Fontaine, Halverson Help Push Pack past CometsFeb 3, 2017
By Chris Kohler
Justin Fontaine scored two goals, and Brandon Halverson had 33 saves, in a 4-3 Wolf Pack victory over the Utica Comets Friday night at the XL Center.
Marek Hrivik and John Gilmour had three assists apiece for the Wolf Pack. Darren Archibald scored twice for Utica.
The Comets got on the board first, after Hartford’s Chris Brown fired a shot that hit the post and rebounded into Utica possession. The Comets’ Andrey Pedan collected the puck and fired an outlet pass to Borna Rendulic, who took the puck the length of the ice and snuck it past Halverson at 3:33 of the first period.
The Wolf Pack had several quality chances, hitting three posts in the first period, in part due to four penalties committed by Utica.
At 15:46, Hartford evened the score on one of their power play opportunities. Brown fed a pass to Steven Kampfer at the middle of the blue line, and Kampfer’s drive beat Comet goaltender Richard Bachman.
Hartford’s Chris Summers was booked for hooking at 0:55 of the second period, and Ryan Graves was called for holding at 2:40. Halverson and the Pack defense were able to kill the two-man disadvantage for 15 seconds.
While still on the power play, though, Utica’s Carter Bancks played the puck towards the goal, and it made its way to the stick of Archibald, who corralled it and deposited the puck past Halverson to make the score 2-1 for the Comets at 3:27.
The Wolf Pack would get the next three goals of the game, however, starting at the 11:03 mark of the second. Nicklas Jensen, who represented Hartford in the AHL All-Star Classic Sunday and Monday, made an excellent individual move past a defender and delivered a perfect shot into the top corner on the glove side, to even the score at two.
At 14:00, Hrivik led Fontaine with a pass in the middle of the ice, and Fontaine was able to get it past Bachman’s catching glove, giving the Wolf Pack the lead for the first time in the game.
Then, 6:15 into the third period, Fontaine gathered the puck off a rebound of a shot by Hrivik and netted it, to put the Wolf Pack up 4-2.
Utica had their chance to gain some late momentum after Philip McRae was called for slashing at 14:42, but Halverson and the defense remained strong and held off the Comet power play.
The final goal of the game came on a deflection by Archibald for his second tally of the game with 12.7 seconds remaining, but the Wolf Pack managed to hold on and secure the 4-3 victory.
“It was a big game for us coming off the (All-Star) break,” Hrivik said. “We wanted to start off on the right foot and obviously did that tonight.”
Fontaine added, “I thought we held our own, kept the lead and that’s all that matters. We got the win.”
The Wolf Pack are right back at the XL Center on Saturday night, hosting the Rochester Americans in a 7:30 PM game. The first 1,000 kids 14 years old or younger into the game will receive a free Wolf Pack youth jersey, compliments of KeyBank.
Tickets for all remaining Wolf Pack 2016-17 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 2016-17 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.
Utica Comets 3 at Hartford Wolf Pack 4
Friday, February 3, 2017 - XL Center
Utica 1 1 1 - 3
Hartford 1 2 1 - 4
1st Period-1, Utica, Rendulic 4 (Pedan), 3:33. 2, Hartford, Kampfer 3 (Brown, Gilmour), 15:46 (PP). Penalties-Valk Uti (holding), 8:14; Bancks Uti (slashing), 13:49; Carcone Uti (roughing), 16:40; McRae Hfd (roughing), 16:40; Subban Uti (holding), 17:42.
2nd Period-3, Utica, Archibald 13 (Bancks, Valk), 3:27 (PP). 4, Hartford, Jensen 20 (Hrivik, Gilmour), 11:03. 5, Hartford, Fontaine 5 (Hrivik, Gilmour), 14:00. Penalties-Summers Hfd (holding), 0:55; Graves Hfd (holding), 2:40; Rendulic Uti (roughing), 12:22; Glass Hfd (roughing), 12:22; Archibald Uti (fighting), 18:31; Brown Hfd (fighting), 18:31; Bancks Uti (high-sticking), 19:08.
3rd Period-6, Hartford, Fontaine 6 (Hrivik), 6:15. 7, Utica, Archibald 14 (Subban, Billins), 19:47. Penalties-Kunyk Uti (diving/embellishment), 4:52; Goulakos Hfd (tripping), 4:52; McRae Hfd (slashing), 14:42.
Shots on Goal-Utica 12-13-11-36. Hartford 13-5-6-24.
Power Play Opportunities-Utica 1 / 3; Hartford 1 / 4.
Goalies-Utica, Bachman 9-9-2 (24 shots-20 saves). Hartford, Halverson 6-8-0 (36 shots-33 saves).
Referees-Jake Brenk (42).
Linesmen-Kevin Briganti (39), Derek Wahl (46).