(We apologize as we’re unavailable for our normal direct CTWhale coverage for the next couple of games due to scheduling conflicts…)
The Connecticut Whale were defeated by the Providence Bruins, 3-2, Saturday night at the XL Center before a crowd of 5,794. Craig Cunningham had a goal and an assist and Josh Hennessy had two assists to lead the Bruins in scoring, with Zach Trotman providing the game-winner.
“This time of year you need points, it doesn’t matter how,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander. “Our margin of error is such right now that given the time of year and the style we have to play, teams are going to create their own offense and it’s going to be tooth and nail.”
Audy-Marchessault opened the scoring 8:10 into the opening period with his 23rd goal of the season, blasting a shot from the point past Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin (33 saves). The goal was assisted by both Newbury and Wade Redden.
The Whale outshot the Bruins, 12-9, in the first period, with the home team carrying much of the offensive play. Khudobin contributed a key save on Andrew Yogan which kept the game 1-0 headed into the second period.
Cunningham would tie the game for Providence just 41 seconds into the second frame, taking advantage of a five minute power-play awarded after a boarding call on Yogan. Cunningham received a pass from Hennessy at the blue line and cut in past the Whale defense, breaking in on Whale goaltender Chad Johnson (28 saves) and scoring on the backhand.
The Bruins would stake themselves to a 2-1 lead with 5:01 left to play in the second, as Kirk MacDonald blasted a shot from the high slot through Johnson. Hennessy earned his second assist of the night on the goal, with Jared Staal notching the secondary helper.
Providence would strike again on the power-play 4:18 into the third period, as Trotman tallied his first professional goal in his first pro game to make it 3-1, providing the eventual game-winner. Trotman put a shot through traffic over Johnson, with assists going to David Warsofsky and Cunningham.
Newbury would get the Whale to within 3-2 on the power-play with 30 seconds to play, but a miracle comeback was not in the making, and the Whale fell by the same score.
The Whale close out this weekend’s action on Sunday afternoon, when they visit the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (3:00) at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard.
The Providence Bruins have even less coverage than the Whale do. Here’s the only news source on the game…just from their website.
(Standings provided by TheAHL.com)
* Most interesting stat of the week comes from our good friend, and one of the best beat writers we know, Mike Fornabaio at the CTPost:
“In current, modern, points-for-all, bonus-points for OTL and SOW, there is only one Eastern Conference team below points-.500 right now, Binghamton. But if you translate those all back to W-L-T, the way it was pre-1994, only five are over.500: Norfolk (44-19-5), St. John’s (35-24-7), Wilkes-Barre (31-24-12), Hershey (30-24-12) and… Bridgeport (28-27-10). Standings under those terms: BPT 66, HFD 64, ADK 62, SPR 60, ALB 59; NOR 93 (yes, 93; they have only four bonus points right now), WBS 74, HER 72, SYR 62, BIN 55; SJ 77, MCR 66, WOR 61, POR 60, PRO 58.”
* Based upon how the standings sit right now, the Whale’s first round playoff opponents would be the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Right now what’s at stake for the Whale is who has home ice advantage. Assuming things remain where they are.
* AHL PARADY? Currently in the standings, you have NINE teams that are within SIX points. Nothing I set in stone right now. Starting with Bridgeport at 73 points, just three behind the Whale with a game in hand, Manchester and Syracuse are seven and eight but trail the Sound Tigers by just two points. Springfield follows them in ninth just three points back at 68 and then the log jam. Worcester, Adirondack, Portland, Albany and Providence all have 67. This isn’t over folks. The Whale need to get wins. If they don’t they could not only not finish third, but they could wind up on the outside looking in.
Grant – Tessier –Wellman
Audy-Marchessault – Newbury – Deveaux
Bourque – Owens – Tanski
Moses – Yogan – Thuresson
REDDEN – Nightingale
Valentenko – Vernace
Bell – Klassen
(Captain in CAPS / Assistant Captains are Italicized)
Francois Bouchard – Broken Wrist – Indefinite
Chad Kolarik – Knee – (Can’t Play Due To Roster Issue)
Peter Ceresnak – Healthy Scratch
Sean Avery – Healthy Scratch
Jeff Prough – Healthy Scratch
1. PRO – 14 Craig Cunningham
2. PRO – 11 Josh Hennessy
3. CT – 18 Jonathan Audy-Marchessault
ON ICE OFFICIALS:
Ryan Hersey (46)
Brent Colby (7)
Marty Demers (79)
The Whale have a crucial battle on Sunday afternoon in Bridgeport with the Sound Tigers. If there has been a MUST WIN game all season, this one is it. The Sound Tigers trail the Whale by three points with a game in hand. They need to win this one and win it in regulation. If they lose in regulation, they will find themselves in a real dogfight just to make the playoffs. (See above).
You can hear all the action Sunday afternoon with Bob Crawford 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.
Providence Bruins 3 at Connecticut Whale 2 – Status: Final
Saturday, March 24, 2012 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Providence 0 2 1 – 3
Connecticut 1 0 1 – 2
1st Period-1, Connecticut, Audy-Marchessault 23 (Newbury, Redden), 8:10. Penalties-McKelvie Pro (fighting), 14:12; Owens Ct (fighting), 14:12; Yogan Ct (major – boarding, game misconduct – boarding), 18:55.
2nd Period-2, Providence, Cunningham 18 (Hennessy, Warsofsky), 0:41 (PP). 3, Providence, MacDonald 9 (Hennessy, Staal), 14:59. Penalties-No Penalties
3rd Period-4, Providence, Trotman 1 (Warsofsky, Cunningham), 4:18 (PP). 5, Connecticut, Newbury 23 (Audy-Marchessault), 19:31 (PP). Penalties-Audy-Marchessault Ct (charging), 3:48; Robins Pro (holding), 6:32; Miller Pro (high-sticking), 10:05; Ridderwall Pro (fighting), 11:42; Valentenko Ct (fighting), 11:42; Camper Pro (holding), 18:25.
Shots on Goal-Providence 9-15-7-31. Connecticut 12-15-8-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Providence 2 / 3; Connecticut 1 / 3.
Goalies-Providence, Khudobin 21-17-3 (35 shots-33 saves). Connecticut, Johnson 21-16-5 (31 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Ryan Hersey (46).
Linesmen-Brent Colby (7), Marty Demers (79).