The RMS Titanic sunk about 400 miles south of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland after hitting an iceberg on April 15, 1912. Almost 100 years later, The Connecticut Whale sunk to the bottom of the XL Center Friday night after an Icecap stick hit and deflected a puck into the net in overtime for a 2-1 loss and sent the team to the murky depths of an eight game losing streak, (0-5-2-1).
Off a faceoff win in overtime veteran Brad Festerling tracked down the puck behind his own net and sent the puck up ice to Aaron Gagnon along the right wall. Aaron Gagnon brought the puck into the Whale defensive zone where he was met by defenseman Brendan Bell. Jason Jaffray and Tim Erixon raced up the slot as Gagnon managed to get a shot off just past Bell. Jaffray reached out his stick in front of Erixon and redirected it by the game’s First Star, Cam Talbot (9-10-0, 35 saves) for the win just sixteen seconds into extra time.
“We came back and battled back in the third and got a goal and got a point out of it and then a really unlucky bounce there. What else can I say, we’re just not getting the breaks right now,” Talbot said. “I thought it was a high stick from the initial shot. I didn’t go down. It was a shot that was going far blocker, shoulder high, and I’m a pretty tall guy (6’3). I thought (Jaffray’s) shot was a high stick, but I’ll have to look at the tape again, but the ref was right there. He had a good view point.”
“(Jaffray) made a good play to get his stick on it, whether or not it was a high stick or not, it was a good play.” Talbot, who’s lost his last four starts (0-2-2-0), admitted.
The Whale got the game to overtime on Erik Christensen, who played his first game in the XL Center on his two-week rehab stint from the New York Rangers and which ends Saturday night, scored his second goal in as many games when he redirected an Erixon shot from the left point 3:27 into OT. The puck hit defenseman Paul Postma, playing in his first game since being returned to the IceCaps from the parent Winnipeg Jets, went off the far post and past 21-year old netminder Edward Pasquale (8-5-0 26 saves). Pasquale was a late change replacing David Aebischer, who was slated to start the game. No reason was given for that change.
“I just tried to bat (Erixon’s point shot) down,” Christensen said. “I don’t know how much I deflected it. I just know that I touched it a little bit and it went off the post and in.”
It was Christensen’s hooking penalty at 15:48 of the first period that sent the IceCaps to their only regulation goal on the power play with just 17 seconds left on their man advantage.
Postma took a shot form the high slot that rebounded off Talbots’ left pad and bounced out to the right side where Riley Holzapfel, playing for Patrice Cormier who was recalled to Winnipeg on Friday, smacked it into the net.
“We got better as the game went on,” Head Coach Ken Gernander said. “It was a much needed point at this juncture…it’s a starting point.
“(We’ve) been a little bit off in different areas. We need a bigger, more concerted effort to get over the hump here; some desperation, but it’s not a situation where you’re going to panic or squeeze your stick or anything like that, but it’s more survival mode, more playoff mentality, what-have-you, where every shift is of the utmost importance.”
Kris Newbury played exceptionally well again for the Whale. It was his fight 1:30 into the third period with Arturs Kulda that woke the Whale up from their doldrums.
“We needed a bit more energy,” the Whale’s Assistant Captain said. “I took it upon myself to try and create that and we seemed to come out and got a goal and that was a good sign.”
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault had a terrific scoring chance right at the start the game after getting set up by Andre Deveaux, back in the lineup after serving a three game suspension. Later Francois Bouchard hit the post as did Audy-Marchessault and a wide-open Andreas Thuresson was neutralized by Pasquale in front.
But it was Newbury who’s scoring chance at 6:38 of the second period best summarized the Whale through this current rough stretch.
While on a power play for a Too Many Men on the Ice call against St. John’s, Audy-Marchessault was along the left sideboards and went to fling the puck around the back of the net. The puck went past Deveaux and Kulda hit the stanchion and deflected out in front. Pasquale was at the right side hugging the outside of the post when the puck came out to a WIDE open Newbury. The Whale centerman fired it on net, but Pasquale dove to his left and robbed Newbury with the glove on a play that would most certainly make an ESPN Top Ten Plays of the Week and would certainly be among the best saves a goaltender has ever made against the Wolf-Pack/Whale in their history.
