Jensen Nets two More, but Pack Fall in UticaApr 14, 2017
(Photo courtesy of Utica Comets)
The Wolf Pack’s Nicklas Jensen scored two goals against his old team, the Utica Comets, Friday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium, but that was not enough to prevent a 5-4 Hartford loss, in the Wolf Pack’s second-to-last game of the season.
Jensen netted his 31st and 32nd of the year on third-period power plays, but Darren Archibald had a goal and two assists for Utica, Nikolay Goldobin scored twice, and a shorthanded goal by Andrey Pedan in third was the game-winner.
The Wolf Pack trailed 2-0, 4-2 and 5-3, but had a strong last 20 minutes, outshooting the Comets 17-5 in the third
“We almost could have had a better outcome,” Jensen said. “Our start wasn’t the greatest, our first 15 (minutes), we made a lot of mistakes. We didn’t really get it (the puck) deep when we had to, but we finished off better. If we had played a full 60 minutes like that, we would have had the win tonight, but it’s stuff we’ve got to learn from. It’s late in the season now, and we’ve got to finish off strong and know what we’ve got to bring.”
The Comets got off to a fast start in the first period, scoring twice in a 56-second span starting at the four-minute mark.
Michael Carcone opened the scoring at 4:00 with his fifth goal of the season, connecting on wraparound to the left of Wolf Pack goaltender Brandon Halverson (32 saves). Alexander Grenier got the primary assist, after he worked the puck away from Tommy Hughes in the left-wing corner.
Goldobin then made it a 2-0 Utica lead at 4:56, scoring his first Comet goal in his second game in a Utica uniform. After Utica goaltender Richard Bachman (39 saves) stopped Adam Tambellini on a one-on-one chance, following a Goldobin turnover, Curtis Valk moved down the left side in the Wolf Pack end and passed toward Goldobin, who deflected it, one-handed, past Halverson on the glove side.
The Wolf Pack answered with two scores of their own, starting with a penalty-shot goal by Dan Catenacci at 12:43. Catenacci was tripped by Carcone on a breakaway, and then converted the penalty-shot opportunity with a move to the forehand, putting the puck past Bachman’s stick side.
Ty Ronning tied the score with 2:57 left in the period, intercepting a Bachman pass in the right-wing corner and immediately throwing the puck into the goal mouth. It hit Bachman’s skates as he retreated to his goal crease and deflected into the net, for Ronning’s second goal in 11 games since joining the Wolf Pack.
Utica had 19 shots in the second period and the Wolf Pack 12, but the only goal of the period was Goldobin’s second of the game at the four-minute mark. After Halverson made a great save on a point-blank opportunity for Valk, Goldobin, stationed to Halverson’s left, jarred the puck out of the Wolf Pack netminder’s grasp and it slid over the goal line for a 3-2 Comet lead.
Archibald scored his 23rd of the year just 2:30 into the third to make it 4-2, deflecting a shot from the right point by Jordan Subban past Halverson.
The Wolf Pack answered that on a power play just 1:54 later, at 4:24, with Valk in the penalty box for high-sticking. Jensen scored on a slap shot from the left side, off assists from Vince Pedrie and Taylor Beck, with Matt Carey screening Bachman.
Hartford got another power play at 5:57, when Ashton Sautner was sent off for tripping, but this time it was the Comets who would score on the Wolf Pack man advantage. Pedan won the puck along the boards in his own and carried all the way up the left side into the Wolf Pack zone, before snapping a shot past Halverson’s catching glove at 6:55.
That goal would turn out to be important, as Jensen clicked again on a man advantage with 3:07 left and Cole Cassels serving a cross-checking minor. Beck made the play with some deft stickhandling in the slot, getting free before sending a pass to Jensen just inside the left faceoff dot, for a shot on which Bachman had no chance.
The Wolf Pack could not complete the comeback, though, and were hampered by an interference call against Pedrie at the 19-minute mark, after Halverson had been lifted for an extra attacker.
The Wolf Pack bring down the curtain on their 20th-anniversary season Saturday night in Springfield, visiting the Springfield Thunderbirds for a 7:05 PM game at the MassMutual Center. All the action can be heard live on-line at www.979espn.com and on iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.
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Hartford Wolf Pack 4 at Utica Comets 5
Friday, April 14, 2017 - Utica Memorial Auditorium
Hartford 2 0 2 - 4
Utica 2 1 2 - 5
1st Period-1, Utica, Carcone 5 (Grenier, Zalewski), 4:00. 2, Utica, Goldobin 16 (Valk, Archibald), 4:56. 3, Hartford, Catenacci 9 12:43 (PS). 4, Hartford, Ronning 2 17:03. Penalties-Sautner Uti (high-sticking), 5:37; Carey Hfd (holding), 7:27; Zalewski Uti (slashing), 19:07.
2nd Period-5, Utica, Goldobin 17 (Valk, Archibald), 4:00. Penalties-Graves Hfd (cross-checking), 4:16; Hughes Hfd (hooking), 14:48.
3rd Period-6, Utica, Archibald 23 (Subban, Robak), 2:30. 7, Hartford, Jensen 31 (Pedrie, Beck), 4:24 (PP). 8, Utica, Pedan 5 6:55 (SH). 9, Hartford, Jensen 32 (Beck, Pedrie), 16:53 (PP). Penalties-Valk Uti (high-sticking), 3:53; Sautner Uti (tripping), 5:57; Cassels Uti (cross-checking), 15:47; Pedrie Hfd (interference), 19:00.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 14-12-17-43. Utica 13-19-5-37.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 2 / 5; Utica 0 / 4.
Goalies-Hartford, Halverson 9-16-0 (37 shots-32 saves). Utica, Bachman 13-11-3 (43 shots-39 saves).
Referees-Chris Brown (86), Guillaume Labonte (35).
Linesmen-Kory Nagy (97), Matt Brady (86).