Wilkes-Barre, PA, February 23, 2013 – Rookie defenseman Joe Morrow’s goal with 52.5 seconds left in overtime gave the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins a 2-1 win over the Connecticut Whale Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
With the win, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton moved to two points ahead of the Whale (25-22-5-2, 57 points) in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Whale currently hold down the eighth-and-final playoff spot in the conference, three points ahead of ninth-place Worcester.
Brandon Segal scored the only Whale goal Saturday, and former Whale Chad Kolarik had the other Penguin tally. Trevor Smith assisted on both Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goals. Jeff Zatkoff got the win in the Penguin net with 26 saves, and Cam Talbot stopped 30 shots for the Whale, who played the game one skater short of the roster limit of 18.
“It was a hard-fought game by us,” Segal said. “We had a depleted lineup, and it was a little rough at the start, but as the game went on we got better and better. We gave a heck of an effort and can definitely take a positive out of this game.”
The deciding goal resulted from a faceoff win by Smith in the Whale zone. He drew the puck back to the left point to Joey Mormina, and he sent it to Morrow at the middle of the blue line. Morrow’s long snap shot found its way past Talbot to end the game.
Scoring chances were scarce in the first period, in which the Whale were outshot 8-5, and the Whale’s best chance of the second period was a partial breakaway for Andrew Carroll around the seven-minute mark.
Carroll made a move to the forehand but Zatkoff got his right skate to the post, and Carroll’s try went wide. Near the end of the period, Kolarik was able to walk up the slot in the Connecticut zone, but his shot went off the crossbar behind Talbot.
The game remained scoreless headed into the third period, before the two teams traded power-play goals only 1:27 apart early in the third.
First it was Kolarik finding the net at 4:16, with Segal in the penalty box for closing his hand on the puck. Smith fed a pass across to an unchecked Kolarik at the left side of the slot, and he was easily able to bang the puck in.
The Whale responded at 5:43 on a two-man advantage, after Zach Sill was hit with a double-minor for high-sticking Kelsey Tessier only 34 seconds after Tom Kostopoulos took an interference minor.
On the five-on-three, Kris Newbury fed the puck from the right-wing faceoff dot across the slot to Segal, whose one-timer from the bottom of the left circle beat Zatkoff.
The Whale continue a two-game road weekend Sunday afternoon in Syracuse, with a 3:00 PM game against the Crunch. All of the action of that game can be heard live on “Beethoven Radio” AM 1290, as well as on-line at www.ctwhale.com. Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.
The next home game for the Whale is this Friday, March 1 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7:00 PM. As at all Friday-night Whale home games, fans that night can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 beers at the XL Center until the end of the first intermission.
For all Whale home games, tickets start as low as $10 each ($12 each when tickets are purchased on the day of the game), 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 1 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 2 (OT)
Saturday, February 23, 2013 - Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
Connecticut 0 0 1 0 - 1
W-B/Scranton 0 0 1 1 - 2
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Payerl Wbs (delay of game), 3:06.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Newbury Ct (interference), 3:19.
3rd Period-1, W-B/Scranton, Kolarik 20 (Smith, Dumoulin), 4:16 (PP). 2, Connecticut, Segal 15 (Newbury, Pyett), 5:43 (PP). Penalties-Segal Ct (closing hand on puck), 4:02; Kostopoulos Wbs (interference), 4:31; Sill Wbs (double minor - high-sticking), 5:05; Kolarik Wbs (delay of game), 18:34.
OT Period-3, W-B/Scranton, Morrow 3 (Mormina, Smith), 4:07. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Connecticut 5-8-13-1-27. W-B/Scranton 8-15-8-1-32.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 1 / 5; W-B/Scranton 1 / 2.
Goalies-Connecticut, Talbot 19-21-1 (32 shots-30 saves). W-B/Scranton, Zatkoff 17-15-0 (27 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Trent Knorr (44).
Linesmen-Scott Adams (20), Jud Ritter (34).