Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Whale 6, Phantoms 5 (OT) 1/23

It has been a long time since the Phantoms last won a game in Hartford.

Brandon Segal scored with 57 seconds left in overtime as the Connecticut Whale thwarted the Adirondack Phantoms’ comeback and skated away with a 6-5 victory Wednesday night at XL Center.

Adirondack rallied from a 5-1 deficit with four consecutive goals – including two in the final two minutes of regulation – but ultimately could not break a seven-year streak of losses in Hartford.

The Phantoms franchise has not won at the XL Center since a 3-2 shootout victory on Dec. 10, 2005.

The Phantoms were then based in Philadelphia, the Whale was called the Hartford Wolf Pack and the United Hockey League’s Adirondack Frostbite had a goalie named Derek Gustafson on their roster. He is not to be confused with current Phantoms defenseman Erik Gustafsson, who had yet to enroll in college.

Segal’s overtime winner was his second tiebreaker of Wednesday night.

Mashinter and Adirondack’s Danny Syvret traded goals in the first period, but Segal snapped the 1-1 tie before first intermission with a power play goal that got past Adirondack goaltender Cal Heeter. It marked the first of four straight Whale goals, as Connecticut went on to build a 5-1 lead midway through the game.

Brandon Mashinter, Jason Wilson, Kelsey Tessier and Micheal Haley (power play) also scored for Connecticut, with Haley’s goal capping the Whale’s three-goal second period 10:33 into the frame.

But the Phantoms stormed back with four special teams goals of their own to force overtime.

Harry Zolnierczyk scored less than two minutes after Haley’s goal and Rob Bordson got a shorthanded marker early in the third period as the Phantoms cut the deficit to 5-3.

They pulled goaltender Brian Boucher, who relieved Heeter after Tessier scored the Whale’s fourth goal, for an extra attacker late in the third period and got a power-play tally from Jason Akeson with 1:45 left. With Boucher still on the bench, rookie Marcel Noebels found the equalizer with 21 seconds to go.

Noebels’ fourth goal in his past five games gave the Phantoms (17-19-2-1) a standings point, but defenseman Brandon Manning fired a shot high and wide in overtime. Moments later, at the other end of the ice, Segal skated in from the backdoor and chipped the puck past Boucher to end the game.

Connecticut, which received 34 saves from rookie goalie Jason Missiaen, improved to 18-20-3-1.

Heeter finished with 16 saves. Boucher stopped 11-of-13 shots in relief and took the loss.

The Phantoms host Albany at 7 p.m. Friday, then visit the Devils at 2 p.m. Saturday.

More after practice tomorrow.


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