On Friday night the theme approaching Saturday night’s battle with the AHL leading Norfolk Admirals was that the game would be a measuring stick as to where the team was in facing the best. After a 3-1 loss that was an exceptionally tight game right through to the end when an empty net goal sealed the win for the visitors, the answer was a resounding, not too far off.
“I think in general we stacked up pretty well. It was a close game.” Head Coach Ken Gernander said. “It was a close game. But when things are going to be that tight and decided by small margins you have to be that much more diligent. I think we made a couple of mistakes and obviously it cost us.”
“I think for the most part of the game we took it to them and we did pretty well. Again it comes down to one goal and sometimes it’s a save or a bounce and t can go either way.” Chad Johnson (19-13-5, 23 saves) said after another stellar performance in net.
“Obviously we didn’t get the two points,” Scott Tanski said. “I feel like for the most part we dictated the play in their end and getting a lot of shots. Their goalie played really well..We’re just going to look at the positives this time of the year. we’re not going to reflect upon the negatives.So we’ll take what we learned from this game and go forward and push for the playoffs.”
With all the excitement surrounding the first class of the Connecticut Hall of Fame surrounding them and a huge emotional win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers still in their memory, the Whale put it all behind them and played a focused, strong game but also showed that there is still work to be done to get them to that elite level where Norfolk now resides.
A clean faceoff win by Tyler Johnson over Kelsey Tessier was won back to Mike Kostka at the top of the high slot. The Norfolk defenseman unloaded a hard shot that was headed high to Johnson’s glove, but the puck took a dip and might have hit Ryan Bourque in front and went under the glove for what proved to be the game winner at 1:56 of the third period.
““(We) lose the draw clean to start with and the puck goes out to the point and we’re not in the shooting lane,” Gernander said. “It was a poor lineup on the faceoff, a missed assignment; a stray puck just inside our blueline and we’re outletting like we’re going to fast break in basketball. We have to make sure we’re on the defensive side of things first and foremost.”
“(The puck) was going high and then it dropped,” Johnson said. “I don’t know if it hit Bourquey or not, but it kind of came through him and then it just went underneath my glove…it was kind of a weird shot.”
The Whale scored the opening goal of the game at 8:11 of the first period when Tanski, the game’s third star, broke up the right wing and blew right past Jeff Dimmen and charged at goaltender Jaroslav Janus (14-8-2, 26 saves). Tanski put a shot on net that the Norfolk goaltender denied, but it went off his pads to the left side of the crease where Tommy Grant was waiting for the easy tap in for his eighth of the season.
An even first period that was filled with a lot of action going back and forth ended with ten shots a side.
After an exciting induction ceremony which included on ice appearances by Brian Leetch, Julie Chu, Blaine Stoughton, Mike Luit, Pat Verbeek and Gernander (executive Bill Barber was also inducted but he passed away several years ago) the teams headed back to the ice to pick up where they left off.
The Whale played hard and did all they could to try and push one past Janus, but it was Norfolk who would tie it 12:17 into the period.
There were battles in the defensive zone and a puck went airborne. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault knocked the puck out of the air and it bounced over the stick of Andreas Thuresson to Philip-Michael Devos in the slot. He slid it over to the left side to Alex Hutchings. A great cross crease pass to Mike Angeledis who wrists it into the net past Johnson to knot the score.
Tyler Johnson netted the empty netter with 42 seconds left to seal the deal for the Admirals.
Jim Hodges travelled with the Admirals and filed this report at PilotOnline.com.
Bruce Berlet also had a terrific story on the Connecticut Hockey Hall-of-Fame and integrated it as only he can into the coverage of the game..
The Courant did send a team to cover the festivities. George Dalek was there for the Record Journal, but unfortunately his story is not posted online.
Mike Fornabaio did a nice profile on Julie Chu and her induction for the CTPost.
At no fault of their own, and it’s one of the reasons that they will really struggle to get an NHL franchise back in Hartford, The Whale did not get nearly the amount of coverage for this event as the story most certainly warranted and that is truly an unfortunate position some in the media have chosen to take.
CT HOCKEY HALL-OF-FAME NIGHT REMEMBERED IN PICTURES:
(Props to my wife, Pam Beck for an excellent job)
Ken Gernander Post-Game Press Conference:
SOUNDS OF THE GAME:
(Standings provided by TheAHL.com)
* Such a great honor for a great man, so we’ll rerun the link on Ken Gernander being inducted into the Connecticut Hockey Hall-Of-Fame at TheAHL.com.
Audy-Marchessault – Newbury – Deveaux
Zuccarello – Wellman – Thuresson
Grant – Tessier – Bourque
Prough – Owens – Tanski
REDDEN – Erixon
Bell – Nightingale
Valentenko – Vernace
(Captain in CAPS / Assistant Captains are Italicized)
Francois Bouchard – Broken Wrist – Indefinite
Chad Kolarik – Knee – (Can’t Play due to Roster Issues)
Pavel Valentenko – Upper Body – Day-to-Day
Sean Avery – Healthy Scratch
1. NOR – J. Janus
2. NOR – T. Johnson
3. CT – S. Tanski
ON ICE OFFICIALS:
Graham Skilliter (48)
Derek Wahl (46)
Jim Briggs (83)
Time to regroup and get back to their structure and winning ways. The Whale left Hartford Saturday night and will do battle with the Manchester Monarchs Sunday at 3pm. You can hear all the action on WCCC.com starting at 2:50pm.
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.
Norfolk Admirals 3 at Connecticut Whale 1 – Status: Final
Saturday, March 10, 2012 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Norfolk 0 1 2 – 3
Connecticut 1 0 0 – 1
1st Period-1, Connecticut, Grant 8 (Tanski), 8:11. Penalties-Grant Ct (interference), 2:04; Angelidis Nor (roughing), 4:33; Deveaux Ct (roughing), 4:33.
2nd Period-2, Norfolk, Angelidis 14 (Hutchings, Devos), 12:17. Penalties-Deveaux Ct (interference), 4:13; Cote Nor (slashing), 7:32; Devos Nor (tripping), 18:41.
3rd Period-3, Norfolk, Kostka 9 (Johnson), 1:56. 4, Norfolk, Johnson 23 (Conacher), 19:18 (EN). Penalties-Conacher Nor (roughing), 5:54; Deveaux Ct (holding), 5:54; Palat Nor (boarding), 13:15; Deveaux Ct (goaltender interference), 13:24; Angelidis Nor (roughing), 20:00; Conacher Nor (roughing), 20:00; Deveaux Ct (roughing), 20:00; Newbury Ct (roughing), 20:00.
Shots on Goal-Norfolk 10-2-14-26. Connecticut 10-7-10-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Norfolk 0 / 3; Connecticut 0 / 3.
Goalies-Norfolk, Janus 14-8-2 (27 shots-26 saves). Connecticut, Johnson 19-13-5 (25 shots-23 saves).
Referees-Graham Skilliter (48).
Linesmen-Derek Wahl (46), Jim Briggs (83).