Wolski Nets Two, Including Game Winner: Whale Win Fourth In A Row

Connecticut Whale 3, Springfield Falcons 2 (OT)

By Brian Ring

Springfield, MA, February 10, 2012 – The Whale defeated the Springfield Falcons, 3-2 in overtime, Friday night at the MassMutual Center. Wojtek Wolski had two goals, including the overtime game-winner, as the Whale won their fourth straight game in the month of February.

Jonathan Audy-Marchessault also scored for the Whale to force overtime late in the third, with goaltender Chad Johnson making 33 saves for his fourth straight personal win in net.

“That was a great goal by [Audy-Marchessault],” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander of the winger’s late tying goal. “A great shot, that was a huge goal.”

Cam Atkinson scored twice for Springfield, notching his league-leading 26th of the season in the third period.

The game started off quickly, as the Whale took advantage of an early power-play to give themselves a 1-0 lead just 1:04 into the contest. Wolski converted his second goal of the season for the Whale with the man-advantage, burying a pass from Mats Zuccarello behind Springfield goaltender Manny Legace (37 saves). Brendan Bell received the secondary assist on the goal.

The lead would not last long, as Atkinson would tie the game just 16 seconds later. Alexandre Giroux’s pass from behind the Whale goal line found the stick of the open Atkinson in the slot. Johnson appeared to get a big piece of the shot, but it still snuck in for Atkinson’s 25th goal of the campaign, assisted by Giroux and Patrick Cullity.

Legace did his part to keep the game tied for the Falcons, as the Whale fired a team season-high 23 shots on goal in the first period.

Neither team would manage to score in the second period, with the Falcons outshooting the Whale in the middle stanza, 11-8. Both power-plays were held off the board despite another pair of chances for the Whale in the second, and one extra-man opportunity for the Falcons.

The Falcons would take a 2-1 lead 6:50 into the third period on the power-play, as Atkinson was able to score his second goal of the night. A shot from Giroux rebounded off of Johnson and to Atkinson, who was able to one-time it home from the left-wing side.

Audy-Marchessault would tie the game for Connecticut with just 3:06 left to play in the third period, as he took the puck up the ice nearly end-to-end and scored on Legace with a quick snap-shot. The goal was Audy-Marchessault’s 17th of the season and came unassisted, as he intercepted a Ryan Garlock pass in the Whale zone before turning and sprinting up ice.

The Whale would need just 1:04 to win the game once it was sent to the extra session, as Wolski backhanded the game-winner past Legace to send Connecticut to their fourth straight victory. Legace dove to poke the puck away from Wolski, whose long reach enabled him to corral the puck and net the winner.

“[Wolski] was able to pressure Legace and he gave it right back to him,” said Gernander.

Connecticut will be back in action with a pair of road games this weekend, as they take on the Manchester Monarchs Saturday (7:00) and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Sunday (3:00).  The Whale will return home next Friday, when they host Falcons at the XL Center (7:00).

Tickets to all 2011-12 Whale home games, are on sale now at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, as well as on-line at www.ctwhale.com and through TicketMaster Charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000.

The Whale and the CT Hockey Hall of Fame will partner to hold a CT Hockey Hall of Fame night at the Whale’s home game at the XL Center Saturday, March 10 vs. the Norfolk Admirals.  That night will mark the enshrinement of a new class of 2012 inductees into the CT Hockey Hall of Fame, which has adopted eight members from the storied Hartford Whalers Hall of Fame.  The new inductees are: Connecticut-bred Hockey Hall of Famer Brian Leetch, ex-Hartford Whalers 56-goal scorer Blaine Stoughton, former Whalers goaltender Mike Liut, former Whalers captain Pat Verbeek, Connecticut Whale/Hartford Wolf Pack franchise icon, long-time captain and current head coach Ken Gernander, three-time Olympic medalist for Team USA and all-time NCAA women’s leading scorer Julie Chu, and one of the founders of the New England Whalers, William E. Barnes.  There will be an induction ceremony before the game, which faces off at 7:00 PM on March 10, and the new inductees will also be recognized on the ice during the first intermission.  Fans can take home a special souvenir of the March 10 night, as 5,000 Hall of Fame posters will be given away, courtesy of SuperCuts.  There will also be a special meet-and-greet event on March 10, details of which will be announced soon.  This will be the first class of inductees since 1990, and further details are available at cthockeyHOF.org.

College students can get discounted tickets to Whale weekday games with the Whale’s “Ditch the Dorms” deal.  For Monday through Friday home games, students who show a valid student ID at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center can get $2 off Upper Level tickets and $5 off Lower Level seats.

Save on your tickets, and get the best seats, with a ticket plan for the Whale’s 2011-12 AHL campaign, which are on sale now. For information on season seats, mini plans and great 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 3 (OT) at Springfield Falcons 2
Friday, February 10, 2012 – MassMutual Center

Connecticut 1 0 1 1 – 3
Springfield 1 0 1 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Connecticut, Wolski 2 (Zuccarello, Bell), 1:04 (PP). 2, Springfield, Atkinson 25 (Giroux, Cullity), 1:20. Penalties-Amadio Spr (holding), 0:49; MacLeod Spr (slashing), 3:42; Audy-Marchessault Ct (hooking), 10:24; St. Pierre Spr (slashing), 15:16.

2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Motherwell Spr (cross-checking), 7:12; Bogosian Spr (hooking), 11:09; Tanski Ct (hooking), 15:14.

3rd Period-3, Springfield, Atkinson 26 (Giroux, Regner), 6:50 (PP). 4, Connecticut, Audy-Marchessault 17   16:54. Penalties-Newbury Ct (hooking), 5:11; Erixon Ct (hooking), 9:50.

OT Period-5, Connecticut, Wolski 3 (Nightingale, Erixon), 1:04. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Connecticut 23-8-8-1-40. Springfield 12-11-12-0-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 1 / 5; Springfield 1 / 4.
Goalies-Connecticut, Johnson 14-9-5 (35 shots-33 saves). Springfield, Legace 10-15-1 (40 shots-37 saves).
Referees-Marcus Vinnerborg (45).
Linesmen-Kevin Redding (16), Chris Low (88).

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