Glens Falls, NY, October 28, 2011 – The Connecticut Whale defeated the Adirondack Phantoms, 4-2, Friday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center. The win was the fourth straight for the Whale, who moved into first place in the Northeast Division with their triumph over the Phantoms.
The Whale took the first lead of the game while shorthanded, after Carl Hagelin was flagged for slashing at 12:45 of the first period. Kelsey Tessier and Jordan Owens broke into the Phantoms’ zone on a two-on-one, with Tessier sliding the puck to Owens, who had a wide open net against Adirondack goaltender Michael Leighton (27 saves). Brendan Bell earned the secondary assist on the goal, his second point in three games with the Whale.
The Phantoms tied the game up just 28 seconds later on the Hagelin power-play, when Eric Wellwood wired a shot past Connecticut goaltender Cam Talbot (27 saves). Tom Sestito registered an assist on the goal in his first game against the Whale this season, as did Leighton.
Connecticut had caught a break earlier in the period, when an apparent Phantoms goal was waved off. Talbot had attempted to cover a loose puck with his blocker, but appeared to push it over the goal line accidently. It was deemed, however, that the official had already blown the whistle.
John Mitchell gave the Whale a 2-1 lead just 46 seconds into the second period, firing a laser of a shot past Leighton. Mitchell entered the offensive end on a three-on-one with Hagelin and Jared Nightingale, but opted to take the shot. Mats Zuccarello assisted on the goal in his first game after sustaining an injury in last Saturday’s game in Springfield.
Owens extended the Connecticut lead to 3-1 at 16:26 of the second period, when he blistered a shot past Leighton from the Phantoms’ blue line for his second goal of the night and the eventual game-winner. Scott Tanski and Pavel Valentenko assisted on the goal. For Tanski it was his first pro point and for Valentenko, his first point of the season after missing the first two weeks to injury.
The Phantoms closed the Whale lead to 3-2 on a goal from Harry Zolnierczyk scored with just 1:49 remaining in the third with the Whale’s Mitchell in the box. Denis Hamel and Jason Akeson assisted on the score, but Adirondack could not muster the equalizer.
Sean Avery marked his Whale season debut with an empty-net goal with just 32 seconds left in the third period to seal a 4-2 Connecticut victory. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Bell assisted on the goal.
The first-place Whale will return to action Saturday night, when they head to Worcester to take on the Sharks at the DCU Center (7:05, “The Rock” 106.9 WCCC-FM). Connecticut will meet the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a special school-day start time on Wednesday (11:00 AM) at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard before finally returning home on Fri., Nov. 4, when the Whale will host the brand-new St. John’s IceCaps (7:00).