(We return with our regular coverage starting tonight)
Hartford, CT, March 30, 2012 – The Connecticut Whale were defeated by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 3-0, Friday night at the XL Center. Penguins goaltender Scott Munroe blanked the Whale with a 32-save performance, the fourth-straight defeat for the Whale (0-3-1-0).
The Penguins would strike fast and furious in the first period, tallying three goals in a span of 2:12 to get the jump on the Whale for good.
“It wasn’t a very good period,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander. “A lot of the things we talked about beforehand transpired, as far as what the [Penguins] are going to bring to the table, and from our side of the things, the things we needed to bring to the table weren’t there for the first twenty minutes.
“We can’t spot teams a lead, teams that are ahead of you in the standings.”
The scoring began with former Whale Jason Williams’ score 6:49 into the opening period, Williams converting on the power-play as he snuck one past goaltender Chad Johnson (10 saves). Williams’ score, his 12th of the season, was assisted by Colin McDonald and Geoff Walker.
Ben Street would tally his 26th goal of the season less than a minute later at 7:23, corralling the puck and firing a shot over the catching glove of Johnson and into the top right corner of the net to quickly give the visitors a two goal lead. Nick Petersen assisted on the tally.
The Penguins would chase Johnson in favor of Cam Talbot (perfect with 18 saves) with their third goal of the period at the 9:01 mark, as Cody Wild’s shot had just enough on it to squeak through the pads of the Whale goaltender and in for his first goal of the campaign. Brian Gibbons and Ryan Craig both assisted on the goal.
The Whale would carry the flow of the game in the scoreless second period, outshooting the Penguins, 10-4. Munroe, however, kept Connecticut in check with several quality saves, including an up-close one-time opportunity by Ryan Bourque.
The Whale had three power-play opportunities in the second, but they would finish the first two periods zero-for-six with the extra attacker.
Despite playing another strong third period, the Whale could not push anything across against Munroe, as Connecticut was shut out at home, the second time they have been blanked in three games against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
The Whale take to the ice again Saturday night at the XL Center, when they host the Adirondack Phantoms in a key Northeast Division tilt (7:00 PM).
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 3 at Connecticut Whale 0
Friday, March 30, 2012 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
W-B/Scranton 3 0 0 – 3
Connecticut 0 0 0 – 0
1st Period-1, W-B/Scranton, Williams 12 (McDonald, Walker), 6:49 (PP). 2, W-B/Scranton, Street 26 (Petersen), 7:23. 3, W-B/Scranton, Wild 1 (Gibbons, Craig), 9:01. Penalties-Deveaux Ct (hooking), 5:32; MacIntyre Wbs (double minor – high-sticking), 12:19; Erixon Ct (holding), 15:16; Samuelsson Wbs (slashing), 18:02.
2nd Period– No Scoring.Penalties-Munroe Wbs (delay of game), 2:56; Deveaux Ct (high-sticking), 3:51; Walker Wbs (hooking), 5:27; Grant Wbs (tripping), 8:00; Walker Wbs (unsportsmanlike conduct), 12:01; Newbury Ct (unsportsmanlike conduct), 12:01; Vernace Ct (interference), 14:17.
3rd Period– No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-W-B/Scranton 13-4-14-31. Connecticut 10-10-12-32.
Power Play Opportunities-W-B/Scranton 1 / 4; Connecticut 0 / 6.
Goalies-W-B/Scranton, Munroe 18-8-3 (32 shots-32 saves). Connecticut, Johnson 21-17-5 (13 shots-10 saves); Talbot 12-13-0 (18 shots-18 saves).
Referees-Jarrod Ragusin (54), Chris Brown (86).
Linesmen-Kevin Redding (16), Jim Briggs (83).