BY: Bob Crawford, Voice of the CTWhale
The Whale won two out of three games this past week, starting with a thrilling 2-1 shootout win over the Worcester Sharks Tuesday at the XL Center. The Whale would see a third-period lead slip away Friday, as they lost, 3-2, in Portland, but Connecticut would recover with a rousing 3-2 road victory over the Manchester Monarchs on Sunday afternoon. Wade Redden would score his first goal of the year in Friday’s contest, and Saturday he was named the sixth captain in franchise history. Kris Newbury would crack the 20-goal barrier with his score on Sunday, reaching that mark for the second time in his AHL career.
The Whale face a tough three-games-in-three-days run against teams in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt, beginning with a GEICO Connecticut Cup contest vs. the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Friday night at the XL Center (7:00 PM faceoff). The conference-leading Norfolk Admirals come to town on Saturday on Connecticut Hockey Hall of Fame night (7:00), before the Whale finishes out the weekend with another road tilt with the Manchester Monarchs on Sunday (3:00).
“Whale TV” Programming Note
The scheduled “Whale TV” telecast on WCCT-TV of the Whale home game this Saturday, March 10 has been postponed. The three remaining Whale TV live telecasts will all be rescheduled, with an updated telecast schedule to be announced soon.
Friday, March 9 vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the XL Center, 7:00 PM
· The Whale host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in GEICO Connecticut Cup action Friday, in a pivotal Northeast Division matchup with playoff implications.
· As at every remaining Friday-night Whale home game in the regular season, fans can take advantage of a special meal combo deal at this game. A hot dog and a 12-ounce soda is only $5.
· The Sound Tigers have taken five of the first seven meetings with the Whale this season, including the last two head-to-head tilts. Both Whale wins over the Sound Tigers have come at the XL Center.
· Bridgeport edged the Whale, 2-1 in overtime, in their last meeting on February 12 in Bridgeport. David Ullstrom had the overtime winner in that game, one of his five goals against the Whale this season.
· The Sound Tigers’ top four scorers against the Whale are all currently off of Bridgeport’s active roster, as is netminder Anders Nilsson, who was recalled by the parent New York Islanders on Tuesday.
· Jonathan Audy-Marchessault leads the Whale in scoring vs. Bridgeport with nine points (5-4-9).
· The Sound Tigers (31-19-3-3, 68 pts.) currently own the division tiebreaker over the Whale, with two more wins than Connecticut, with two games in hand.
· Bridgeport will pay Worcester a visit on Tuesday, looking to make it two straight wins.
Saturday, March 10 vs. Norfolk Admirals at the XL Center, 7:00 PM
· This is “Connecticut Hockey Hall of Fame Night” at the XL Center. The night marks 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, and fans can take home a special souvenir, 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.
· In warm-ups, each CT Whale player will wear a commemorative jersey celebrating the career of one of the inductees. For example, one player will wear a Blaine Stoughton New England Whalers jersey, one will wear a Stoughton Hartford Whalers jersey, one player will wear a Stoughton New Haven Nighthawks jersey, etc. All jerseys are authentic, hand-crafted and of the highest quality. Some of the jerseys will be auctioned in the arena on Saturday, and some will be auctioned on-line.
· The Whale and the Admirals meet for the fourth and final time of the season on Saturday, as Connecticut looks to win for the first time this season against the league-leaders. The Whale lost in a shootout to the Admirals in their only previous meeting at the XL Center this season, 5-4, on January 21.
· The Admirals have surged to the top of the AHL standings over the past month by winning twelve games in a row, easily overtaking the St. John’s IceCaps for first place in the Eastern Conference and the Oklahoma City Barons for first in the AHL.
· Rookie Cory Conacher leads all league freshmen in goals and points (31-35-66 in 59 GP) this season, and rates second overall in the AHL in goals and third in points. Conacher also leads the Admirals in scoring against the Whale with four points in three games (2-2-4).
· Kelsey Tessier had picked up three points for the Whale in action against the Admirals (1-2-3).
· The Admirals will look to keep their streak rolling when they visit the Adirondack Phantoms on Friday night.
· Radio – CT Whale “Rockin’ Hockey”, live with Bob Crawford, Garry Swain and Mark Bailey, on “The Rock” 106.9 WCCC-FM, and on-line at CTWhale.com.
