WHALE WEEKLY: March 19 – 25, 2012

Bob CrawfordBY: Bob Crawford, Voice of the Connecticut Whale

The Whale took four out of six points in three home games this past weekend, solidifying their lead in the Northeast Division with wins over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the Portland Pirates. The Whale began the weekend with a big 3-2 win over the Sound Tigers Friday, before a 3-0 setback against Springfield on Saturday. Connecticut closed their three-games-in-three-nights home slate with a 5-4 shootout triumph over the Pirates on Sunday afternoon, helping them to carry a four-point division lead into this week. Tommy Grant posted a four-point game on Sunday (2-2-4) and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault had a four-point weekend as well (2-2-4). Casey Wellman had three points in Friday’s win (1-2-3), while Cam Talbot Sunday won his first decision in goal since Feb. 18.

This week:

  • The Whale will once again take on three opponents in three nights this weekend, beginning on Friday night with a return engagement against the Portland Pirates at the XL Center (7:00). The Providence Bruins will come to town on Saturday night (7:00), before the Whale pay their final visit of the season to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Sunday afternoon (3:00 in a key GEICO Connecticut Cup divisional matchup.

Friday, March 23 vs. Portland Pirates at the XL Center, 7:00 PM

  • The Whale take on the Portland Pirates for the seventh of eight meetings on the season Friday night, with the Whale holding a 3-2-1-0 record against the Pirates this season. All three wins have come on XL Center ice.
  • As at every remaining Friday-night Whale home game in the regular season, fans can take advantage of a special meal combo deal at this game.  A hot dog and a 12-ounce soda is only $5.
  • The Whale defeated the Pirates, 5-4 in a shootout, in their last head-to-head meeting this past Sunday. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault had two goals for the Whale, as did Tommy Grant, who had 4 points total (2-2-4).
  • Audy-Marchessault (4-2-6), Grant (3-3-6) and Kelsey Tessier (2-4-6) now share the team lead in scoring against the Pirates with six points apiece this season.
  • Pirates rookie Andy Miele has continued to hurt the Whale, tallying eight points against Connecticut this season (1-7-8).
  • The Pirates dropped two out of three games this weekend with losses to Springfield and the Whale, and they continue to sit two points out of a playoff spot, but with four other clubs ahead of them in the standings.
  • Television – this game will mark the first of three live “Whale TV” telecasts on CPTV Sports, presented by Webster Bank, with Bob Crawford and Garry Swain at the mikes.  CPTV Sports is available on Comcast cable channels 185, 187 and 744 and on the Cox Communications cable system channel 144.
  • Radio – CT Whale “Rockin’ Hockey”, live with Mark Bailey, on “The Rock” 106.9 WCCC-FM, and on-line at CTWhale.com.

Saturday, March 24 vs. Providence Bruins at the XL Center, 7PM

  • The Whale host the Providence Bruins Saturday night in their seventh of eight clashes this season. The teams have split the first six games of the season series, posting identical 3-2-0-1 records thus far.
  • After winning the first three games versus Providence this season, the Whale have now dropped three straight against the Bruins, including their latest meeting, a 4-3 road defeat on Feb. 19.
  • Kris Newbury has led the Whale against Providence with five points (3-2-5), while Carter Camper has scored four goals and tallied two assists in action against the Whale this season.
  • Chad Johnson shows just one win and a shootout loss against the Bruins this season, but he holds a 0.75 goals against average and a .973 save percentage versus Providence in three games played.
  • Michael Hutchinson boasts comparable stats against the Whale, having allowed three goals in two games and showing a 1.45 goals against average and a .953 save percentage.
  • The Bruins sit in 14th in the Eastern Conference after losing two of three games this weekend, four points out of a playoff berth.
  • Radio – CT Whale “Rockin’ Hockey”, live with Bob Crawford, Garry Swain and Mark Bailey, on “The Rock” 106.9 WCCC-FM, and on-line at CTWhale.com.

