Whale finish off Bridgeport in OT

(theahl.com) — The Bridgeport Sound Tigers finally beat Cameron Talbot. But it wasn’t enough.

Casey Wellman‘s goal 16:36 into overtime gave the Connecticut Whale a 4-3 win over their in-state rivals and wrapped up a three-game sweep of their best-of-five Eastern Conference quarterfinal series on Sunday evening in Hartford.

The Whale are the first team through to the second round of the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs. Their opponent will be determined after the four conference semifinalists are re-seeded following the first round.

“Everybody is contributing and pulling their weight and that’s what it takes and that’s why it’s been such a good feeling tonight,” said Whale head coach Ken Gernander.

Wade Redden found Wellman at the right-wing circle with time winding down on a Connecticut power play, and Wellman — who scored the series-winning for Houston in Game 7 of their second-round series with Milwaukee last spring — beat Kevin Poulin for his first goal of the series.

Marek Hrivik, signed to an amateur tryout by the Whale on Mar. 31, scored twice and Ryan Bourque also scored for Connecticut, which never trailed in the game.

After making 83 saves in shutting out Bridgeport in both Games 1 and 2, Talbot finally yielded a goal with 15.8 seconds left in the first period when Justin DiBenedetto scored, sending the game into the intermission tied at 1-1.

David Ullstrom (10:32) and Rhett Rakhshani (16:39) scored in the third period as the Sound Tigers rallied from two more one-goal deficits to force overtime.

Talbot finished with 44 saves on the game and stopped 127 of 130 shots in the series (3-0, 0.92, .977). Poulin made 50 saves in the loss.