Early Pack Burst Swamps HersheyFeb 10, 2018
(Photo courtesy of Hershey Bears)
The Wolf Pack exploded for four goals in the first 8:03 of the game Saturday night at Giant Center in Hershey, PA, and cruised to a 5-2 win over the Hershey Bears.
The win was the Wolf Pack’s fourth in a row, and the team now has at least a point in a season-high ten straight games (9-0-1-0). Hartford’s season record is now 24-20-4-3 for 55 points, a high-water mark of four games above .500.
“We wanted to make sure in this building that we had a good start, and we were able to pressure pucks, use our speed and get the lead that we wanted,” Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said.
The Wolf Pack’s first-period barrage started at the 1:30 mark, on a power-play goal by Cole Schneider. With Nathan Walker in the penalty box for tripping, Schneider tipped a shot from the middle of the blue line by Vince Pedrie past Hershey starting goaltender Pheonix Copley.
Just 1:45 later, at 3:15, Eric Selleck would make it a 2-0 Wolf Pack lead with his third goal of the season. Dan Catenacci slid the puck on net while being knocked down by a Hershey defender, and Copley attempted to cover it. It slid away from him, though, and Selleck swept it into the net.
Copley’s night was ended at 7:02, when Ryan Sproul scored the Wolf Pack’s third goal on five shots, and his sixth in six games. With the teams skating 4-on-4, Boo Nieves carried into the Hershey zone and passed to the right circle. Copley had no chance on Sproul’s shot from there, with Bear defenseman Colby Williams running into his own goaltender.
Only 61 seconds after Vitek Vanecek relieved Copley, the Wolf Pack would score a fourth goal, at 8:03. Ryan Gropp and Steven Fogarty broke past the Hershey defense, and Gropp sent a perfect pass to Fogarty at the right side of the goal mouth, setting him up for an easy finish past a helpless Vanecek.
The Wolf Pack carried the momentum over into the second period, after Hershey’s Jeremy Langlois received a double-minor for high-sticking Gropp at the 20-minute mark of the first.
On that power play, Scott Kosmachuk increased the Wolf Pack lead to 5-0 only 1:08 into the second, the Wolf Pack’s third man-advantage goal of the game. Filip Chytil passed the puck off the right-wing boards, and Kosmachuk got his stick free in the slot to deflect it past Vanecek.
Hershey answered that goal at the 12:14 mark, eight seconds after a Bear power play expired. Tyler Graovac stickhandled the puck loose at the left-wing side of the goalmouth and slid it in front to Gazley, who rapped it past Wolf Pack goaltender Brandon Halverson, making his first AHL appearance of the season.
Hershey scored the only goal of the third period, with Liam O’Brien cutting the margin to three at 3:18. He got to a loose puck behind the Wolf Pack net, and came around the post to Halverson’s left and slid it in.
Halverson and his teammates shut the door after that, and Halverson finished with 31 saves, continuing a run of solid Wolf Pack netminding after Alexandar Georgiev earned a recall to the parent New York Rangers earlier in the day.
“Very nice win,” said McCambridge of Halverson’s effort. “The guys knew, as a group, that this was a real important game for everybody, but especially for him.”
The game was the first with the Wolf Pack for center John Albert and defenseman Hubert Labrie, trade acquisitions who had been with the Bears before being dealt to the Ranger organization Friday afternoon.
“I thought they were excellent,” said McCambridge of the two new additions. “I thought right away the players in that (Wolf Pack locker) room, the players that have been here, made them feel like they were part of the team, and I thought the on-ice product for all the players was really strong. Nice additions, and real good job by (Wolf Pack general manager) Chris Drury.”
The Wolf Pack continue a stretch of six straight games, and eight out of ten, on the road Tuesday night, when they make their first visit of the year to Charlotte, NC to battle the Checkers. Faceoff is 7:00 PM, and all of the action can be heard live on News Radio 1410 WPOP, and on-line at www.newsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.
The next home game for the Wolf Pack is also against Hershey, Friday, February 23, a 7:15 PM contest at the XL Center. As at all Friday-night Wolf Pack home games, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period, presented by Dave & Buster’s.
Tickets for all Wolf Pack 2017-18 home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.
Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2017-18 AHL season can be found on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com. To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451.
Hartford Wolf Pack 5 at Hershey Bears 2
Saturday, February 10, 2018 - Giant Center
Hartford 4 1 0 - 5
Hershey 0 1 1 - 2
1st Period-1, Hartford, Schneider 10 (Pedrie, Fogarty), 1:30 (PP). 2, Hartford, Selleck 3 (Catenacci, Andersson), 3:15. 3, Hartford, Sproul 10 (Nieves, Chytil), 7:02. 4, Hartford, Fogarty 8 (Gropp, Pedrie), 8:03 (PP). Penalties-Walker Her (tripping), 1:04; Schneider Hfd (slashing), 5:40; Whitney Her (tripping), 6:44; Sill Her (misconduct - unsportsmanlike conduct), 8:03; Smith Hfd (cross-checking), 16:24; Langlois Her (double minor - high-sticking), 20:00.
2nd Period-5, Hartford, Kosmachuk 12 (Chytil, Sproul), 1:08 (PP). 6, Hershey, Gazley 7 (Graovac, Ness), 12:14. Penalties-Leedahl Hfd (tripping), 10:06; Sproul Hfd (interference), 12:42; Sill Her (tripping), 16:37; Gropp Hfd (holding), 18:43.
3rd Period-7, Hershey, O'Brien 9 (Siegenthaler, G. Mitchell), 3:18. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Hartford 7-9-7-23. Hershey 10-12-11-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 3 / 5; Hershey 0 / 5.
Goalies-Hartford, Halverson 1-0-0 (33 shots-31 saves). Hershey, Copley 8-12-5 (5 shots-2 saves); Vanecek 7-7-1 (18 shots-16 saves).
Referees-Pierre Lambert (47), Corey Syvret (42).
Linesmen-Scott Pomento (25), J.P. Waleski (14).