By Brian Ring

Hartford, CT, January 28, 2012 – The Connecticut Whale were defeated by the Springfield Falcons, 2-1, Saturday night before a season-high crowd of 11,181 at the XL Center in Hartford. Maksim Mayorov scored the game-winning goal for Springfield in a low-scoring affair, with Mats Zuccarello tallying the only score for Connecticut.

CT WhaleThe defeat sent the Whale to their eleventh straight loss since 2012 began (0-6-3-2).

“We make a mistake there late, an odd man rush and we pay the price for it,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander. “Our margin of error isn’t one where we can afford a lot of mistakes.”

Springfield opened up a 1-0 lead with three minutes remaining in the first period, as Tim Spencer deflected Theo Ruth’s shot from the point past Whale goaltender Cam Talbot (27 saves). Tomas Kubalik received the secondary assist on the goal, the only scoring play of the opening frame. The Falcons outshot the Whale, 8-7, in the first despite the Whale being afforded three power-plays to Springfield‘s one.

The teams were headed for a scoreless second period before Zuccarello’s stellar one-man effort tied the game for the Whale. Zuccarello cut down the left wing boards through the face-off circle, and despite being impeded by a Falcon’ defender, managed to slide the puck in between the legs of Falcons goaltender Paul Dainton (24 saves). Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Blake Parlett both assisted on the goal, Zuccarello’s ninth of the season.

Maksim Mayorov would give the Falcons a 2-1 lead 6:03 into the third period with the eventual game-winner, as he one-timed a pass from Cam Atkinson past Talbot. Martin St. Pierre set the whole play up with a long stretch pass to Atkinson, who perfectly timed his feed to Mayorov in front of the Whale net.

The Whale would not be able to get the equalizer the rest of the way, as Dainton stood tall in goal for the Falcons in a period that saw the home team outshoot Springfield, 14-12. Dainton made several key stops, including a game-saving effort on an Audy-Marchessault one-time bid.

“We’ve got to find a way to finish, do the little things, take advantage of this short break,” said Whale defenseman Jared Nightingale. “Every man in this locker room knows we can turn this thing around right away.”

Connecticut will now rest up during the AHL All-Star break, before returning to the XL Center to face the Albany Devils in a Northeast Division struggle on Friday (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 and through TicketMaster Charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000.

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Springfield Falcons 2 at Connecticut Whale 1
Saturday, January 28, 2012 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Springfield 1 0 1 – 2
Connecticut 0 1 0 – 1

1st Period-1, Springfield, Spencer 2 (Ruth, MacLeod), 17:00. Penalties-Cullity Spr (slashing), 1:04; Thuresson Ct (delay of game), 8:52; Calvert Spr (high-sticking), 9:08; Dainton Spr (delay of game), 12:00.

2nd Period-2, Connecticut, Zuccarello 9 (Audy-Marchessault, Parlett), 18:08. Penalties-Audy-Marchessault Ct (tripping), 5:19; Garlock Spr (hooking), 8:22; Prout Spr (delay of game), 14:08; Calvert Spr (roughing), 20:00; Erixon Ct (roughing), 20:00.

3rd Period-3, Springfield, Mayorov 4 (Atkinson, St. Pierre), 6:03. Penalties-Drazenovic Spr (checking to the head), 7:25.

Shots on Goal-Springfield 8-9-12-29. Connecticut 7-4-14-25.
Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 0 / 2; Connecticut 0 / 6.
Goalies-Springfield, Dainton 4-2-0 (25 shots-24 saves). Connecticut, Talbot 9-11-0 (29 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Francis Charron (46).
Linesmen-Luke Galvin (2), Jim Briggs (83).