HARTFORD, Conn. (March 16, 2012) –
Whale goaltender Chad Johnson made 38 saves and Connecticut held off a furious charge from the Sound Tigers down the stretch and Bridgeport fell 3-2 on Friday night in Hartford. With the win, the Whale improves to 32-20-5-5. The Sound Tigers fall to 32-21-3-5.

The Sound Tigers grabbed the early lead on the road 7:20 into the first period courtesy of their leading goal scorer. Defenseman Jon Landry intercepted a clearing attempt at the top of the left circle and fired towards the slot. Justin DiBenedetto crossed through the slot and deflected Landry’s blast past Whale goaltender Chad Johnson for his team-leading 18th goal of the season to give the Sound Tigers a 1-0 lead. The Whale had a 10-9 advantage in shots in the opening period, but Kevin Poulin was solid in net for the Sound Tigers and turned away all 10 shots as Bridgeport held a one-goal advantage after 20 minutes.

The Sound Tigers dictated much of the play in the second period, holding the puck deep in the Whale zone. However, Johnson was strong in net, and the Whale would be the team that scored in the second period. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault sent a backhand shot on net that Poulin knocked away with his right leg pad. However, the rebound came right to Casey Wellman, who buried the puck by the left post to the score at one with 3:05 left in the middle period.

Back-to-back penalties on Landry and Tomas Marcinko gave the Whale a 5-on-3 power play early in the period. The Whale took advantage with just two seconds left on the 5-on-3 power play, as Tim Erixon sent a blast from the top of the slot off Poulin’s glove and in to give the Whale a 2-1 lead 3:30 into the final period. The Whale increased its lead to two after converting on a Sound Tigers turnover, as Kris Newbury took a feed in the right circle from Wellman and beat Poulin at 17:33. The Sound Tigers cut the deficit to one as Kevin Poulin made his way to the bench for the extra skater and Trevor Frischmon knocked a loose puck past Johnson to make the score 3-2 with 1:08 left in regulation. However, Johnson made big saves in the final minute of play and the Whale held on for a 3-2 win.

The Sound Tigers continue their five-game road swing tomorrow evening when they travel to the Cumberland County Civic Center to face the Portland Pirates at 7:00 p.m.

McNeely – Marcinko – Rakhshani
Haley – Romano – Riley
DiBenedetto – Frischmon – Backman
Gillies – Cox – Oleksy

Donovan – Katic
Landry – Ness
de Haan – Wishart