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AHL: CT Whale continue to struggle through week 2

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BY: Bob Crawford, Voice of the CTWhale

Norfolk, VA, October 20, 2012 – Special teams doomed the Connecticut Whale Saturday night at Scope Arena, in a 6-3 loss to the Norfolk Admirals, as Norfolk went 3/8 on the power-play and scored two shorthanded goals.  The defeat dropped the Whale to 0-3-1-0 on the year and gave the Admirals, who are 4-0-0-0, a sweep of a two-game series between the two clubs.  Norfolk knocked off Connecticut 5-4 in overtime on Friday night.Kyle Palmieri had a goal and two assists for the Admirals, and Sami Vatanen, Chris Wagner and Troy Bodie had a goal and an assist each.  Kyle Jean, Christian Thomas and Chad Kolarik scored for the Whale, and Kris Newbury had two assists.

The Whale got two early power plays in the first period, but not only did they fail to convert, they gave up a shorthanded goal to Bodie on the second one.  With a penalty coming against Connecticut’s Blake Parlett, who impeded Bodie coming out of his own zone, Bodie continued down left wing into the Whale end, fought off Whale defenseman Mike Vernace and put a shot past Connecticut goaltender Scott Stajcer’s glove and into the top corner.

Norfolk made it a 2-0 lead at 8:03 on a five-on-three man advantage.  Vatanen, a defenseman who had three assists in the Admirals’ win Friday, scored his first North American pro goal on a one-timer from the right circle, off of a pass from Peter Holland.

The Whale got on the scoreboard at the 16:00 mark, as Jean continued his strong early-season production.  Brandon Segal worked the puck back to Sean Collins at the middle of the blue line, and Collins’ shot hit Jean in the slot and found its way past Norfolk goaltender Frederik Andersen (32 saves).  The goal was Jean’s third, and his sixth point, in four games in his rookie season.

The Whale started slowly again in the second frame, giving up a power-play goal to Ryan Lasch only 29 seconds in.  Corey Elkins, who completed a hat trick with the overtime game-winner Friday night, circled the Whale net before passing into the slot Lasch, whose goal was his first in the North American pro ranks.

Thomas got that goal back for the Whale at 5:31 with his first of the year.  Newbury picked off a pass from Gabe Guentzel in the neutral zone and broke two-on-one with Thomas.  Newbury drew the defender to him and found a wide-open Thomas to Andersen’s right.

Special teams victimized the Whale again, though, at 18:08, with another Admiral, Wagner, notching his first pro goal, and Norfolk’s second shorthander of the game.  Bodie broke up a Whale pass just inside his own zone and made his way down the right-wing boards in the Whale end, before passing into the middle to Wagner, who just beat Connecticut’s Chris Kreider up the slot.  Wagner was able to get a backhander into the top corner over Stajcer’s catching glove.

The Whale power play’s lone bright spot came 35 seconds into the third period, when Kolarik cut Norfolk’s lead back to one with his first goal of the season.  Logan Pyett set Kolarik up below the left-wing faceoff dot, and Kolarik, who missed all last season due to a knee injury, powered a shot over Andersen on the short side.

Connecticut was never able to get the equalizer, though, and the Admirals would tack on two more later in the third.

With another Norfolk five-on-three expiring, Patrick Maroon jammed the rebound of a Vatanen shot past Stajcer (25 saves) at 13:42.  Palmieri then completed the scoring with 45 seconds left, when the puck caromed to him from behind the net and he pushed it through the pads of a surprised Stajcer.

The Whale’s next action is on home ice at the XL Center this Friday, October 26 against the Hershey Bears.  Faceoff is 7:00 PM, and, as at all Friday home games this season, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 beers until 8:00.  Tickets for that game, and all Whale regular season home games at the XL Center, are on sale now 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 Norfolk Admirals 6
Saturday, October 20, 2012 – Norfolk Scope

Connecticut 1 1 1 – 3
Norfolk 2 2 2 – 6

1st Period-1, Norfolk, Bodie 2 (Wagner), 4:33 (SH). 2, Norfolk, Vatanen 1 (Holland, Palmieri), 8:03 (PP). 3, Connecticut, Jean 3 (Collins, Segal), 16:00. Penalties-Guentzel Nor (holding), 0:40; Hendry Nor (boarding), 2:44; Vernace Ct (interference), 6:11; Collins Ct (hooking), 6:58; McMillan Nor (slashing), 16:23; Newbury Ct (unsportsmanlike conduct), 17:20; Wagner Nor (unsportsmanlike conduct), 17:20; Miller Ct (cross-checking), 18:56.

2nd Period-4, Norfolk, Lasch 1 (Elkins, Lindholm), 0:29 (PP). 5, Connecticut, Thomas 1 (Newbury), 5:31. 6, Norfolk, Wagner 1 (Bodie, Guenin), 18:08 (SH). Penalties-Jean Ct (tripping), 1:24; Segal Ct (boarding), 5:57; Vernace Ct (fighting), 5:57; Bodie Nor (double minor – head-butting (attempt, fighting), fighting), 5:57; Newbury Ct (slashing), 7:01; Maroon Nor (cross-checking), 7:01; Yogan Ct (slashing), 9:36; Miller Ct (tripping), 15:35; Lindholm Nor (holding the stick), 16:40; Andersen Nor (interference), 19:53.

3rd Period-7, Connecticut, Kolarik 1 (Pyett, Newbury), 0:35 (PP). 8, Norfolk, Maroon 3 (Vatanen, Palmieri), 13:42 (PP). 9, Norfolk, Palmieri 2 (Holland, Guenin), 19:15. Penalties-Kreider Ct (high-sticking), 11:41; Gilroy Ct (slashing), 12:57; Bodie Nor (elbowing), 15:04.

Shots on Goal-Connecticut 14-16-5-35. Norfolk 10-12-9-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 1 / 7; Norfolk 3 / 8.
Goalies-Connecticut, Stajcer 0-2-0 (31 shots-25 saves). Norfolk, Andersen 2-0-0 (35 shots-32 saves).
A-4,085
Referees-T.J. Luxmore (49).
Linesmen-Mark Hamlett (81), Luke Murray (92).

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