Portland Pirates 4, Connecticut Whale 3
Portland, ME, December 31, 2012 – The Connecticut Whale let a 3-0 second-period lead slip away Monday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center, finishing 2012 with a 4-3 loss to the Portland Pirates.
Jordan Szwarz and Ethan Werek scored third-period goals for Portland, after Mathieu Brodeur and Chris Summers tallied in the final 1:20 of the second period to cut the Pirates’ deficit to 3-2.
The Whale scored the first period’s only goal at 12:37 in a four-on-four situation. After the Pirates had won a draw, Segal knocked Portland defenseman David Rundblad down in the right-wing corner and fed the puck to Marek Hrivik. Johnson stopped Hrivik’s point-blank shot, but Segal, who had headed to the front of the net, shot the rebound underneath Johnson’s right pad and in.
Connecticut struck for a pair of early goals in the second to widen their lead to 3-0, starting with Haley’s third of the year at 1:44. Logan Pyett found Haley with a long pass, and Haley was able to get a step on the Portland defense before putting a shot past Johnson’s stick side.
Just 58 seconds later, at 2:42, Grant made it 3-0, as he was able to push a loose puck past Johnson off a scramble near the Portland net.
After the Whale dominated most of the period, though, Brodeur and Summers, both defensemen, scored only 1:04 apart to turn the momentum quickly.
Brodeur fought off a check to bury a close-in shot past Whale goaltender Cam Talbot (21 saves) at 18:40. Then, with only 15.9 seconds on the clock, a pass found Summers at the left side of the slot and he fired in his first goal of the year to cut the Whale lead to 3-2.
Szwarz tied the score on a Portland power play at 3:51 of the third period, deflecting a Michael Stone point shot high into the net behind Talbot after Evan Brophey won a faceoff.
Werek’s game-winner came at 12:04, after a failed Whale clearing attempt. Rundblad and Brett Hextall combined to find Werek, who had snuck free in front of the Whale goal, and Werek put a perfectly-placed backhander into the top corner over Talbot’s catching glove.
The loss was the Whale’s first all year in a game they led after two periods, and dropped Connecticut’s record on the year to 13-17-2-0. The Whale are now 0-3-0-0 on the season against the Pirates.
The Whale are next in action this Friday, January 4 against the Adirondack Phantoms at the XL Center. Faceoff is 7:00 PM, and at all Friday-night Whale home games fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 beers until the end of the first intermission. Whale tickets start as low as $10 each ($12 each when purchased on the day of the game) and are available at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, through TicketMaster Charge-by-Phone at 1-800-745-3000 and on-line at www.ticketmaster.com.
Connecticut Whale 3 at Portland Pirates 4
Monday, December 31, 2012 – Cumberland County Civic Center
Connecticut 1 2 0 – 3
Portland 0 2 2 – 4
1st Period-1, Connecticut, Segal 7 (Hrivik), 12:37. Penalties-Bolduc Por (slashing), 5:19; Vernace Ct (hooking), 11:59; Conner Por (interference), 12:31; Jean Ct (interference), 13:36; Bolduc Por (diving), 13:36.
2nd Period-2, Connecticut, Haley 3 (Pyett), 1:44. 3, Connecticut, Grant 8 (Thomas), 2:42. 4, Portland, Brodeur 2 (Klinkhammer, Shinnimin), 18:40. 5, Portland, Summers 1 (Werek, Brown), 19:44. Penalties-Vernace Ct (holding the stick), 5:42; Lane Por (slashing), 14:01; Kreider Ct (high-sticking), 20:00.
3rd Period-6, Portland, Szwarz 2 (Stone, Brophey), 3:51 (PP). 7, Portland, Werek 6 (Hextall, Rundblad), 12:04. Penalties-Vernace Ct (cross-checking), 2:07; Miele Por (holding), 5:39; Summers Por (delay of game), 18:23.
Shots on Goal-Connecticut 8-17-10-35. Portland 9-9-7-25.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 0 / 5; Portland 1 / 4.
Goalies-Connecticut, Talbot 11-14-0 (25 shots-21 saves). Portland, Johnson 11-6-0 (35 shots-32 saves).
Referees-Jean Hebert (43).
Linesmen-Joe Andrews (32), Brian MacDonald (72).