Sunday, March 25 at BPT Sound Tigers (Webster Bank Arena), 3PM

  • The Whale visit the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, to close out the GEICO Connecticut Cup season series, Sunday afternoon for a pivotal Northeast Division contest.
  • Connecticut has won four of nine meetings with the Sound Tigers this season, winning the last two, including a 3-2 win over Bridgeport on March 16 at the XL Center.
  • Jonathan Audy-Marchessault (6-6-12) and Kris Newbury (3-9-12) lead the Whale in scoring against their in-state rivals, while Justin DiBenedetto leads active Sound Tigers in scoring against Connecticut with six points (4-2-6).
  • The Sound Tigers are in the midst of a six-game winless streak, and have gained just two points during that span (0-4-0-2).
  • Bridgeport maintains the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference entering this week’s action, four points behind the Whale in the Northeast Division.
  • 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 are available this week to Comcast Xfinity on Demand customers throughout New England, in the “Get Local” folder of Comcast’s On Demand Service:
  • Ken Gernander Interview (Whale Special Events folder) – Bob Crawford, the voice of the Whale, chats with franchise icon, former long-time captain and current head coach, Ken Gernander, about his recent induction into the Connecticut Hockey Hall of Fame.
  • Damien Hess Interview (Whale Special Events folder) – the Whale’s athletic trainer, Damien Hess, joins Bob Crawford to talk about his role in managing injuries and helping players through the most important part of the season.
  • Game Highlights (Game of the Week folder) – a rundown of the Whale’s entertaining, back-and-forth battle with the Portland Pirates, that went all the way to a shootout, this past Sunday 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.
  • This Tuesday night at 7:00 PM, Whale TV Replay will feature a re-broadcast of this past Friday’s GEICO Connecticut Cup showdown with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Recent Transactions:

  • Chad Johnson – recalled from the Whale by the NY Rangers March 13, and returned later that same day, and recalled again March 15 and returned later that day
  • Tim Erixon – recalled from the Whale by the NY Rangers March 17

Whale Tales:

  • Fans will have multiple opportunities to put in auction bids on Whale game-worn jerseys starting this Tuesday, March 20.  White game-worn jerseys of Sean Avery, Stu Bickel, Ryan Bourque, Erik Christensen, Carl Hagelin, John Mitchell, Wojtek Wolski, Jeff Woywitka and Mats Zuccarello will be up for auction on E-bay, starting Tuesday at 12 noon and ending the following Tuesday, March 27 at 12 noon.  White game-worn jerseys of Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, Lee Baldwin, Brendan Bell, Francois Bouchard, Tim Erixon, Chad Johnson, Jared Nightingale, Wade Redden, Andre Deveaux, Tommy Grant, Sam Klassen, Chris McKelvie, Kris Newbury, Jordan Owens, Blake Parlett, Cam Talbot, Scott Tanski, Kelsey Tessier, Andreas Thuresson, Pavel Valentenko and Aaron Voros will be auctioned off during the second intermission of the Whale’s home game this Saturday night, March 24 against Providence.  In addition, green game-worn jerseys of all these players will be up for bids in an auction at the Whale’s home game Saturday, March 31 vs. Adirondack, to benefit the March of Dimes.
  • The Whale will be hosting a “CT Whale Trail Pub Crawl” Saturday, March 31, from 3:00 PM to the 7:00 PM faceoff of their game that night at the XL Center vs. the Adirondack Phantoms.  The Pub Crawl will go through five fine downtown Hartford establishments: the Federal Café, 84 Union Place; Pig’s Eye Pub, 356 Asylum St.; The Tavern Downtown, 100 Allyn St.;  The Russian Lady, 191 Ann Uccello St.; and McKinnon’s Irish Pub, 114 Asylum St., before ending at the XL Center for the Whale game.  The cost to join the Pub Crawl is $20 for the general public and $10 for Whale ticket plan holders, and that includes a ticket to the March 31 Whale game and a blue Whale-tail scarf.  There will be $2 Bud, Bud Light and Bud Light Platinum drink specials, and two Big Gig tickets, a Whale merchandise prize pack and a Budweiser prize pack will be raffled off at each Pub Crawl location.  A portion of the proceeds from the Pub Crawl will benefit the March of Dimes.  For Pub Crawl tickets, visit CTWhale.com or call the Whale office at (860) 728-3366.
  • 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.
  • 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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