WHALERS WIN THIRD PERIOD, PULL AWAY FROM BELLEVILLE, 5-2
Czarnik scores game-winner, now has 12 points in four games
PLYMOUTH – With Friday’s Plymouth-Belleville game tied at 2-2 after forty minutes, Whalers left wing RJ Mahalak had an idea how the Whalers could win the game, played at Compuware Arena.
“It’s a 0-0 game going into the third period,” Mahalak said in a television interview. “We have to kill off my penalty, then work the puck down low and get a 'W' for the night.”
That’s exactly what happened as Robbie Czarnik scored the game-winning goal for Plymouth at 4:36 of the third period. Later on, the Whalers scored a pair of empty net goals to defeat Belleville, 5-2.
Plymouth improves to 5-4-1-1, while Belleville is now 3-9-0-0.
In all, Czarnik scored a goal and added two assists as the game’s first star. Czarnik’s linemates were the other stars as Stefan Noesen scored a goal (7th) and an assist as the game’s second star, while Rickard Rakell also scored a goal (4th) and contributed an assist as the game's third star.
Tyler Brown (5th) and Tom Wilson (first OHL goal) also scored for the Whalers. Richard Panik (11th) and Austen Brassard (2nd) scored for Belleville.
The game-winning goal came as the result of a turnover deep in the Belleville zone when Noesen took the puck off a Bulls defender and found Czarnik in front of the Belleville goal. Czarnik waited, cut to his right and scored over the shoulder of Bulls goaltender Tyson Teichmann.
Ironically, Czarnik scored the game-winning goal in overtime in a 6-5 victory over Kingston on October 10, set up by Noesen in almost identical fashion.
“We actually came back to the bench and were laughing and talking about how the goal (tonight) was like the Kingston goal,” Czarnik said. “We’re getting really good luck right now. We’re working hard every shift, the puck’s coming our way and we’re scoring when we get the chances.”
Czarnik – a Los Angeles Kings draft choice – rejoined the Whalers on October 10 after spending training camp with the Kings and their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, NH. The Whalers are getting a player that is trying to improve in all areas of the ice.
“It meant a lot to go to LA’s camp, because they really stress the defensive side of the puck and having good puck control,” Czarnik explained. “It’s something that I need to get better at and keep improving.”
Belleville scored on their very first shot of the game just 40 seconds into the game as Bulls captain Luke Judson found Panik on the right side of the Plymouth goal. The Bulls carried the play for the first eight minutes or so before Plymouth started to turn the game around.
The Whalers took for first lead at 2-1 with a pair of second period goals scored the same way – putting pucks to the net and then driving to the goal, looking for loose pucks and rebounds. Noesen tied the game at 5:59 (scoring on a second rebound) and then Rakell scored on a rebound of Mitchell Heard’s shot at 9:55. Brassard tied the game on a Belleville power play at 17:37, keeping the play alive in the Plymouth zone and scoring with a hard shot from the left circle past Whalers goaltender Scott Wedgewood.
That set the stage for Czarnik’s goal. Teichmann was pulled for the extra attacker with about 1:30 left, but Brown scored on a two-on-one with Alex Aleardi on the Belleville net and then Wilson scored on the empty net at 19:56 with a shot from his own zone.
Plymouth outshot Belleville, 33-22.
Plymouth remains home Saturday night at 7:05pm, hosting Mississauga (6:45pm, 88.1FM WSDP). Tickets are available by calling (734) 453-8400.