WHALE WEEKLY: February 27 – March 4, 2012

Bob Crawford

BY: Bob Crawford, Voice of the CT Whale

The Whale split two games this past week, easily handling the Portland Pirates, 5-1, at the XL Center on  Friday, before dropping a 2-0 decision to their I-91 rivals, the Springfield Falcons, on Saturday. Connecticut’s blanking on Saturday was the first against the Whale since Oct. 9 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Five different Whale players scored in Friday’s victory over the Pirates, with ten different players receiving a point in the contest. Tommy Grant had a goal and an assist and Kelsey Tessier had two helpers on Friday, while Chad Johnson stopped 52 of 55 shots in goal on the weekend.

This week:

The Whale host the Worcester Sharks Tuesday morning at the XL Center (11:00 AM) in their only home action of the week. Friday, the Whale will head to Portland to face the Pirates (7:00 PM) before wrapping up the weekend with another road tilt against the Manchester Monarchs on Sunday (3:00 PM).

Tuesday, February 28 vs. Worcester Sharks at the XL Center, 11:00 AM

· The Whale meet the Sharks in a special school day contest, their fourth and final head-to-head meeting of the season. Connecticut has taken two of the first three games between the conference rivals (2-1-0-0).

· Tickets can be purchased on the day of the game for only $10 each Tuesday at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center.

· Andreas Thuresson has scored three times against the Sharks this season, with Kris Newbury (1-2-3) and Brendan Bell (0-3-3) each tallying three points versus Worcester. Sharks leading scorer Matt Irwin (8-23-31 in 48 GP) is tied for the team lead with two points against the Whale (1-1-2).

· The Whale defeated the Sharks in their last meeting, 3-1, back on Feb. 18 at the XL Center. Kris Newbury had the game-winning goal in that game, and Cam Talbot made 34 saves for the win.

· Tyson Sexsmith currently owns the fourth-best goals-against average in the league at 2.23, while boasting a .921 save percentage.

· The Sharks (24-20-4-5, 57 pts.) currently sit in fourth place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division.

· Worcester has lost three straight games and five of their last six games overall (1-5-0-0).

· Radio – CT Whale “Rockin’ Hockey”, live with Bob Crawford, Garry Swain and Mark Bailey, on “Beethoven Radio”, 1290 WCCC-AM, and on-line at CTWhale.com.

Friday, March 2 at Portland Pirates (Cumberland Country Civic Center), 7:00 PM

· The Whale and the Pirates meet for the fifth time this season on Friday, with the teams having split the first four games, each winning twice on their home ice.

· Connecticut won the last tilt, 5-1, at the XL Center last Friday, with five different players tallying for the Whale.

· Brendan Bell and Kelsey Tessier have both scored twice and added two assists in action against Portland this season. Brock Trotter (2-3-5) and Andy Miele (0-5-5) have both recorded five points versus the Whale, with Trotter tallying his points in just a pair of games.

· Miele is tied for ninth in the AHL in rookie scoring with 39 points for the Pirates (10-29-39).

· The Pirates have dropped four of their last five games (1-4-0-0), Portland is coming off of a 6-2 loss to the Springfield Falcons on Sunday.

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

Sunday, March 4 at Manchester Monarchs (Verizon Wireless Arena), 3:00 PM

· The Whale take on the Monarchs Sunday in their third head-to-head tilt.  Connecticut has defeated the Monarchs both times this season, winning 5-0 in Hartford on October 21 and 4-1 in Manchester February 11.

· In that 4-1 Whale win February 11 at the Verizon Wireless Arena, Casey Wellman had a goal and an assist, as did Jonathan Audy-Marchessault. Mats Zuccarello has gathered two goals and two assists against Manchester to lead the Whale. Robert Czarnik has scored the only Manchester goal against the Whale this season.

· The Monarchs hold the second spot in the Atlantic Division with a 29-27-0-3 record and 61 points, 12 behind the division-leading St. John’s IceCaps.

· Rookie Linden Vey leads the Monarchs in scoring with 36 points (17-19-36), 14th among freshman point-getters.

· The Monarchs snapped a seven-game losing streak (0-6-0-1) on Sunday with a 4-3 defeat of division-rival Providence.