Sunday, March 11 at Manchester Monarchs (Verizon Wireless Arena), 3:00 PM
· The Whale head to Manchester for a second straight Sunday to take on the Monarchs, in their fourth head-to-head tilt of the campaign. Connecticut has defeated the Monarchs three times this season, winning 3-2 in Manchester on this past Sunday in their last meeting.
· Mats Zuccarello leads the Whale with four points against the Monarchs this season (2-2-4), but it was Kelsey Tessier who notched the game-winner in the latest meeting between the clubs with a third-period tally.
· Justin Azevedo scored twice for the Monarchs in Sunday’s loss, but Manchester has been outscored, 12-3, by the Whale in the season series.
· Whale goaltending has fared well against Manchester, as Cam Talbot blanked the Monarchs in a 5-0 win October 21 in Hartford, and Chad Johnson has allowed three goals in two games for a 1.50 goals against average and a .950 save percentage.
· The Monarchs had snapped a seven-game losing streak (0-6-0-1) last Sunday with a 4-3 defeat of division-rival Providence, but they have now lost seven of eight to slip to the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
· Radio – CT Whale “Rockin’ Hockey”, live with Bob Crawford, on “The Rock”, 106.9 WCCC-FM, and on-line at CTWhale.com.
“Whale TV”, presented by Webster Bank:
· The following special “Whale TV” selections are available this week to Comcast Xfinity on Demand customers throughout New England, in the “Get Local” folder of Comcast’s On Demand Service:
o Wade Redden Interview (Whale Special Events folder) – Bob Crawford, the voice of the Whale, banters with Wade Redden about his return from injury and the growth of the Whale defense corps.
o Whale vs. Worcester Game (Game of the Week folder) – an edited re-broadcast of the Whale’s Tuesday-morning clash with the Worcester Sharks at the XL Center.
· Every week, CPTV Sports will air an edited re-broadcast of a Whale game, on “Whale TV Replay”. CPTV Sports is available on Comcast cable channels 185, 187 and 744 and on the Cox Communications cable system channel 144.
o This Tuesday night at 7:00 PM, Whale TV Replay will feature a re-broadcast of this past Tuesday’s XL Center school-day clash between the Whale and the Worcester Sharks.
Whale season seat-holders who reserve their full-season 2012-13 Whale tickets by April 13 will receive access for four people to the luxurious CT Whale Director’s Suite at the XL Center, for one Whale 2012-13 home game. This allows the opportunity to watch the game alongside Whale executive personnel and special guests, and to enjoy all of the high-end amenities of the Director’s Suite. Additionally, all Whale full-season 2012-13 subscribers who purchase by April 13 will receive a custom-made, high-quality season ticket-holder jersey fleece. The jersey fleece will be exclusive to Whale full-season ticket-holders, and will feature a “Season Ticket Holder 2012-13” patch that designates it as a unique item. For more information on purchasing Whale season tickets, call (860) 728-3366, visit the Season Ticket Holder table behind Section 101 at a Whale home game or log on to CTWhale.com.
The CT Whale store, located at 45 Pratt St. in downtown Hartford, will be holding a clearance sale this Saturday, March 10. All CT Whale, Hartford Whaler and Hartford, CT merchandise will be discounted 30-50%. St. Patrick’s Day merchandise is available as well. The store also has a limited supply of AHL 2011-12 Top Prospects trading card sets, which are available for only $15 each. The set contains 50 cards, with at least one player from each AHL team, and features CT Whale cards of Tim Erixon and Carl Hagelin. The store will be open from 9:00 AM-7:00 PM on Saturday.
The AHL, Labatt’s Blue and the CT Whale have come together to present the Labatt’s Blue Bubble Hockey Tournament. Join the CT Whale this Friday night, March 9, after the Whale’s home game vs. Bridgeport, at the Federal Café, 84 Union Place in downtown Hartford, from 10:00 PM to midnight. Registration is free, and winners have a chance to play at the XL Center on March 16th in the team finals, for a chance to win a trip to Hershey for the event finals, and their very own Super Chexx Bubble Hockey game.
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 CTWhale.com, or call the CT Whale ticket office at (860) 728-3366 to talk with an account executive today.
The AHL’s Connecticut Whale is operated by Whalers Sports and Entertainment, a Hartford-based sports marketing and event firm founded by Howard Baldwin and Howard Baldwin, Jr.. The team is the top player-development affiliate of the NHL’s New York Rangers.
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