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.
Werek also had an assist for Portland, and former Whale Chad Johnson made 32 saves for the Pirates. Brandon Segal, Micheal Haley and Tommy Grant scored for the Whale.
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.
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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).