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

“Whale TV”, presented by Webster Bank:

· The following 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 Wade Redden Interview (Whale Special Events folder) – Bob Crawford, the voice of the Whale, banters with Wade Redden about his return from injury and the growth of the Whale defense corps.

o Whale vs. Worcester Game (Game of the Week folder) – an edited re-broadcast of the Whale’s Tuesday-morning clash with the Worcester Sharks at the XL Center.

· Every week, CPTV Sports will air an edited re-broadcast of a Whale game, on “Whale TV Replay”.  CPTV Sports is available on Comcast cable channels 185, 187 and 744 and on the Cox Communications cable system channel 144.

o This Tuesday night at 7:00 PM, Whale TV Replay will feature a re-broadcast of this past Friday’s XL Center battle between the Whale and the Portland Pirates.

· The third of five live Whale TV broadcasts on WCCT-TV, Connecticut’s CW affiliate, presented by Webster Bank, is coming up Saturday, March 10, when the Whale host the Norfolk Admirals at 7:00 PM.

Recent Transactions:

Jason Missiaen – Reassigned by the NY Rangers from the Whale to Greenville (ECHL) February 22

Blake Parlett – Reassigned by the NY Rangers from the Whale to Greenville (ECHL) February 24

Mike Vernace – Loaned to the Whale by the NY Rangers February 25

Jeff Prough – Recalled by the Whale from Greenville (ECHL) February 27

Whale Tales:

Whale season seat-holders who reserve their full-season 2012-13 Whale tickets by April 13 will receive access for four people to the luxurious CT Whale Director’s Suite at the XL Center, for one Whale 2012-13 home game.  This allows the opportunity to watch the game alongside Whale executive personnel and special guests, and to enjoy all of the high-end amenities of the Director’s Suite.  Additionally, all Whale full-season 2012-13 subscribers who purchase by April 13 will receive a custom-made, high-quality season ticket-holder jersey fleece.  The jersey fleece will be exclusive to Whale full-season ticket-holders, and will feature a “Season Ticket Holder 2012-13” patch that designates it as a unique item.  For more information on purchasing Whale season tickets, call (860) 728-3366, visit the Season Ticket Holder table behind Section 101 at a Whale home game or log on to CTWhale.com.

The Connecticut Whale and the CT Hockey Hall of Fame will partner to hold a CT Hockey Hall of Fame night at the Whale’s home game at the XL Center Saturday, March 10 vs. the Norfolk Admirals.  That night will mark the enshrinement of a new class of 2012 inductees into the CT Hockey Hall of Fame, which has adopted eight members from the storied Hartford Whalers Hall of Fame.  The new inductees are: Connecticut-bred Hockey Hall of Famer Brian Leetch, ex-Hartford Whalers 56-goal scorer Blaine Stoughton, former Whalers goaltender Mike Liut, former Whalers captain Pat Verbeek, Connecticut Whale/Hartford Wolf Pack franchise icon, long-time captain and current head coach Ken Gernander, three-time Olympic medalist for Team USA and all-time NCAA women’s leading scorer Julie Chu, and one of the founders of the New England Whalers, William E. Barnes.  There will be an induction ceremony before the game, which faces off at 7:00 PM on March 10, and the new inductees will also be recognized on the ice during the first intermission.  Fans can take home a special souvenir of the March 10 night, as 5,000 Hall of Fame posters will be given away, courtesy of SuperCuts.  There will also be a special meet-and-greet event on March 10, details of which will be announced soon.  This will be the first class of inductees since 1990, and further details are available at cthockeyHOF.org.

The AHL, Labatt’s Blue and the CT Whale have come together to present the Labatt’s Blue Bubble Hockey Tournament. Join the CT Whale at the below Downtown Hartford locations. Registration is free, and winners have a chance to play at the XL Center on March 16th in the team finals, for a chance to win a trip to Hershey for the event finals, and their very own Super Chexx Bubble Hockey game.

Thu., Mar. 1, McKinnon’s Irish Pub, 114 Asylum St., 5:00-7:00 PM

Sat., Mar. 3, Federal Café, 84 Union Place, 10:00 PM – midnight

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 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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