Toronto, Ontario, February 9, 2011 – The Connecticut Whale tied a franchise record for goals-against Wednesday, in a 9-2 loss to the Toronto Marlies in a school-day special, 11:00 AM-start game at the RICOH Coliseum.

CT WhaleThe Marlies, who were led by Christian Hanson’s five points (goal, four assists), built a 5-0 first-period lead and cruised from there.  In addition to Hanson’s big game, Alex Foster had a four-point day with two goals and two assists, Danny Richmond had four assists and was +5, Marcel Mueller, Simon Gysbers and Ryan Hamilton each chipped in a goal and an assist, and Mike Brennan had two assists and was +5.

Dale Weise and Tim Kennedy scored for the Whale, who dropped to 24-22-2-5 (55 pts.) on the season and remained one point behind the third-place Worcester Sharks in the Atlantic Division.

The first-period barrage began at 4:08, when Nazem Kadri scored on the rebound of a shot by Hamilton.  Hamilton broke around Pavel Valentenko on right wing and had his shot stopped by Dov Grumet-Morris with the left pad, but Kadri was unguarded going for the rebound and was easily able to slide it home.

The Marlies scored on a two-on-one at 10:22 to make it 2-0.  Foster sped down right wing and drew Jared Nightingale, the only Whale defender back, to him and slipped the puck across the slot to Mueller, who had an empty net.

That started a run of four Marlie goals in a span of 6:04, and Hamilton would make it a 3-0 game just 31 seconds after Mueller’s goal, at 10:53.  After Grumet-Morris made several strong saves, Gysbers found Hamilton all alone between the hash marks and Hamilton was able to bury the puck past Grumet-Morris.

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The Whale relieved Grumet-Morris with Chad Johnson after that goal, and Toronto would get two more on Johnson before the period was over.

Jeff Cowan scored on a rebound at 14:43 to make it 4-0.  Johnson stopped Mike Zigomanis’ shot from the left-wing side, but the carom went right to Cowan for the finish.  Then at 16:26, Gysbers scored a power-play goal from the right point, as his slap shot hit Wade Redden’s stick and deflected past Johnson’s glove.

The Marlies also made a goaltending change going into the second period, as starter Jonas Gustavsson, who is on a conditioning assignment to the Marlies from the parent Toronto Maple Leafs, and faced only four shots in the first, gave way to Jussi Rynnas.

The Toronto onslaught continued only 1:19 into the second frame, when Foster scored the first of his two goals in the period.  After a shot by Mueller went wide, Foster banged the rebound in from the left-wing boards, off of Johnson’s right arm.

Weise finally got the Whale on the scoreboard exactly three minutes later at 4:19, scoring a power-play goal that ended a Marlie streak of 30 consecutive successful penalty kills.  Weise took a feed from Jyri Niemi and slid toward the left side of the slot, before shooting back against the grain and getting it past Rynnas’ catching glove.

Toronto replied only 40 seconds later though, on a second Foster goal at 4:59.  That was off of another two-on-one, as Foster worked a give-and-go with Hanson, who set Foster up for an easy finish.

With the score 7-1 in favor of the Marlies, that brought Grumet-Morris back into the game, after four goals-against on 11 shots on Johnson.  That calmed things down until there were only 10.8 seconds remaining in the period, when Hanson scored on a tricky play for his fifth point of the game.  Richmond flipped the puck up in the air toward the Connecticut blue line and Hanson gloved it out of mid-air, knocking it past Redden, and picked it up again and blasted a high drive past Grumet-Morris.

Down 8-1 entering the third, the Whale split a pair of late goals with the Marlies in the final session.

Kennedy cut the Toronto lead to 8-2 at 17:35, as he exchanged the puck with Evgeny Grachev in neutral ice and moved down the left side of the slot before firing a shot past Rynnas’ stick glove.  Josh Engel then made the final margin 9-2 with 31 seconds left, tipping in a drive by Richmond from the left point.

Gustavsson got the win in net, despite playing only the first period, improving to 2-0-0 in AHL action, and Rynnas, who posted a 33-save shutout the first time the two teams met, a 4-0 Toronto win in Hartford November 9, stopped 20 of the 22 shots that he faced.  In the Whale goal, Grumet-Morris took the loss, with five goals-against on 30 shots in 45:27 of work.

Wednesday’s game marked the third time in franchise history the team has allowed as many as nine goals in a game.  The last was a 9-2 Hartford Wolf Pack loss in Hershey December 6 of last season.  The defeat also tied a franchise mark for largest margin of defeat, the fifth seven-goal loss in team history.

The Whale continue a stretch in which they play seven out of eight games, and 10 out of 12, on the road Friday night at Hamilton (7:00 PM faceoff, WTIC HD-2,,

Connecticut Whale 2 at Toronto Marlies 9
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 – Ricoh Coliseum

Connecticut 0 1 1 – 2
Toronto 5 3 1 – 9

1st Period-1, Toronto, Kadri 10 (Hamilton, Brennan), 4:08. 2, Toronto, Mueller 9 (Foster, Hanson), 10:22. 3, Toronto, Hamilton 4 (Gysbers, Hanson), 10:53. 4, Toronto, Cowan 6 (Zigomanis, Brunnstrom), 14:43. 5, Toronto, Gysbers 6 (Richmond, Foster), 16:26 (PP). Penalties-Nightingale Ct (hooking), 5:29; Bickel Ct (fighting), 7:58; Scott Tor (fighting), 7:58; Lashoff Tor (interference), 12:26; DiDiomete Ct (fighting), 14:30; Brennan Tor (fighting), 14:30; Williams Ct (tripping), 15:47.

2nd Period-6, Toronto, Foster 6 (Mueller, Hanson), 1:19. 7, Connecticut, Weise 11 (Niemi, Dupont), 4:19 (PP). 8, Toronto, Foster 7 (Richmond, Hanson), 4:59. 9, Toronto, Hanson 12 (Richmond, Brennan), 19:49. Penalties-Caruana Tor (tripping), 2:40; Nightingale Ct (fighting), 5:46; Hamilton Tor (fighting), 5:46; Williams Ct (holding the stick), 6:27; Cowan Tor (goaltender interference), 8:47; Brennan Tor (high-sticking), 15:55.

3rd Period-10, Connecticut, Kennedy 11 (Nightingale, Grachev), 17:35. 11, Toronto, Engel 10 (Richmond, Caruana), 19:29. Penalties-DiDiomete Ct (boarding), 3:18; Nightingale Ct (cross-checking), 6:43; Newbury Ct (slashing), 7:32; Richmond Tor (hooking), 10:21; Lashoff Tor (high-sticking), 11:27.

Shots on Goal-Connecticut 4-14-8-26. Toronto 16-9-16-41.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 1 / 6; Toronto 1 / 6.
Goalies-Connecticut, Grumet-Morris 1-2-0 (30 shots-25 saves); Johnson 15-18-3 (11 shots-7 saves). Toronto, Gustavsson 2-0-0 (4 shots-4 saves); Rynnas 9-13-3 (22 shots-20 saves).
Referees-Darcy Burchell (50), David Banfield (44).
Linesmen-Matt Traub (88), Jesse Wilmot (19).