and IceCaps headed to overtime knotted at just a goal apiece, but Jaffray would end the game on the first shift of the extra period. Jaffray got his stick on an Aaron Gagnon shot, which knuckled the puck through the air and past Talbot for the game-winner. Brett Festerling also assisted on the goal, which sent the Whale to their eighth straight defeat in 2012 (0-6-1-1).  The Whale did, though, get at least a standings point for the eighth consecutive home game (5-0-1-2).

“We have another big opponent (the Norfolk Admirals) tomorrow night, but it’s a starting point,” said Gernander. “We need a bigger, more concerted effort to get over the hump here.”

Saturday night, January 21, features a doubleheader of hockey action at the XL Center.  At 3:00 PM, the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, the top league in women’s pro hockey, take on Team Alberta in a CWHL regular-season contest, the “International Women’s Hockey Challenge”, presented by Aetna.  Then, at 7:00, the Whale face off against the Admirals.  A ticket to the Whale game is also good for admission to the CWHL contest.  Also on Saturday night, 3,000 fans receive a Wade Redden bobblehead, courtesy of Click It or Ticket.

Tickets to that game, and all Whale home games, are available at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, as well as on-line at and through TicketMaster Charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000.

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St. John’s IceCaps 2 (OT) at Connecticut Whale 1
Friday, January 20, 2012 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum

St. John’s 1 0 0 1 – 2
Connecticut 0 0 1 0 – 1

1st Period-1, St. John’s, Holzapfel 8 (Postma, Machacek), 17:31 (PP). Penalties-Klassen Ct (cross-checking), 1:49; Klassen Ct (boarding), 9:39; Christensen Ct (hooking), 15:48; Machacek Stj (hooking), 19:13.

2nd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-served by Gregoire Stj (bench minor – too many men), 5:52; Postma Stj (tripping), 7:59; Voros Ct (roughing), 12:31; Nightingale Ct (roughing), 17:28.

3rd Period-2, Connecticut, Christensen 2 (Erixon, Grant), 3:27. Penalties-Kulda Stj (fighting), 1:30; Newbury Ct (fighting), 1:30; Thuresson Ct (cross-checking), 7:02.

OT Period-3, St. John’s, Jaffray 12 (Gagnon, Festerling), 0:16. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-St. John’s 14-11-11-1-37. Connecticut 9-9-9-0-27.
Power Play Opportunities-St. John’s 1 / 6; Connecticut 0 / 3.
Goalies-St. John’s, Pasquale 8-5-0 (27 shots-26 saves). Connecticut, Talbot 9-10-0 (37 shots-35 saves).
Referees-Jarrod Ragusin (54), Chris Brown (86).
Linesmen-Luke Galvin (2), Brent Colby (7).

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