Portland, ME - The Connecticut Whale were defeated, 3-2, by the Portland Pirates Friday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center. The Pirates would score twice in the third period to rally from a 2-1 deficit, culminating with Ryan Duncan’s game-winning tally at 10:45 of the final frame.
Patrick O’Sullivan scored once and added an assist for Portland, with Andy Miele recording two assists. Wade Redden and Casey Wellman scored for the Whale.
“Coverage mistakes and lack of urgency on the backcheck cost us two goals,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander. “We turned down some shot opportunities, we’re better offensively when we’re straightforward, getting pucks to the net.”
The Whale were 0-for-6 on the power-play.
Neither team scored in the opening period, although the Whale carried the majority of the play with two power-play opportunities and outshot the Pirates, 9-6. Each team had quality chances towards the end of the frame, with Whale goaltender Chad Johnson (23 saves), and his counterpart, Justin Pogge (26 saves), each making outstanding saves to keep the contest scoreless headed into the second.
O’Sullivan opened the scoring for the Pirates at 4:40 of the second period, beating Johnson with a wrist shot through the five-hole on a breakaway. Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Mark Louis both assisted on the goal, O’Sullivan’s tenth of the season.
The Whale tied the game 12:19 into the period, as Redden came out of the box and beat Pogge with a slap shot after serving two minutes for a delay of game penalty. The goal was the first of the season for the veteran defenseman.
Wellman would give the Whale a 2-1 lead just 25 seconds later, stuffing a loose puck past Pogge for his 18th tally of the season. Jared Nightingale and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault each collected assists on the play, which allowed the visitors to take a lead into the third period.
The Whale caught one big break in the period, as O’Sullivan appeared to have notched his second goal of the night while on the power-play. It was deemed, however, that a Pirates player was in the crease in front of Johnson and the goal was washed out.
The third period, though, would not be so kind to the Whale.
Nathan Oystrick would beat Johnson to tie it at the 6:29 mark of the third period, tipping in an O’Sullivan shot from the left point, as the Whale were unable to clear the puck from their own end for a large stretch of time. Miele also assisted on the score.
The Pirates would complete their come-from-behind effort when they took a 3-2 lead 10:45 into the period, as Duncan scored the game-winner after making a nice backhand move on Johnson for his 13th goal. Mathieu Beaudoin made the pass to set up the goal, and Miele notched his second assist of the night on the play with the secondary helper.
The Whale will be back in action this Sunday, when they face the Manchester Monarchs in afternoon action (3:00). Connecticut will return home on Friday, when they play host to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a GEICO Connecticut Cup game.
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 during the game, which faces off at 7:00 PM on March 10, and 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. 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.
Connecticut Whale 2 at Portland Pirates 3
Friday, March 2, 2012 - Cumberland County Civic Center
Connecticut 0 2 0 - 2
Portland 0 1 2 - 3
1st Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Bolduc Por (slashing), 4:49; Nightingale Ct (cross-checking), 8:04; Ross Por (delay of game), 11:17.
2nd Period-1, Portland, O'Sullivan 10 (Pouliot, Louis), 4:40. 2, Connecticut, Redden 1 (Erixon), 12:19. 3, Connecticut, Wellman 18 (Nightingale, Audy-Marchessault), 12:44. Penalties-Szwarz Por (high-sticking), 5:36; Redden Ct (delay of game), 10:07; Redden Ct (hooking), 15:35; Bourque Ct (diving), 16:19; Pouliot Por (tripping), 16:19; served by Duncan Por (bench minor - too many men), 18:41.