“He made a desperation save, and it was a good one,” Newbury, who looked exasperated and completely stunned at the time, said. “Usually those go in the net, but he worked hard to get over, kind of just flopped and it went into his glove so give him credit because he never gave up on the play. But I’ve got to find a way to put it in.
“Cam kept us in the game the whole night, so give him credit for giving us a chance to win,” Newbury said. “That’s his job, and now we have to find a way to help him get the win as well.”
The IceCaps win completed a four-game sweep of the season series with the Whale.
Don Power has the story from the St. John’s perspective at the team’s website.
(If you want to watch it right side up, you can find it here).
SOUNDS OF THE GAME:
(Standings provided by TheAHL.com)
* Wade Redden is feeling better and said that he was going to try and take an easy skate on Saturday. He stated that he will be could return from this injury after he gets back in game shape after the All-Star break which is January 29-30th.
* Important stuff for Rangers fans in some of the things Erik Christensen says in his interview…
* Congratulations to all around good guy and former Hartford Wolf Pack left wing, Brodie Dupont who got his first point of the season Thursday night with an assist for the Milwaukee Admirals. Dupont has missed the first 32 games of the season after tearing his Achilles’ tendon just prior to the start of training camp after being traded by the New York Rangers to the Nashville Predators for Andreas Thuresson.
* Lots of former Wolf Pack players were packing their bags and moving about on Friday: former captain Dane Byers was shipped from Columbus to Springfield after serving a three-game suspension, Mark Bell went from from Syracuse to Anaheim, while Jed Ortmeyer once again went from Houston to Minnesota and Jason Williams took the trip from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to Pittsburgh.
* For the IceCaps this was the team’s first win in OT and increased their road record to 13-1-2-1.
Bouchard – Christensen – Thuresson
Audy-Marchessault – Newbury – Deveaux
Voros – Tessier – Bourque
Grant – Owens – Tanski
Erixon – Nightingale
Bell – Klassen
Valentenko – Parlett
(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)
Wade Redden – Lower Body – Three to Four Weeks
Mats Zuccarello – Lower Body Injury – Day-to-Day
Sean Avery – Healthy Scratch
Chris McKelvie – Healthy Scratch
1. STJ – J. Jaffray
2. STJ – E. Pasquale
3. CT – C. Talbot
ON ICE OFFICIALS:
Jarrod Ragusin (54)
Chris Brown (86)
Luke Galvin (2)
Brent Colby (7)
Eight in a row without a win is clearly on the minds of everyone involved. Coming into the XL Center are the Norfolk Admirals. You would think after losing twice in their arena that the Whale would be good and motivated to give a strong showing. Bob Crawford goes on the air with the pre-game show at 6:50. The game can be heard 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.
St. John’s IceCaps 2 (OT) at CT Whale 1 – Status: Final OT
Friday, January 20, 2012 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
St. John’s 1 0 0 1 – 2
Connecticut 0 0 1 0 – 1
1st Period-1, St. John’s, Holzapfel 8 (Postma, Machacek), 17:31 (PP). Penalties-Klassen Ct (cross-checking), 1:49; Klassen Ct (boarding), 9:39; Christensen Ct (hooking), 15:48; Machacek Stj (hooking), 19:13.
2nd Period– No Scoring.Penalties-served by Gregoire Stj (bench minor – too many men), 5:52; Postma Stj (tripping), 7:59; Voros Ct (roughing), 12:31; Nightingale Ct (roughing), 17:28.
3rd Period-2, Connecticut, Christensen 2 (Erixon, Grant), 3:27. Penalties-Kulda Stj (fighting), 1:30; Newbury Ct (fighting), 1:30; Thuresson Ct (cross-checking), 7:02.
OT Period-3, St. John’s, Jaffray 12 (Gagnon, Festerling), 0:16. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-St. John’s 14-11-11-1-37. Connecticut 9-9-9-0-27.
Power Play Opportunities-St. John’s 1 / 6; Connecticut 0 / 3.
Goalies-St. John’s, Pasquale 8-5-0 (27 shots-26 saves). Connecticut, Talbot 9-10-0 (37 shots-35 saves).
Referees-Jarrod Ragusin (54), Chris Brown (86).
Linesmen-Luke Galvin (2), Brent Colby (7).