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Panik ends Connecticut’s season, Whale fall to Norfolk four games to two

Norfolk Admirals 2, Connecticut Whale 1 (OT)

Norfolk, VA, May 11, 2012 – Richard Panik’s goal at 13:01 of overtime ended the Connecticut Whale’s season Friday night at Scope Arena, giving the Norfolk Admirals a 2-1 win in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinal series between the two teams, and a four-games-to-two triumph in the best-of-seven set.

Panik took a pass from Alex Killorn and got a step on Whale defenseman Brendan Bell, then made a move to the forehand to put the puck past Connecticut goaltender Cam Talbot, who made 44 saves in the game, including a combined 32 in the third period and overtime.

The Whale nearly found themselves behind just 41 seconds into the game, but an apparent goal by Norfolk’s Alexandre Picard was disallowed when it was ruled that he knocked the puck into the net with a high stick.

The Whale controlled play thereafter, but were frustrated by Admiral netminder Jaroslav Janus (30 saves) until the 14:49 mark, when Connecticut got a goal as a result of a fortunate bounce.  Janus stopped a shot by Casey Wellman but could not control the rebound, and Norfolk forward Pierre-Cedric Labrie inadvertently knocked it into the net with his skate.  Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, who got the last touch on the puck, was credited with the goal.

The best chance of a scoreless second period came at 10:10, when Audy-Marchessault was awarded a penalty shot after he was hooked while working his way past the Admiral defense.  Janus, though, came up with a glove save on Audy-Marchessault’s penalty shot bid.

The Admirals dominated the third period, outshooting the Whale 18-2, but Talbot held the fort until the 10:52 mark, when Tyler Johnson tied the score.  The Whale won a defensive-zone draw but were unable to control the puck, and Ondrej Palat was able to work it off the left-wing boards to Johnson in front of the net.  Johnson nearly fanned on his shot, but was able to shove the puck through Talbot’s pads, for the goal that would end up forcing the overtime.

The series win was the first ever in a best-of-seven series for Norfolk, which will now go on to the Eastern Conference Finals to face the winner of a Game Seven Saturday between Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and St. John’s in St. John’s.

It’s never too early to think about a Whale ticket package for the 2012-13 season.  For information on season seats, mini plans and group discounts, visit www.ctwhale.com, or call the CT Whale ticket office at (860) 728-3366 to talk with an account executive today.

Connecticut Whale 1 at Norfolk Admirals 2 (OT)
Friday, May 11, 2012 – Norfolk Scope

Connecticut 1 0 0 0 – 1
Norfolk 0 0 1 1 – 2

1st Period-1, Connecticut, Audy-Marchessault 4 (Hrivik, Wellman), 14:49. Penalties-Conacher Nor (hooking), 2:58; Bourque Ct (goaltender interference), 6:10; Segal Nor (hooking), 6:33; Killorn Nor (holding the stick), 10:33; Newbury Ct (interference), 16:59.

2nd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Audy-Marchessault Ct (slashing), 7:42; Wellman Ct (holding the stick), 20:00.

3rd Period-2, Norfolk, Johnson 2 (Palat), 10:52. Penalties-Erixon Ct (holding), 7:52; Deveaux Ct (roughing), 11:32; Picard Nor (roughing), 11:32; Tessier Ct (slashing), 13:52.

OT Period-3, Norfolk, Panik 2 (Killorn, Oberg), 13:01. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Connecticut 13-11-3-4-31. Norfolk 5-7-18-16-46.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 0 / 3; Norfolk 0 / 6.
Goalies-Connecticut, Talbot 5-3-0 (46 shots-44 saves). Norfolk, Janus 2-1-0 (31 shots-30 saves).
A-5,832
Referees-Darcy Burchell (42), Mark Lemelin (41).
Linesmen-Scott Pomento (25), Tom George (61).

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