WHALE WEEKLY: December 28, 2011 – January 2, 2012

Bob CrawfordBY: Bob Crawford, Voice of the Connecticut Whale

The Whale finished their pre and post-Christmas slate with two wins in three games, all against division rivals. Connecticut defeated the Adirondack Phantoms, 3-2, on Wednesday at the XL Center, but fell by the same score to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on the road on Monday night. The Whale rebounded Tuesday night with a big home win against the Albany Devils, also by a 3-2 score, putting them seven points ahead of Albany for first place in the Northeast Division. Andre Deveaux scored four times over the last three games and added an assist for five points, while Kris Newbury scored once and added five helpers over that span.

This week:

The Whale hit the road to take on the Worcester Sharks on Friday night (7:30 faceoff), before preparing for a New Year’s Eve clash with the Springfield Falcons Saturday night at the XL Center (5:00). Connecticut will wrap up a run of five games in eight days when they head to Portland to take on the Pirates Monday afternoon in Maine (1:00).

Friday, December 30 at Worcester Sharks (DCU Center), 7:30 PM

· The Whale head to Worcester Friday to meet the Sharks for the second of six games between the two clubs this season.

· Connecticut topped the Sharks in a shootout in their first meeting, 3-2, on Oct. 29, also in Worcester. Andreas Thuresson and Andre Deveaux both scored in regulation, and Sean Avery netted the winner in the tiebreaker.

· The Sharks snapped a two-game skid by defeating the Portland Pirates in overtime in their last action, 3-2, in Portland.

· Worcester currently sits third in the Atlantic Division with 34 points, six points behind division leader Manchester. John McCarthy leads the club in scoring with 21 points on the season (7-14-21).

· Radio – CT Whale “Rockin’ Hockey”, live with Bob Crawford, on “The Rock”, 106.9 WCCC-FM, and on-line at www.ctwhale.com.

Saturday, December 31 vs. Springfield Falcons (XL Center), 5:00 PM

· This game features a special Holiday start time of 5:00 PM, and the Whale will be celebrating the coming of the New Year with a special ticket discount, as all upper-level seats for Saturday’s game will be available for only $5 each at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center.

· The Hartford Parking Authority will be offering free parking Saturday night at the Morgan Street Garage, 155 Morgan Street, and $2 parking at both the Church Street Garage, 200 Church Street, and the MAT Garage, 55 S. Chapel St..

· Fans showing a First Night wristband or button at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center can take advantage of a 50% discount on lower-level end-zone seats for this game.  Also, there will be a First Night table in the XL Center atrium on Saturday, with First Night buttons available for purchase.

· I-91 rivals Connecticut and Springfield meet for the fifth time this season on Saturday, and the Whale have topped the Falcons in all four of their previous head-to-head tilts this season.

· The Whale rallied in their last meeting, using five power-play goals to defeat the Falcons, 6-3, back on Dec. 3 in Springfield.

· Jonathan Audy-Marchessault has recorded nine points in four games vs. Springfield (3-6-9), five more than any other player involved in the season series.

· The Falcons have won two straight, defeating both Albany and Worcester on the road. Martin St. Pierre is leading the team in scoring with 29 points (6-23-29 in 27 GP).

· This is the last game for the Whale’s “Holiday Hat Trick” deal.  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.

· Radio – CT Whale “Rockin’ Hockey”, live with Bob Crawford and Mark Bailey, on “The Rock”, 106.9 WCCC-FM, and on-line at www.ctwhale.com.

Monday, January 2 at Portland Pirates (Cumberland County Civic Center), 1:00 PM

· The Whale face the Pirates for just the second time this season Monday afternoon, as they head to Maine for the first time this campaign.

· Connecticut defeated the Pirates in their first meeting of the season at XL Center, downing Portland by a 3-2 score in overtime November 23. Brendan Bell recorded the overtime winner for the Whale.

· Portland has lost two straight games, and four of their last five overall, although they have recorded a point in three of the four defeats (1-2-1-1).

· The Pirates have three games lined up before the Whale come to town, as they host Providence Dec. 28, head to Adirondack to meet the Phantoms on Dec. 30, and then return home to play Worcester on New Year’s Eve.

· Radio – CT Whale “Rockin’ Hockey”, live with Bob Crawford, on “The Rock”, 106.9 WCCC-FM, and on-line at www.ctwhale.com.

“Whale TV”:

· The following three special “Whale TV” selections will be available this week to Comcast Xfinity on Demand customers throughout New England, in the “Get Local” folder of Comcast’s On Demand Service:

o Howe Family Night (Whale Special Events folder) – the Whale celebrates the contributions that “Hockey’s First Family”, Gordie, Mark, Marty and Colleen Howe, have made to the game, both in Hartford and elsewhere, throughout the years, by “re-retiring” Gordie Howe’s iconic Number 9 banner and raising a new one honoring the Howe family.

o Cigna Hockey in the Streets (Whale Special Events folder) – the Whale kicks off the “Cigna Hockey in the Streets” program at the Wilson-Gray YMCA Youth and Family Center in Hartford.  Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra participated in the event, during which a number of local youngsters played floor hockey alongside Whale players and Head Coach Ken Gernander.

o Game Highlights (Game of the Week folder) – the featured game is a hotly-contested battle between the Whale and their then-closest pursuers in the Northeast Division, the Adirondack Phantoms, played December 21 at the XL Center.

· Every Tuesday night, CPTV Sports will air an edited re-broadcast of a Whale game from the previous week, on “Whale TV Replay”.

o This Tuesday night, January 3 at 7:00 PM, Whale TV Replay will feature a re-broadcast of the game this Saturday night, December 31 vs. the Springfield Falcons.

· The second of five live Whale TV broadcasts on WCCT-TV, Connecticut’s CW affiliate, presented by Webster Bank, is coming up Saturday, January 28, when the Whale host the Springfield Falcons at 7:00 PM.

Recent Transactions:

Stu Bickel – recalled by the New York Rangers from the Whale December 18.

Tim Erixon – recalled by the New York Rangers from the Whale December 19.

Lee Baldwin – reassigned by the New York Rangers to the Whale from Greenville (ECHL) December 19.

Sam Klassen – reassigned by the New York Rangers to the Whale from Greenville (ECHL) December 20.

Whale Tales:

The Whale will host a top-level professional women’s hockey game prior to their home game Saturday, January 21 at the XL Center vs. the Norfolk Admirals.  The women’s game will be a Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) regular-season battle between the Boston Blades and Team Alberta.  That contest will face off at 3:00 PM on January 21, before the Whale and Admirals lock horns at 7:00.  Tickets for the Whale game will also be good for admission to the CWHL tilt.

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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