Providence, RI - The Connecticut Whale recovered from a 2-0 third-period deficit to defeat the Providence Bruins 3-2 in a shootout Sunday at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Carl Hagelin netted the shootout winner for the Whale, who won their second straight on the weekend after defeating the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Friday night in Hartford, and Brendan Bell and Jordan Owens scored in the third period. Jamie Tardif had a pair of power-play goals for Providence.
“It was a good perseverant, come-from-behind win in the third,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander. “The guys did a great job in the third and really gutted one out. “
Providence got on the scoreboard first at 3:18 of the opening period, as Tardif tipped Carter Camper’s shot from the point past Whale goaltender Cam Talbot (18 saves). Josh Hennessy also received an assist on the goal, which came on the Bruins’ first power-play opportunity of the afternoon.
For Tardif, the tally extended his goal-scoring streak to three straight games.
Tardif widened the Bruins’ lead to 2-0 with another early-period power-play goal, this time scoring at 1:27 of the second period. David Warsofsky’s shot deflected off of the stick of a Whale defender in the slot, and the puck landed right on the stick of Tardif, who had a mostly empty net when he scored his second of the game. Camper tallied his second assist of the night on the play.
After two periods, the Whale were outshooting their hosts by a 15-12 margin. Connecticut had gone zero-for-six on the power-play though, while the Bruins scored twice with the extra-man in four attempts.
Bell finally got the Whale on the board at 9:18 of the third period, with his second goal in as many games. Bell gathered a rebound from Providence goaltender Anton Khudobin (33 saves) in the left circle, and promptly fired a high shot past the netminder’s stick side to cut the Bruins’ lead to 2-1. Stu Bickel gathered the lone assist on the goal.
The Whale sustained offensive pressure through the rest of the third period, finally tying the game at 18:03 of the final frame when Jordan Owens buried a rebound past Khudobin. Owens’ third goal of the season was assisted by Bell and Andreas Thuresson.
“I think one shift fed off another, we were creating good pressure in their own end for long extended shifts and the guys got hungrier as the period went along,” said Gernander.
Neither team could find the scoreboard again through the rest of regulation and overtime, and so the Whale and Bruins headed into the shootout.
The shootout took extra rounds, as both goaltenders were on their game, each team scoring once through the first five rounds of the tie-breaker. The sixth-round found the game on the stick of Hagelin, who skated in on Khudobin and scored on a backhand, to give the Whale (9-4-1-2, 21 pts.) the win and propel them to first place in the Northeast Division.
The Whale will return to action on Wednesday, when they host the Portland Pirates at XL Center on the day before Thanksgiving (7:00). Five-thousand fans will receive rally towels that night, sponsored by Xfinity.
Connecticut Whale 3 (SO) at Providence Bruins 2
Sunday, November 20, 2011 - Dunkin' Donuts Center