Tag Archives: Justin DiBenedetto

SPECIAL TEAMS COST WHALE STANDINGS POINT

Connecticut-Whale_thumb_thumb_thumb_       VERSUS      Bridgeport

(We apologize as we’re unavailable for our normal direct CTWhale coverage for the next couple of games due to scheduling conflicts…)

Brian-Ring_thumbBY: Brian Ring

The Connecticut Whale were defeated by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 4-3 in overtime, Sunday afternoon at the Webster Bank Arena. Matt Donovan scored the game-winning goal for Bridgeport with two seconds left in overtime with the Sound Tigers on the power-play.

Andre Deveaux, Mike Vernace and Tommy Grant each scored for Connecticut.

“It’s obviously getting a little redundant, pretty frustrating to come in after games and say your margin of error is going to be so slim and they’re going to be one-goal games, you’ve got to do a little better job securing the puck,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander.

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SPOTLIGHT: BRENT THOMPSON

Bruce BerletBY: Bruce Berlet

Brent Thompson could be in line for a Coach of the Year daily double.

The former Hartford Wolf Pack defenseman was named ECHL Coach of the Year last season after leading the Alaska Aces to the regular season and playoff titles. Now Thompson is a leading contender for AHL Coach of the Year after guiding the Bridgeport Sound Tigers from seeming oblivion to challenging the Connecticut Whale for the Northeast Division lead.

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SPOTLIGHT: NEWBURY

Bruce Berlet 7BY: Bruce Berlet

Kris Newbury is a proud individual, as a human being and a hockey player.

Few demonstrate more grit, determination and leadership than the Connecticut Whale’s veteran center, something that earned Newbury frequent plaudits from New York Rangers coach John Tortorella during a handful of call-ups to the Big Apple the past two seasons.

But Newbury’s spirited play also gets him in trouble at times via penalties, including an elbow to the head of Bridgeport Sound Tigers wing Justin DiBenedetto on Nov. 18 that earned him a four-game suspension. But it reached a point a few weeks ago when too many “chats” with referees led to unsportsmanlike penalties and a loss on two fronts: the scoreboard and the A as one of the Whale’s three alternate captains.

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WHALE QUIET SOUND TIGERS

Connecticut-Whale_thumb_thumb_thumb1      VERSUS     Bridgeport

There certainly was not going to be much not to like for Connecticut Whale head coach Ken Gernander not to like after his team crushed the injury and call-up depleted Bridgeport Sound Tigers 6-3 at the XL Center in front of a small but vocal crowd of 2,745 Friday night.

“(It was) a pretty solid team game where everybody chipped in and did their part.” Gernander said. “We spread (the scoring0 out pretty well…I’m pretty happy with the special teams.”

ANOTHER CHARACTER WIN FOR WHALE

Connecticut-Whale_thumb_thumb_thumb1       VERSUS      image

Say what you will about the 2011-2012 version of the Connecticut Whale, but this is a team of character. They find ways to win late; they find ways to win games early, they can win games ugly and they can win games like they did Friday night when they visited the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island and in front of a good crowd of 7,352 just beat up the last place Bruins 4-1 with a total team effort from the net on out.

Chad Johnson, (28 saves, 7-3-2) was the games first star making several strong stops and only a shot that he had no chance on, a short-handed Zach Hamill third period goal was able to get by him.

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SPOTLIGHT: WHO’S PLAYING AND WHERE?

Bruce Berlet 7BY: Bruce Berlet

Connecticut Whale defenseman Pavel Valentenko is sometimes self-conscious about his English.

But the personable Russian has certainly improved on the official language of the United States since arriving in Hartford two years ago. And he was right on in the clearest terms Tuesday night, when asked why the Whale has won five of six games to move into first place in the Northeast Division.

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WHALE REBOUND

Connecticut-Whale_thumb_thumb_thumb1[2]      VERSUS     Springfield Falcons

Say what you will about Connecticut Whale head coach Ken Gernander, but the guy knows how to motivate a team and he knows how to win.

For the fourth time in the last five games, the fifth year Wolf Pack/Whale Head Coach did what it took to turn a lackluster two-period performance into a highly motivated, intensely focused “team.” Gernander minus three of his best players, led his “team” to, once again, come from behind in dramatic fashion.

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BELL TOWERS OVER FALLEN POULIN WALL

Connecticut Whale     VERSUS      Bridgeport

(Oops Update…Just realized this posting was still sitting in the draft section of the blog from Friday night and that it was never posted… our apologies)

Despite 65 minutes of spectacular goaltending from the Bridgeport Sound Tiger’s netminder Kevin Poulin, ultimately it was the Connecticut Whale’s Brendan Bell who’s breakaway goal with just 6.8 seconds remaining in overtime would prove to be the difference maker giving the New York Rangers AHL affiliate a 3-2 overtime win at the XL Center Friday night.

Bell started the play in his own end behind the net after admittedly getting away with what could have been a tripping call on Sound Tigers captain Jeremy Colliton. “I might have gotten a little lucky that I didn’t get called for a penalty. My stick kind of got caught in (Colliton’s) skates. But with the time that was left on the clock I thought, ‘Why not?’ Their D-man and forward (Ty Wishart and Matt Donovan respectively) kind of got crossed up at the blueline and there was a big lane. Even if we didn’t get the puck, because we didn’t have full possession at that point, I figured there was only about 5 seconds left on the clock and they weren’t going to get anything anyway, so I took a shot and it works out.”

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WIN STREAK OVER

(Due to the extensive computer and power outages –and the fact that we’re now five days behind in our business – we want to make sure that we get something posted from the Whale defeat Wednesday to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers… We’ve added the Ken Gernander press conference)

Brian RingBY: Brian Ring

Bridgeport, CT, November 2, 2011 – The Connecticut Whale fell to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Wednesday afternoon, 4-3 in overtime, at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard.

The Sound Tigers’ Tim Wallace tallied a hat-trick in the game, including the overtime winner, to lead Bridgeport to a come-from-behind win. The Whale received two goals and an assist from rookie Jonathan Audy-Marchessault.

The defeat snapped the Whale’s five-game winning-streak, but Connecticut did gain at least a standings point for the ninth consecutive game (7-0-0-2).

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WHALE WEEKLY: October 31 – November 6, 2011

Connecticut WhaleBY: Bob Crawford, Voice of the Connecticut Whale

The Whale extended its winning streak to five games last week, winning road contests at Adirondack Friday, 4-2, and in Worcester Saturday, 3-2 in a shootout.  Connecticut is now unbeaten in regulation in eight consecutive games (6-0-0-2) since a season-opening, 6-3 defeat at Adirondack October 8.  The Whale currently sit in first place in the Northeast Division with a 6-1-0-2 record for 14 points, the franchise’s best start since a team-record 9-0-0-0 run to begin the 2004-05 campaign.  Jordan Owens scored a pair of goals, his first two points of the season, to pace the victory Friday night, and defenseman Brendan Bell chipped in a total of three assists in the two wins.

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