Connecticut Whale 3, Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2
By Brian Ring
Hartford, CT, March 16, 2012 – The Connecticut Whale defeated the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 3-2, Friday night at the XL Center, moving into sole possession of first place in the AHL’s Northeast Division.
Kris Newbury had the game-winning goal and an assist, and Casey Wellman had his second straight three point game with a goal and two assists, to back a 38-save performance by goaltender Chad Johnson.
“I thought Johnson had a great game,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander. “There were stretches in the second, late in the third, where he made numerous saves.
“I thought that was really the catalyst as far as getting us going.”
Justin DiBenedetto got the Sound Tigers on the board first, scoring his 18th goal of the season 7:20 into the first period. DiBenedetto deflected Jon Landry’s shot from the left point perfectly past the blocker of Johnson, just seconds after the Whale finished killing off an Andreas Thuresson minor penalty.
The Whale would outshoot the Sound Tigers, 10-9, in the first period, but Bridgeport goaltender Kevin Poulin (31 saves) was strong, stopping several key chances.
Wellman would tie the game for Connecticut with 3:07 left to play in the second period, burying a Jonathan Audy-Marchessault rebound past a sprawling Poulin for his 21st goal of the season. Newbury also assisted on the score.
Johnson kept the Whale alive in a second period that saw the home team outshot, 18-10, and at one point, 15-5.
Tim Erixon would put the Whale ahead, 2-1, while on a five-on-three power-play 3:30 into the third frame. Erixon’s shot snuck through traffic in front, clipping the glove of Poulin on the way into the net for Erixon’s third goal of the season. Audy-Marchessault and Wellman would both register their second points of the game with assists on the score.
The lead would be increased to 3-1 on Newbury’s 22nd goal of the season with 2:27 remaining, as he beat Poulin with a wrist shot from the right face-off circle, providing the Whale with the eventual game-winning tally. Newbury’s goal was assisted by Wellman, notching his third point of the game.
The Sound Tigers would score with Poulin pulled for the extra attacker with 1:08 left in the final period, when Trevor Frischmon forced a rebound past Johnson. Bridgeport, however, would not be able to pull even in the frantic final moments, as the Whale went on to win, 3-2.
The Whale will be back in action Saturday night at the XL Center for another divisional tilt, against their I-91 rivals, the Springfield Falcons (7:00 PM).
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.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2 at Connecticut Whale 3
Friday, March 16, 2012 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Bridgeport 1 0 1 – 2
Connecticut 0 1 2 – 3
1st Period-1, Bridgeport, DiBenedetto 18 (Landry), 7:20. Penalties-Wishart Bri (tripping), 3:45; Thuresson Ct (interference), 5:04.
2nd Period-2, Connecticut, Wellman 21 (Audy-Marchessault, Newbury), 16:53. Penalties-Grant Ct (hooking), 3:25; Gillies Bri (fighting), 15:08; Nightingale Ct (fighting), 15:08; Erixon Ct (tripping), 18:09.
3rd Period-3, Connecticut, Erixon 3 (Audy-Marchessault, Wellman), 3:30 (PP). 4, Connecticut, Newbury 22 (Wellman), 17:33. 5, Bridgeport, Frischmon 9 (Haley, McNeely), 18:52. Penalties-Landry Bri (holding), 1:32; Marcinko Bri (slashing), 3:01; Tanski Ct (hooking), 14:58.
Shots on Goal-Bridgeport 9-18-13-40. Connecticut 10-10-14-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Bridgeport 0 / 4; Connecticut 1 / 3.
Goalies-Bridgeport, Poulin 17-16-3 (34 shots-31 saves). Connecticut, Johnson 21-13-5 (40 shots-38 saves).
Referees-Marcus Vinnerborg (45).
Linesmen-Brent Colby (7), Jim Briggs (83).