Rosanne Rosannadanna was a character created by Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live back in the 1970’s. Rosanne used to do “Weekend Update” with Chevy Chase and would always end here reports with the phrase, “Well, if it’s not-one-thing-it’s-another. If it’s not (Fill in the blank) then it’s (something really silly).” That sentiment so perfectly summarizes the Connecticut Whale’s 5-3 loss to the Hershey Bears in front of 3,027 Friday night at the XL Center.
Kris Newbury was at his locker when a loose cinder block somewhere in the ceiling became loose and fell coming through the dropped ceiling and hitting his shin guards and the name plate, changing direction and not hitting the Whale’s top centerman.
“I was lucky I played. That brick almost hit me in the head,” Newbury said. “It came down and hit my shin pads, just above my head. I didn’t know what was going on. I thought someone threw something at me.” He said grinning.
The Whale had their chances with three power plays in the first period to Hershey’s one but just could not generate any offense from them and left the first period having only put four shots on Hershey starting netminder Dany Sabourin (6-4-1, 21 saves). The Bars put only eight on Chad Johnson (8-4-2, 22 saves).
It was ex-Whale Tomas Kundratek, who was traded earlier this season for Francois Bouchard, who broke the deadlock at 13:52 when his shot flew past a kneeling Blake Parlett and went high over Johnson’s blocker. Jacob Micflikier made the set-up pass and Ryan Potulny got the secondary helper on Kundratek’s second of the season.
Potulny doubled the lead with just 3:38 left in the second frame when his right circle one-timer blasted over Johnson’s catching glove. Chris Bourque, the older brother of the Whale’s Ryan Bourque and Keith Aucoin added helpers on the first of two on the night from the one-time Springfield Falcon.
But the Whale power play deserted them to start the third frame when they were given a golden opportunity to get themselves right back in it.
First Sabourin was called for tripping with just 27.1 left in the second. Then twenty-five ticks into the final frame, ex-Wolf-Pack Julien Brouillette added to the company in the sin bin when he was called for a hook giving the Whale a 1:09 two-man advantage that despite terrific chances for Brendan Bell and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault just seconds apart, they couldn’t capitalize on.
They go their sixth man advantage of the game moments later when defenseman Patrick McNeill flung the puck into the stands from his own end earning himself a two-minute visit to the isolation tank for a delay of game call. But again, the Whale offense was on vacation and could do nothing with that one either.
Then came the turning point of the game as Newbury was called for a Goaltender Interference call when his only crime was being in the area when Sabourin fell on the corner of the net at 8:38.
1:02 later, Chris Bourque stung the Whale beating Johnson from just outside the right circle off an Aucoin feed. McNeill got the secondary helper.
“Originally I thought I had a good chance to score,” Newbury said. “The puck just went over my stick, so naturally I’m trying to chase it down and going as hard as I can to get the puck back; we’re down a couple of goals. There’s three of us behind the net and I don’t think anyone made contact with him. I thought it was a weak call. Even the Ref (Mark Lemelin) kind of told me that I didn’t touch him, but he had to call it whatever that means. So it was frustrating but hey, it’s hockey and that’s how I gotta play. The main thing is I think the coaches and the team knows that I didn’t do anything wrong and that is was just a bad call.”
The Bears scored what would be the game winner 32 seconds later on a Matt Pope shot from the left circle this time as Johnson got beaten over the blocker side. Ex-Wolf-Pack Matt Ford and Christian Hanson got helpers on Pope’s third of the season.
The Whale woke up and just took over the game for the next 5:23 as they managed to put three in the net past Sabourin.
Kelsey Tessier knocked a rebound of a Tim Erixon shot from the right point into the net at 11:36. The secondary went to Wade Redden.
1:13 later it was Newbury who put a Mats Zuccarello shot/pass from the left corner right through Sabourin’s wickets for his eighth of the season. Andre Deveaux added the other assist on Newbury’s goal.
Zuccarello put the Whale’s final tally of the game in the scoresheet on the power play off a rebound of another Erixon shot. Deveaux got his second apple of the game.
Potulny added an empty net goal with .9 remaining off a 2-on-1 feed from Aucoin.
Head Coach Ken Gernander summed up the game this way, “We obviously put the No. 1 power play on the ice too much, and that’s costly,” the All-Time leader in head coaching win for the Wolf-Pack/Whale said. “I don’t think they ran us out of our building. I don’t think they dominated. We hit the post early and had some good chances. Of course, we had a mistake or two that led to goals, and they’ve got a good power play.
