After a 4-3 shootout loss in Bridgeport Friday in the last game as the Hartford Wolf Pack, the franchise won its first two games as the re-branded Connecticut Whale, both at home. A crowd of 13,089, the second-largest in team history, saw the Whale (8-11-2-3, 21 pts.) turn the tables on the Sound Tigers Saturday with a 3-2 shootout win, and then the Whale scored three third-period goals Sunday to whitewash the Adirondack Phantoms, 3-0. Those were the first back-to-back home wins for the team all season, and the Whale is now 3-1-0-1 in the last five at home, after winning just one of its first eight home games (1-5-2-0). Overall the club now has at least a point in five of its last six games (4-1-0-1), after going 1-9-2-1 in the previous 13. Cam Talbot made 25 saves in Sunday’s win to post his second shutout of the season, and both of his wins on the year, and in his pro career, have come via shutout. Chad Kolarik (2-1-3), Mats Zuccarello (1-2-3) and Kris Newbury (1-2-3) led the way offensively on the week, with three points apiece.
The team plays its first road games as the Whale this Wednesday, December 1 at Worcester (7:00 PM faceoff) and Friday, December 3 at Providence (7:05), before returning to the XL Center this Saturday night, December 4 for a return engagement with Worcester. That game faces off at 7:00.
Wednesday, December 1 at Worcester (DCU Center), 7:00 PM
· This is the second of eight meetings on the year between the Whale and Sharks, and Connecticut’s first trip of the season to Worcester. The Sharks won the first clash between the two clubs, 4-3, October 10 at the XL Center, in the Whale’s second game of the season. The Wolf Pack won three of their four trips to Worcester last season, and were 12-4-0-1 all-time at the DCU Center.
· The Sharks currently sit in third place in the Atlantic Division, with a record of 10-7-1-3 for 24 points, three points in front of the Whale. Coach Roy Sommer’s Sharks have lost their last two games, both at home, 4-2 to Charlotte on Saturday and 5-2 vs. Manchester Sunday.
· Former NHL 50-goal man Jonathan Cheechoo leads Worcester in points, with 7-13-20 in 21 games. He had a goal and two assists in the Sharks’ 4-3 win in Hartford October 10.
Friday, December 3 at Providence (Dunkin’ Donuts Center Providence), 7:05 PM
· The Bruins are 7-3-1-0 in 11 games since a 2-5-1-1 start, and at 9-8-2-1 for 21 points, are tied with the Whale in the Atlantic Division standings. Coach Rob Murray’s club is 7-1-1-0 on the road, but only 2-7-1-1 in 11 home games.
· The Whale were triumphant in the only previous meeting this year between themselves and the Bruins, winning 3-0 in Providence October 17 despite being outshot 41-18. Cam Talbot rang up a shutout in his first pro start in that game, the first goaltender ever in franchise history to do so.
· Last year the Wolf Pack were 6-3-1-0 in ten battles with Providence, 3-2-0-0 on the road.
· The P-Bruins’ leading point and goal-scorer, Jamie Arniel (9-7-16 in 19 GP), was returned to Providence Monday by the parent Boston Bruins after a one-game callup, his first career NHL action.
Saturday, December 4 vs. Worcester at the XL Center, 7:00 PM
· The Sharks have been a better road club this year than at home, sporting a 5-3-0-2 road mark and a 5-4-1-1 home slate. Worcester is 2-0-0-1 in its last three road games, and has won each of its last three visits to Hartford.
Stu Bickel – loaned to the Whale by the New York Rangers, after having been acquired in a trade from Anaheim, November 23.
Nigel Williams – Recalled from the Whale by the New York Rangers, and traded to Anaheim, November 23.
Oren Eizenman – recalled by the Whale from loan to Elmira (ECHL) November 25, after being acquired November 24 in a trade from Syracuse in exchange for future considerations.
Individual tickets for Whale home games are on sale now at the XL Center ticket office and all Ticketmaster locations. Tickets may also be charged by phone at 1-800-745-3000 or online at www.CTwhale.com. Tickets start at $7 each at the XL Center ticket office on game day.
For information on Whale ticket packages, group sales and VIP packages, call (860) 728-3366
Once again this season, the Wolf Pack/Whale are partnering with WTIC Radio to air Wolf Pack/Whale hockey action. All of the Wolf Pack/Whale’s regular-season and playoff games will air on 96.5 WTIC-FM’s HD 2 channel and will be streamed on-line at www.wtic.com. Select games will be carried live on the 50,000-watt AM powerhouse, WTIC NewsTalk 1080.
The AHL’s Connecticut Whale is operated by Whalers Sports and Entertainment, a Hartford-based sports marketing and event firm founded by Howard Baldwin. The team is the top player-development affiliate of the NHL’s New York Rangers.
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