By Brian Ring
Hartford, CT, December 26, 2011 – The Connecticut Whale were defeated by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 3-2, Monday night at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard. Tomas Marcinko recorded the game-winning goal for Bridgeport, as the Sound Tigers scored twice in the third period to erase a 2-1 Whale lead.
Andre Deveaux scored and had an assist for the Whale, as did Bridgeport’s Rhett Rakhshani.
“I thought we played well in large portions of the game, but the outcome isn’t what we hoped for,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander.
The teams played a scoreless first period, with the Whale getting the better of the chances as they outshot their hosts by an 11-9 margin. Both goaltenders were sharp at the outset, with Sound Tigers goaltender Kevin Poulin (30 saves) making a key early stop on the Whale’s Kris Newbury, and Connecticut netminder Chad Johnson (18 saves) denying Bridgeport on several close-range opportunities.
The Sound Tigers got on the scoresheet first, as Rakhshani buried his own rebound at the 4:08 mark of the second period. Johnson had bailed the Whale out with a spectacular save just seconds before, but he could not stop Rakhshani’s second wide-open attempt.
The Whale power-play got the game back to even exactly six minutes later, as Brendan Bell’s shot from the point was tipped underneath Poulin by Deveaux. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault also assisted on the goal, which was Deveaux’s eighth of the season.
Blake Parlett gave Connecticut a 2-1 lead at 15:57 of the second, as the defenseman gathered Newbury’s rebound and shot it over the glove of Poulin as the Sound Tigers’ goaltender laid on the ice. The score was the third of the season for Parlett, while Deveaux picked up the secondary assist for his second point of the night.
The Whale took the lead into the third period, but Scott Howes tied the game for Bridgeport just 1:28 into the final frame. Rakhshani recorded his second point of the game with an assist, with Casey Cizikas getting the secondary helper. Howes shot snuck just barely beneath Johnson and in for the equalizer.
Bridgeport took the lead for good on the stick of Tomas Marcinko, who, after a failed Whale clearing attempt, put the puck past Johnson for his fourth of the season at 15:34.
“There were some mistakes and some lapses there and we paid the price,” said Gernander.
The Whale nearly tied the game with just a half-minute left in the period, but Poulin stopped a Deveaux backhand bid while down on the ice.
The Whale are in home action Tuesday night at the XL Center in Hartford, as they play host to the Albany Devils for the first time this season (7:00 PM).
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Connecticut Whale 2 at Bridgeport Sound Tigers 3
Monday, December 26, 2011 – Webster Bank Arena
Connecticut 0 2 0 – 2
Bridgeport 0 1 2 – 3
1st Period- No Scoring. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period-1, Bridgeport, Rakhshani 3 (Cizikas), 4:08. 2, Connecticut, Deveaux 8 (Bell, Audy-Marchessault), 10:08 (PP). 3, Connecticut, Parlett 3 (Newbury, Deveaux), 15:57. Penalties-Audy-Marchessault Ct (holding), 6:40; Howes Bri (holding), 9:05; Ness Bri (slashing), 11:53; Olson Bri (slashing, misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:57.
3rd Period-4, Bridgeport, Howes 7 (Rakhshani, Cizikas), 1:28. 5, Bridgeport, Marcinko 4 (Frischmon, Riley), 15:34. Penalties-Audy-Marchessault Ct (roughing), 4:22; McNeely Bri (roughing), 4:22; Romano Bri (slashing), 12:38.
Shots on Goal-Connecticut 11-9-12-32. Bridgeport 9-7-5-21.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 1 / 4; Bridgeport 0 / 1.
Goalies-Connecticut, Johnson 10-5-3 (21 shots-18 saves). Bridgeport, Poulin 7-9-0 (32 shots-30 saves).
Referees-Dan Dreger (51), Chris Cozzan (18).
Linesmen-Luke Galvin (2), Derek Wahl (46).
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