Connecticut Whale 6, Bridgeport Sound Tigers 3
Hartford, CT, December 16, 2011 – The Connecticut Whale defeated the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 6-3, Friday night at the XL Center in Hartford. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault scored twice for the Whale to take over the team lead in points, tallying the eventual game-winner in a wild second period.
Kris Newbury recorded four assists in the contest for the Whale, while fellow forward Andre Deveaux earned an assist on three Whale goals. Brendan Bell also scored twice for Connecticut.
“Everybody chipped in and did their part,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander. “We spread out [the scoring] pretty well…I’m pretty happy with the special teams.”
Audy-Marchessault gave the Whale the 1-0 lead at 8:59 of the first on a five-on-three power-play, completing a nifty passing play in front of Bridgeport goaltender Anders Nilsson (34 saves). Newbury’s shot nearly beat Nilsson on its own, and his rebound found the stick of Audy-Marchessault, who shot it into a practically empty net for his ninth goal of the season. Deveaux started the play and earned his first assist of the night on the goal.
The Sound Tigers evened the score on defenseman Matt Donovan’s shot from the point at the 16:33 mark of the first. Donovan’s shot slipped between the pads of screened Whale goaltender Chad Johnson (29 saves) for Donovan’s third goal of the season, with Steve Oleksy and Tyler McNeely recording the assists.
The second period saw the two rivals combine for six goals on the scoresheet, with Connecticut outscoring the visitors, 4-2, in the frame.
The Whale retook the lead on Jared Nightingale’s bid from the blue line at 6:03 of the second period, his shot cleanly beating Nilsson to the goaltender’s left side. Andreas Thuresson and Chris McKelvie both assisted on Nightingale’s goal, his first of the season.
Bridgeport tied the game up at two apiece almost immediately, however, as Michael Haley pushed a loose puck past Johnson that appeared to be at least partially covered by the Whale netminder. The goal, however, was ruled to be good and Haley earned his second of the season with the assists going to Kael Mouillierat and Casey Cizikas. The helper was Mouillierat’s first AHL point of the season.
Bell regained the lead for the Whale, as Connecticut again capitalized on the power-play. Bell dangled the puck into the left Bridgeport circle and fired the puck up and over Nilsson for the 3-2 advantage at 7:52. Newbury and Deveaux received the assists on the score.
The Whale struck again on Audy-Marchessault’s tenth goal of the year at 11:06 of the second, as he gave the Whale a 4-2 advantage and the eventual game-winner on Connecticut’s third power-play goal of the game. Deveaux and Newbury connected once again with helpers, the third of the night for both of them.
Andreas Thuresson pushed the Whale lead to 5-2 at 13:13, his shot fooling Nilsson on his seventh goal of the season, coming unassisted.
The Sound Tigers struck back on the power-play, as Scott Howes banged home his sixth goal in nine games for Bridgeport. A rebound off the stick of Trevor Frischmon found Howes, with Donovan earning the secondary assist at 15:49.
Bell accounted for the third period’s only scoring, firing in an empty-net goal from his goal line with just over two minutes to play. Newbury assisted on the goal, his fourth helpout of the night, as did defenseman Stu Bickel.
“We played pretty good tonight, we got off to the start we wanted,” said Newbury. “We have to take this moving forward and build on it and have a good weekend now.”
The Whale will complete the weekend’s action Saturday night, when they host the Providence Bruins at the XL Center. Game time is 7:00 PM.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers 3 at Connecticut Whale 6
Friday, December 16, 2011 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Bridgeport 1 2 0 – 3
Connecticut 1 4 1 – 6
1st Period-1, Connecticut, Audy-Marchessault 9 (Newbury, Deveaux), 8:59 (PP). 2, Bridgeport, Donovan 3 (Oleksy, McNeely), 16:33. Penalties-Oleksy Bri (fighting), 0:28; Nightingale Ct (roughing, fighting), 0:28; Haley Bri (tripping), 8:00; served by Howes Bri (bench minor – too many men), 8:49.
2nd Period-3, Connecticut, Nightingale 1 (Thuresson, McKelvie), 6:03. 4, Bridgeport, Haley 2 (Mouillierat, Rakhshani), 6:20. 5, Connecticut, Bell 4 (Newbury, Deveaux), 7:52 (PP). 6, Connecticut, Audy-Marchessault 10 (Deveaux, Newbury), 11:06 (PP). 7, Connecticut, Thuresson 7 13:13. 8, Bridgeport, Howes 6 (Frischmon, Donovan), 15:49 (PP). Penalties-Bouchard Ct (hooking), 1:13; Marcinko Bri (hooking), 6:54; Olson Bri (fighting), 8:19; Bickel Ct (fighting), 8:19; Rakhshani Bri (hooking), 10:27; Bell Ct (high-sticking), 14:13.
3rd Period-9, Connecticut, Bell 5 (Newbury, Bickel), 17:59 (SH EN). Penalties-Thuresson Ct (high-sticking), 4:48; Haley Bri (hooking), 6:09; Riley Bri (roughing), 12:29; Bouchard Ct (slashing), 12:29; Redden Ct (tripping), 16:49.
Shots on Goal-Bridgeport 10-10-12-32. Connecticut 16-14-10-40.
Power Play Opportunities-Bridgeport 1 / 5; Connecticut 3 / 5.
Goalies-Bridgeport, Nilsson 5-6-1 (39 shots-34 saves). Connecticut, Johnson 9-4-2 (32 shots-29 saves).
Referees-Matt Kirk (66), Francis Charron (46).
Linesmen-Luke Galvin (2), Jim Briggs (83).