“But I don’t think it was a case of we didn’t show up and got ran out of our building. The shots were pretty close midway through the second period (14-10), so it wasn’t like we got ran over. We had our chances and stayed with it to the end.”
The Whale play their third straight home game at the XL Center as they start a home-and-home with the Providence Bruins. The P-Bruins are 2-6-0-2 in their last ten games and lost to the Whale last Friday night 4-1 at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
Listen to the post game interviews for comments from Kris Newbury and head coach Ken Gernander below.
The Hershey perspective comes from Tim Leone at PennLive.
(Standings provided by TheAHL.com)
SOUNDS OF THE GAME:
* While it was NOT said by anyone, you’ll notice that Kris Newbury was not wearing the “A” on his sweater. Likely that was a disciplinary response by Ken Gernander after the veteran center has taken various bad penalties that he’s taken of late especially in the previous game against Binghamton. Brendan Bell had it on his sweater.
* Mats Zuccarello left the game late after taking a hard hit into the boards and was not available to the media after the game. No word was given if he was truly injured or if it was just precautionary. Tonight will give a more clear answer on that.
* As you might imagine, Hall-of-Famer Ray Bourque was in the house watching his two sons battle it out for the second time in their combined careers. The score between them is now tied a game apiece…
Zuccarello – Newbury – Deveaux
Voros – Audy-Marchessault – Bouchard
Bourque – Tessier – Thuresson
Grant – Owens – Tanski
Erixon – Bickel
Redden – Bell
Valentenko – Parlett
(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)
Jared Nightingale – Healthy Scratch
Chris McKelvie – Healthy Scratch
Carl Hagelin – Recall, NY Rangers
John Mitchell – Recall, NY Rangers
1. HER – C. Bourque
2. HER – R. Potulny
3. CT – M. Zuccarello
ON ICE OFFICIALS:
Mark Lemelin (41)
Kevin Redding (16)
Paul Simeon (66)
The Whale start a home-and-home with the Providence Bruins that will be the first television broadcast of the game as well. Bob Crawford will be on television duty with Fox 61’s Rich Cippola adding color starting at 7pm.
On the radio and internet side, Mark Bailey returns with the play-by-play for the first time in five years with Garry Swain partnering up with him live from the XL Center starting with the pre-game show at 6:50pm on WCCC.com.
To watch the game live, you can purchased it for $6.99 at AHL-live.
For Ticket information for all home games, call (860) 548-2000.
Hershey Bears 5 at Connecticut Whale 3 – Status: Final
Friday, December 9, 2011 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Hershey 0 2 3 – 5
Connecticut 0 0 3 – 3
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Ford Her (hooking), 1:56; Newbury Ct (high-sticking), 5:31; Lacroix Her (high-sticking), 8:24; McNeill Her (closing hand on puck), 14:56.
2nd Period-1, Hershey, Kundratek 2 (Micflikier, Potulny), 13:02. 2, Hershey, Potulny 5 (Bourque, Aucoin), 16:22 (PP). Penalties-Erixon Ct (hooking), 4:16; Valentenko Ct (holding), 6:54; Parlett Ct (tripping), 14:56; Sabourin Her (tripping), 19:32.
3rd Period-3, Hershey, Bourque 12 (Aucoin, McNeill), 9:40 (PP). 4, Hershey, Pope 3 (Ford, Hanson), 10:12. 5, Connecticut, Tessier 2 (Erixon, Redden), 11:36. 6, Connecticut, Newbury 8 (Zuccarello, Deveaux), 12:49. 7, Connecticut, Zuccarello 8 (Erixon, Deveaux), 16:59 (PP). 8, Hershey, Potulny 6 (Aucoin, Kane), 19:59 (EN). Penalties-Brouillette Her (hooking), 0:25; McNeill Her (delay of game), 3:22; Newbury Ct (goaltender interference), 8:38; Wellar Her (roughing), 12:49; Deveaux Ct (roughing), 12:49; Hanson Her (high-sticking), 16:44; Bell Ct (hooking), 17:10.
Shots on Goal-Hershey 8-9-10-27. Connecticut 4-10-10-24.
Power Play Opportunities-Hershey 2 / 6; Connecticut 1 / 7.
Goalies-Hershey, Sabourin 6-4-1 (24 shots-21 saves). Connecticut, Johnson 8-4-2 (26 shots-22 saves).
Referees-Mark Lemelin (41).
Linesmen-Kevin Redding (16), Paul Simeon (66).