Bridgeport, CT - The Connecticut Whale let a 2-0 third-period lead slip away Sunday at the Webster Bank Arena, but rebounded to defeat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 3-2 in overtime.
Logan Pyett’s goal at 2:17 of overtime gave the Whale the win. Pyett converted off of a two-on-one with Brandon Segal, after Christian Thomas broke up a Bridgeport rush in the defensive zone.
“Tommer (Thomas) and Seegs (Segal) both did a good job covering me,” Pyett said of the winning play. “I got caught in the offensive zone, and Tommer made a great play reversing the flow, and Seegs picked it up. I was happy to go in two-on-one with him, he made a good decision making the pass, and luckily I was able to finish.”
The win improved the Whale’s record to 27-23-5-2 for 61 points and allowed Connecticut to maintain the eighth-and-final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Micheal Haley and Chris Kreider also scored Whale goals in Sunday’s win, and Segal had two assists. Brock Nelson and Scott Campbell scored in the third period for the Sound Tigers to earn Bridgeport a standings point.
Cam Talbot got his 21st win of the season in the Whale goal with 31 saves, and Kenny Reiter stopped 24 shots for Bridgeport.
The Whale had a strong first period, keyed by Brandon Mashinter bloodying Bridgeport defenseman Nathan McIver in a fight at 5:34.
Connecticut would outshoot the Sound Tigers 10-5 in the opening frame, and Haley, an ex-Sound Tiger, scored the only goal of the period at 15:06.
After Haley won a faceoff from Nelson, Mike Vernace’s shot from the left point hit traffic in the slot. The puck went off of Sound Tiger defenseman Jordan Hill’s skate right to Haley, whose shot from the left hash mark went perfectly through the legs of Reiter.
Like the first period, most of the second session was scoreless, and also like the first, the Whale got a late goal for the only offense of the period.
The Whale power play clicked at 18:16 of the second, with Adam Huxley in the penalty box for hooking. Kris Newbury fed the puck off the right-wing boards to Segal in the slot, Segal deflected it on goal, and Kreider buried the rebound after Reiter made a left-pad save.
Bridgeport would control most of the third period, however, outshooting the Whale 14-8, and would cut the Whale lead in half at 1:43, seven seconds after a Sound Tiger power play expired.
Talbot stopped Dallas Jackson’s shot from the left point, but Nelson was able to bang the rebound in from close range for his 16th goal of the season.
The Whale nursed the one-goal lead into the final five minutes of regulation, but could not close out the win. Campbell tied it at 15:42 on a shot from just inside the top of the circles, after receiving a pass from below the goal line from Brandon DeFazio.
The Sound Tigers had good early pressure in the overtime, but were victimized by the transition play that resulted from Thomas hustling back on defense and turning the puck quickly. Segal carried down the right side before passing across to the right-handed-shooting Pyett, who blasted a hard shot past Reiter’s stick side for the win.
The Whale’s next action is on home ice, this Tuesday, March 5 against the Portland Pirates at 7:00 PM. For all Whale home games, tickets start as low as $10 each ($12 each when tickets are purchased on the day of the game), at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, through TicketMaster Charge-by-Phone at 1-800-745-3000 and on-line at www.ticketmaster.com.
Connecticut Whale 3 (OT) at Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2
Sunday, March 3, 2013 - Webster Bank Arena