The Whale (18-13-2-5, 43 pts.) celebrated the turn of the year by winning three out of four divisional games this past week, to move into sole possession of second place in the Atlantic Division. The Whale scored overtime wins in both ends of a home-and-home series with Portland, 2-1 in Hartford on Wednesday and 5-4 on the road Friday, with former Pirate Tim Kennedy scoring the winner in both games for his first career AHL overtime scores and the first-ever OT winners by the same player in consecutive games in franchise history. The Whale then laid a 6-2 thumping on the Providence Bruins at the XL Center on Saturday for their eighth straight home win, before seeing that streak come to an end in a 3-0 loss Sunday to division-leading Manchester. Besides Kennedy’s two overtime tallies, the biggest offensive contribution came from defenseman Wade Redden, who had seven assists in the three games he played before having to miss Sunday’s game due to an injury.
The Whale start a stretch of four straight road games with a trip to Worcester on Wednesday for a 7:00 PM game against the Sharks. Then it’s off to Norfolk, VA for a pair of games vs. the Norfolk Admirals, Friday at 7:30 and Saturday at 7:15.
Wednesday, January 5 at Worcester (DCU Center), 7:00 PM
· The fourth-place Worcester Sharks enter the week three points behind the Whale in the Atlantic Division standings, with a record of 17-12-2-4 for 40 points. The Sharks defeated Portland, 3-2, in their last game Sunday at home, but had lost four out of five prior to that.
· The Whale have won their last two battles with the Sharks, 4-3 in a shootout December 4 and 3-2 in overtime December 17, both at home, after a regulation loss and a shootout loss in the first two meetings of the season. The shootout defeat, a 2-1 verdict December 1, came in the Whale’s only previous visit of the year to Worcester.
· Shark goaltender Alex Stalock (15-13-2, 2.69, 90.8) leads all AHL backstops in wins and minutes-played (1,737).
Friday, January 7 at Norfolk (Norfolk Scope), 7:30 PM
· This is the second meeting of the year between the Whale and Admirals, who took the first meeting of the season by a 5-1 score October 20 in Hartford.
· Norfolk is winless in its last five games (0-3-1-1), but still stands nine games above the .500 mark at 18-9-6-2 for 44 points. That ties the Admirals for second place in the East Division with Charlotte, one point ahead of Hershey and eight points behind first-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
· Former Edmonton Oiler first-round pick Marc-Antoine Pouliot, a veteran of 179 career NHL games, is the Admirals’ leading scorer with 9-19-28 in 26 games.
Saturday, January 8 at Norfolk (Norfolk Scope), 7:15 PM
· The Whale were 1-0-1-0 in two visits last year to Norfolk, where the franchise is 6(W)-5(L)-2(T)-1(OTL) in 14 games all-time.
· The Admirals have won only five of their 13 home games thus far, but have at least a point in 11 of them (5-2-4-2).
Lee Baldwin – reassigned by the New York Rangers from the Whale to Greenville (ECHL) December 29.
Dale Weise – recalled from the Whale by the New York Rangers December 29.
Todd White – loaned to the Whale by the New York Rangers December 29.
Individual game tickets for the February 19, 2011 outdoor AHL game between the Whale and the Providence Bruins are on sale now at www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets for the AHL game, which begins at 7:00 PM at Rentschler Field, also include the Hartford Whalers legends vs. Boston Bruins legends game at 4:00 PM that day. The two games comprise the February 19 “Harvest-Properties.com Whale Bowl”, the featured event of the two-week outdoor Whalers Hockey Fest spectacular that will feature numerous collegiate, high school, prep school and youth hockey games. Additional teams and events are still being added to the schedule, which can be found at www.ctwhale.com. Ticket prices range from $20 to $85 and tickets can be purchased on-line via Ticketmaster or by calling the Connecticut Whale at 860-728-3366. Tickets purchased on-line can be printed immediately (via Ticketmaster).
The Whale’s next home game is Saturday, January 15 vs. the arch-rival Providence Bruins at 7:00 PM. 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
The merchandise stands at the XL Center are carrying a full selection of Whale items, including hats, t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, pucks, mini-sticks and even plush toy whales. Whale merchandise is also available at the Whale Pro Shop, which is located at 45 Pratt St. in downtown Hartford and is open 10 AM to 4 PM Monday through Saturday, and two hours before every home game. Fans preferring to shop on the web can check out the Whale selection on-line at www.ctwhaleshop.com.
Once again this season, the Whale are partnering with WTIC Radio to air Whale hockey action. All of the 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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