Connecticut Whale 5, Portland Pirates 4 (SO)
By Brian Ring
Hartford, CT, March 18, 2012 – The Connecticut Whale defeated the Portland Pirates, 5-4 in a shootout, Sunday afternoon at the XL Center in a wild affair. Connecticut twice rallied from behind to defeat the Pirates, with Tommy Grant picking up a pro career-high four points for the Whale (2-2-4).
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault also scored twice for the Whale, while Ethan Werek tallied twice for the visiting Pirates.
Combined with Bridgeport’s defeat against the Worcester Sharks, the Whale moved four points ahead of the Sound Tigers in the Northeast Division standings.
“I give the guys full credit,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander. “Three games in three days on a Sunday, but they stuck with it to get the goal with two minutes remaining.”
Andy Miele put the Pirates ahead 1-0 at the 5:40 mark of the first period, capitalizing on hard work in the corner. Mathieu Beaudoin got the puck to Miele, who was knocked down but gathered the puck and shot it over Whale goaltender Cam Talbot (36 saves) for his 13th goal of the season.
The Whale would tie the game just 58 seconds into the second period, when Grant finished off a quality pass from Kelsey Tessier. Tessier found Grant on the doorstep of the Portland cage, and Grant wristed a shot past Portland goaltender Peter Mannino (38 saves).
Audy-Marchessault would put the Whale up, 2-1, under a minute later, as he converted a Grant drop pass at 1:56. His wrist shot snuck through Mannino for Audy-Marchessault’s 21st goal of the season.
Grant would strike again with his second goal, and third point, of the period with 5:01 left to play in the second. Tessier won an offensive zone draw straight to Grant, who fired a shot past Mannino for the 3-1 advantage.
The Pirates would then close to within 3-2, as former Rangers prospect Ethan Werek scored off a rebound from Alexandre Bolduc 5:13 into the third period. Ryan Duncan also assisted on the goal, the sixth of the season for Werek.
Ashton Rome would tie the game for Portland on the power-play at 7:30, with his slapshot from the point eluding the glove of Talbot for the equalizer. Tyler Eckford and Nick Ross both assisted on the goal, Rome’s eighth.
Werek would score again to give the Pirates a 4-3 lead at the 14:06 mark, as he finished off his own rebound after Talbot made several good saves on close-range opportunities. The puck was not cleared, however, and Werek flipped it up and over the pads of Talbot for his second goal of the day.
Audy-Marchessault would send the game to overtime with his second goal of the game with 2:05 remaining, with Grant picking up his fourth point of the night with an assist.
Neither team would mount much attack in overtime, as the game yet again went to the shootout for Connecticut. Brendan Bell and Casey Wellman would both score in the tie-breaker, which, combined with a perfect performance from Talbot on four shots, sent the Whale to a 5-4 win, their second in three games on the weekend.
The same two teams renew acquaintances at the XL Center Friday, in the next action for both clubs (7:00 PM faceoff).
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.
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.
Portland Pirates 4 at Connecticut Whale 5 (SO)
Sunday, March 18, 2012 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Portland 1 0 3 0 – 4
Connecticut 0 3 1 0 – 5
1st Period-1, Portland, Miele 13 (Beaudoin, Ross), 5:40. Penalties-Hextall Por (tripping), 14:39; Brodeur Por (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:50; Audy-Marchessault Ct (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:50.
2nd Period-2, Connecticut, Grant 9 (Tessier), 0:58. 3, Connecticut, Audy-Marchessault 21 (Grant), 1:56. 4, Connecticut, Grant 10 (Tessier), 14:59. Penalties-Eckford Por (holding the stick), 2:56; Hextall Por (unsportsmanlike conduct), 4:24; Redden Ct (unsportsmanlike conduct), 4:24; Valentenko Ct (hooking), 5:43; Miele Por (delay of game), 10:09; Vernace Ct (high-sticking), 17:20.
3rd Period-5, Portland, Werek 6 (Bolduc, Duncan), 5:13. 6, Portland, Rome 8 (Eckford, Ross), 7:40 (PP). 7, Portland, Werek 7 (Duncan), 14:06. 8, Connecticut, Audy-Marchessault 22 (Grant, Bell), 17:55. Penalties-Deveaux Ct (tripping), 6:27; Werek Por (slashing), 9:24.
OT Period- No Scoring. Penalties-No Penalties
Shootout – Portland 0 (Miele NG, Beaudoin NG, Sterling NG, Rundblad NG), Connecticut 2 (Bell G, Wellman G, Newbury NG, Audy-Marchessault NG).
Shots on Goal-Portland 12-10-12-6-0-40. Connecticut 15-16-9-1-1-42.
Power Play Opportunities-Portland 1 / 3; Connecticut 0 / 4.
Goalies-Portland, Mannino 6-7-1 (41 shots-37 saves). Connecticut, Talbot 12-12-0 (40 shots-36 saves).
Referees-Jarrod Ragusin (54).
Linesmen-Brent Colby (7), Mike Baker (11).