WHALE WEEKLY: December 12-18, 2011

Bob Crawford

BY: Bob Crawford, Voice of the Connecticut Whale

The Whale (15-8-1-2, 33 pts.) went 1-2-0-0 in three games this past week, but remained in first place in the Atlantic Division by a margin of three points over second-place Adirondack.  The week began with a 5-3 home loss to the Hershey Bears on Friday night, as Hershey’s Chris Bourque evened the rivalry between him and his younger brother, the Whale’s Ryan Bourque, at one win apiece.  The Whale then split a home-and-home set with arch-rival Providence, blanking the Bruins 3-0 at the XL Center on Saturday and then falling by a 3-2 score Sunday in Providence.  Kelsey Tessier scored three times during the weekend, including his first two-goal game of the year Sunday, and defenseman Tim Erixon had assists in all three outings (0-4-4).

This week:

The Whale continue a stretch in which they play six out of seven games at home, with a pair of XL Center tilts this weekend.  The Bridgeport Sound Tigers come to town for the fifth game of the GEICO Connecticut Cup series Friday (7:00 PM faceoff), and then it’s a second straight Saturday-night matchup with the Providence Bruins (7:00).

Friday, December 16 vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the XL Center, 7:00 PM

· The GEICO Connecticut Cup series reaches its halfway point with this contest, the third visit of the season by Head Coach Brent Thompson’s Sound Tigers to the XL Center.  The Whale have won only one of the previous four games between the two teams, but have at least a point in three of the four, with a mark of 1-1-1-1.  Connecticut is 1-0-0-1 in two home games against Bridgeport.

· The Sound Tigers have lost their last three games in regulation, and have hit a 1-4-1-1 rut since a 6-2 home win over the Whale the night after Thanksgiving.  Bridgeport’s overall record is 11-11-3-1 for 26 points, good for fourth place in the Northeast Division.

· Bridgeport’s top three scorers in the season series against the Whale, forwards Tim Wallace (5-0-5) and David Ullstrom (4-1-5) and defenseman Dylan Reese (0-5-5), are all currently on recall to the parent New York Islanders.

· 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 www.ctwhale.com.

Saturday, December 17 vs. Providence Bruins at the XL Center, 7:00 PM

· This is the second consecutive Saturday night on which the Whale have hosted the Bruins.  Connecticut triumphed this past Saturday, 3-0, in Providence’s first of four visits on the year to the XL Center.  The Bruins’ 3-2 triumph Sunday at home was their first win in four tries in this year’s season series.

· With the win over the Whale Sunday, the P-Bruins have now taken two of their last three games, after going winless in the previous eight (0-6-0-2).

· Providence currently stands fifth in the Atlantic Division, with a season record of 10-15-1-2 for 23 points.

· Bruin goaltender Anton Khudobin broke a personal 0-5-2 drought with 29 saves against the Whale Sunday.  Khudobin (8-11-2, 3.02 GAA, 91.1% save percentage, one shutout) leads the AHL in saves (632) and ranks second in minutes-played (1233).

· 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 www.ctwhale.com.

Whale Tales:

To celebrate the Holiday season, the Whale are offering a “Holiday Hat Trick” package.  A package of four Upper Level tickets, four Whale winter hats and four Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards is only $80, with upgrades available.  Purchase your Holiday Hat Trick package through the Whale ticket office at (860) 728-3366.

Fans who purchase Whale season tickets, or a mini-plan, before December 31 will be entered to win a round-trip excursion via limousine to a New York Rangers regular-season home game at Madison Square Garden.  Current season seat-holders and mini-plan-holders are also automatically entered.

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 www.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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