By Brian Ring
Bridgeport, CT, February 12, 2012 – The Connecticut Whale were defeated on the road, 2-1 in overtime, Sunday afternoon by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. David Ullstrom recorded the overtime game-winner for Bridgeport, who sent the Whale to their first February defeat.
Jon Landry would assist on both of Bridgeport’s goals, with Kelsey Tessier supplying the lone goal for Connecticut.
“It was a back-and-forth game, a pretty close game,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander. “I thought there were opportunities to shoot pucks…of course, if you don’t take the shot, you’re in a situation where you’re stickhandling one versus one or one versus two or maybe trying to force a pass.”
The Whale would take the first lead of the game at the 12:24 mark of the opening period, as Wojtek Wolski set up Tessier for his eighth goal of the season. Wolski passed across the slot to Tessier, who banged the puck home on the doorstep of Bridgeport goaltender Kevin Poulin (27 saves). It was the fifth point in six games with the Whale for Wolski (3-2-5).
Justin DiBenedetto would tie the game for the Sound Tigers, as he capitalized on a good passing play with Landry and Sean Backman at 17:09. Landry and Backman managed to draw Whale goaltender Chad Johnson (40 saves) far enough to his right that DiBenedetto had an open shot from the right circle, for his 14th goal of the season.
The two in-state rivals would enter the third period still tied at one goal apiece, as neither club could break through in the second period. The Sound Tigers would outshoot the Whale, 15-9, in the second frame, but both goaltenders would stand tall in a period that saw each side receive one power-play chance.
Despite being heavily outshot in the third period, 18-6, the Whale kept the Sound Tigers off the board. The biggest moment came with 2:20 left in the period, as Bridgeport’s Scott Howes was awarded a penalty shot after Sam Klassen interfered with his breakaway. Johnson, however, was up to the task and turned away the bid, eventually forcing overtime.
The Sound Tigers would need just 37 seconds in overtime to beat the Whale, as Ullstrom’s wrist shot beat a screened Johnson for the game-winning tally. The goal stood up even against a lengthy review, breaking the Whale’s five-game winning streak.
Having completed a three-game weekend road trip, the Whale will return home to host the Springfield Falcons at the XL Center 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 www.ctwhale.com and through TicketMaster Charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000.
The Whale and the CT Hockey Hall of Fame will partner to hold a CT Hockey Hall of Fame night at the Whale’s home game at the XL Center Saturday, March 10 vs. the Norfolk Admirals. That night will mark the enshrinement of a new class of 2012 inductees into the CT Hockey Hall of Fame, which has adopted eight members from the storied Hartford Whalers Hall of Fame. The new inductees are: Connecticut-bred Hockey Hall of Famer Brian Leetch, ex-Hartford Whalers 56-goal scorer Blaine Stoughton, former Whalers goaltender Mike Liut, former Whalers captain Pat Verbeek, Connecticut Whale/Hartford Wolf Pack franchise icon, long-time captain and current head coach Ken Gernander, three-time Olympic medalist for Team USA and all-time NCAA women’s leading scorer Julie Chu, and one of the founders of the New England Whalers, William E. Barnes. There will be an induction ceremony before the game, which faces off at 7:00 PM on March 10, and the new inductees will also be recognized on the ice during the first intermission. Fans can take home a special souvenir of the March 10 night, as 5,000 Hall of Fame posters will be given away, courtesy of SuperCuts. There will also be a special meet-and-greet event on March 10, details of which will be announced soon. This will be the first class of inductees since 1990, and further details are available at cthockeyHOF.org.
College students can get discounted tickets to Whale weekday games with the Whale’s “Ditch the Dorms” deal. For Monday through Friday home games, students who show a valid student ID at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center can get $2 off Upper Level tickets and $5 off Lower Level seats.
Save on your tickets, and get the best seats, with a ticket plan for the Whale’s 2011-12 AHL campaign, which are on sale now. For information on season seats, mini plans and great group discounts, visit www.ctwhale.com, or call the CT Whale ticket office at (860) 728-3366 to talk with an account executive today.
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Connecticut Whale 1 at Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2 (OT)
Sunday, February 12, 2012 – Webster Bank Arena
Connecticut 1 0 0 0 – 1
Bridgeport 1 0 0 1 – 2
1st Period-1, Connecticut, Tessier 8 (Wolski), 12:24. 2, Bridgeport, DiBenedetto 14 (Landry, Backman), 17:09. Penalties-Owens Ct (fighting), 5:40; Frischmon Bri (fighting), 5:40; Gillies Bri (interference), 14:38.
2nd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Newbury Ct (delay of game), 3:29; Mouillierat Bri (hooking), 11:10.
3rd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Cizikas Bri (holding), 6:28; Erixon Ct (holding), 13:22.
OT Period-3, Bridgeport, Ullstrom 16 (Landry), 0:37. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Connecticut 12-10-6-0-28. Bridgeport 8-15-18-1-42.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 0 / 3; Bridgeport 0 / 2.
Goalies-Connecticut, Johnson 15-10-5 (42 shots-40 saves). Bridgeport, Poulin 14-13-1 (28 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Jon McIsaac (39).
Linesmen-Derek Wahl (46), Mike Baker (11).