By Brian Ring
Springfield, MA, November 26, 2011 - The Connecticut Whale rallied from two goals down to defeat the Springfield Falcons, 3-2, at the MassMutual Center Saturday night.
Andreas Thuresson had two goals, including the late game-winning score, to help make the Whale a perfect 3-0 against the Falcons this season.
“It was a pretty gutty win, I think,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander. “They’ve been doing that a lot, persevering in the third period. It’s a big win on the road for them.”
Connecticut native Cam Atkinson had put the Falcons on the board first, turning in the slot and firing a wrist shot past Whale goaltender Chad Johnson (26 saves) 4:11 into the first period. Alexandre Giroux and Nick Drazenovic assisted on the goal, the only scoring of the period, during which the Falcons outshot the Whale 9-4.
Springfield increased their lead to 2-0 at 9:46 of the second, as Drazenovic scored off a deflection from a Whale defender. Johnson had made several stops on in-close opportunities, but Drazenovic finally got it up and over the Whale netminder. Atkinson received his second point of the night with an assist, with Tomas Kubalik gathering the other helper.
Pavel Valentenko scored for the Whale to cut the deficit to one with his first goal of the season, his slap shot beating Springfield goaltender Dan Taylor (16 saves) at the 14:23 mark of the second period. Mats Zuccarello and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault tallied the assists on the goal. Audy-Marchessault extended a point streak to three games with the assist.
The Whale tied it on Thuresson’s bad angle shot at 14:09 of the third period. Thuresson was below the right circle when he fired a wrist shot past Taylor, evening the game at two apiece. Audy-Marchessault recorded his second assist of the contest on Thuresson’s first goal of the game.
Thuresson would strike again with the game-winning tally, his second of the night, with just 21.6 seconds remaining in the third period. Stu Bickel’s shot from the right point was deflected in front by Ryan Bourque, and after Taylor made the save, Thuresson put the rebound in.
“Bickel got a good shot towards the net, Bourque tipped it, I just went hard to the net and the puck was loose and I tried to swing it in,” said Thuresson.
The Whale will return home on Tuesday night, when Connecticut hosts the Hershey Bears (7:00). The team will be on the road again next Friday and Saturday, meeting the Bruins in Providence on Dec. 2 (7:05) and then the Falcons again on Dec. 3 (7:00).
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Connecticut Whale 3 at Springfield Falcons 2
Saturday, November 26, 2011 - MassMutual Center
Connecticut 0 1 2 - 3
Springfield 1 1 0 - 2
1st Period-1, Springfield, Atkinson 9 (Drazenovic, Giroux), 4:11. Penalties-Tanski Ct (checking to the head), 7:11; Lebda Spr (holding the stick), 17:46.
2nd Period-2, Springfield, Drazenovic 5 (Atkinson, Kubalik), 9:46 (PP). 3, Connecticut, Valentenko 1 (Zuccarello, Audy-Marchessault), 14:23. Penalties-Goloubef Spr (tripping), 0:30; Audy-Marchessault Ct (interference), 5:47; Johnson Ct (delay of game), 8:21; Lebda Spr (high-sticking), 15:46; Owens Ct (holding), 19:19.
3rd Period-4, Connecticut, Thuresson 4 (Audy-Marchessault), 5:09. 5, Connecticut, Thuresson 5 (Bourque, Bickel), 19:38. Penalties-Calvert Spr (interference), 9:35; Voros Ct (holding the stick), 10:31.
Shots on Goal-Connecticut 4-8-7-19. Springfield 9-13-6-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 0 / 4; Springfield 1 / 5.
Goalies-Connecticut, Johnson 5-3-2 (28 shots-26 saves). Springfield, Taylor 5-3-0 (19 shots-16 saves).
Referees-Chris Cozzan (18).
Linesmen-Chris Low (88), Robert St. Lawrence (10).
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