(We were unable to attend or watch yesterday’s battle between the Whale and Hershey due to a prior commitment to do our standup comedy at a fundraiser. – It went very well in case you’re interested. We will watch the replay and repost something later.)
Hershey, PA, February 4, 2012 – The Connecticut Whale defeated the Hershey Bears, 4-1, Saturday night at the Giant Center to win their second straight game. Tommy Grant scored twice for the Whale and goaltender Chad Johnson made 39 saves in the victory.
The win, coupled with Bridgeport’s loss to Manchester, moved the Whale back into a share of first place in the Northeast Division with 51 points.
“Johnson had a good game in net, we got a power-play goal, we got some secondary scoring with Tommy Grant getting two, there were a lot of things in our favor tonight,” said Whale head coach Gernander.
The two teams played exactly 16 minutes of scoreless hockey before Grant gave the Whale a 1-0 lead in the opening period. Grant carried the puck down the left wing boards, snapping a shot that squeaked under the left arm of Bears’ goaltender Dany Sabourin (17 saves). Grant’s goal, his fourth of the season, was assisted by Scott Tanski and Jared Nightingale.
Hershey, however, would tie the game right back up just 1:19 later, as former Whale Tomas Kundratek’s shot from the point was tipped past Chad Johnson by Cody Eakin. Boyd Kane also registered an assist on the score, the eighth of the year for Eakin.
The Whale would retake the lead on the power-play 12:10 into the second period, as Kris Newbury shot a puck up and over Sabourin for his team-leading 17th goal, the eventual game-winner. Newbury was fed by Mats Zuccarello on the back-hand below the right faceoff circle, leaving the Whale veteran with an open chance. Tim Erixon also assisted on the play.
Andre Deveaux would extend the Whale advantage to 3-1 just 1:22 later, as he converted a nifty three-way passing play between himself, Casey Wellman and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault. Audy-Marchessault’s pass found a wide-open Deveaux as the trio crossed into the Hershey zone, with Deveaux promptly depositing the puck into the top right corner of the cage. It was the first Whale point for Wellman, who was making his Whale debut after being acquired from the Minnesota Wild on Friday.
Grant would strike again to provide the game’s final tally, his second of the night, with 6:10 remaining in the third period. Kelsey Tessier won a draw to the right of Sabourin straight to Grant, who shot and scored for the first multi-goal game of his professional career and a 4-1 Whale lead.
“We got contributions from everyone and it was a good team win,” said Gernander.
The Whale will now return home on Tuesday, when they host the Syracuse Crunch in their only visit to the XL Center this season (7:00 PM).
Connecticut Whale 4 at Hershey Bears 1
Saturday, February 4, 2012 – Giant Center
Connecticut 1 2 1 – 4
Hershey 1 0 0 – 1
1st Period-1, Connecticut, Grant 4 (Tanski, Nightingale), 16:00. 2, Hershey, Eakin 8 (Kundratek, Kane), 17:19. Penalties-Rechlicz Her (boarding), 3:03.
2nd Period-3, Connecticut, Newbury 17 (Zuccarello, Erixon), 12:10 (PP). 4, Connecticut, Deveaux 13 (Wellman, Audy-Marchessault), 13:32. Penalties-Miskovic Her (interference), 11:17; Parlett Ct (tripping), 15:49; Woywitka Ct (slashing), 19:18; Tessier Ct (roughing), 19:53; Bourque Her (roughing), 19:53.
3rd Period-5, Connecticut, Grant 5 (Tessier), 13:50. Penalties-Klassen Ct (hooking), 2:28; Bourque Ct (tripping), 8:58; Mitchell Her (elbowing), 11:20; Mink Her (tripping), 14:10; Bell Ct (interference), 17:14.
Shots on Goal-Connecticut 10-7-4-21. Hershey 13-14-13-40.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 1 / 4; Hershey 0 / 5.
Goalies-Connecticut, Johnson 12-9-5 (40 shots-39 saves). Hershey, Sabourin 10-7-2 (21 shots-17 saves).
Referees-Chris Ciamaga (24).
Linesmen-Jud Ritter (34), Bob Goodman (90).