Nieves' three Points Help Lift Pack Past CometsNov 17, 2018
By Philip Oliver
Boo Nieves had a goal and two assists, and Ville Meskanen, Tim Gettinger and Cole Schneider added a goal and an assist apiece Saturday night, as the Wolf Pack downed the Utica Comets 6-3 at the XL Center.
Brandon Crawley also scored for the Wolf Pack, Gabriel Fontaine added an empty-netter, and Peter Holland had two assists. Reid Boucher and Lukas Jasek had a goal and an assist each for Utica.
The Comets went ahead twice in the first period, first at 6:04, when Boucher scored his tenth goal in 11 games on the season, firing a shot past the catching glove of Wolf Pack goaltender Marek Mazanec (30 saves).
The Wolf Pack answered only 1:51 later, at 7:55, with Meskanen’s fifth of the year. He kept the puck on a 2-on-1 and beat the stick side of Utica rookie backstop Connor LaCouvee (23 saves), who was making his first career AHL start.
Meskanen said of his adjustment to playing in North America, in his first year over from Finland, “The first games were tough getting used to it, but now I’m pretty comfortable.”
Ashton Sautner put the Comets back in front at 11:19 with a power-play goal, only five seconds before the end of a slashing penalty on Matt Beleskey. Sautner got a feed from Boucher in the left circle and put a high shot behind Mazanec.
The Wolf Pack power play got that goal back at 16:29, with Dylan Blujus off for tripping. A Nieves pass across the slot from the left side hit Gettinger’s skate and went into the net.
The only goal of the second period was Nieves’ second in three games since his return from injury. He got a perfect pass from Beleskey on a 2-on-1 and one-timed the puck in from the right circle.
“Beleskey has been around the league for a while,” Nieves said, “so I trusted his decision to wait to pass it off, and all I had to do was hit the empty net.”
That was it for the scoring until the two teams combined for four goals in the last 2:14 of the third period.
Schneider scored on a power play at 17:46, giving the Wolf Pack the first two-goal lead of the night. After a Nieves try went wide, Gettinger directed the puck to Schneider in the slot for the finish.
After the Comets pulled LaCouvee for an extra skater, Fontaine hit the empty net from just across the center line at 18:41, for his first goal of the season.
Crawley scored with 38.9 seconds left to make it 6-2 for the Wolf Pack, as his shot from the right point hit LaCouvee’s shoulder and found its way behind him.
Jasek completed the scoring with 9.3 seconds on the clock, as he deflected a shot from high in the slot by Jaime Sifers past Mazanec.
The Wolf Pack are right back at the XL Center Sunday, hosting the Rochester Americans in a 3:00 PM game. That is another chance to take advantage of the Wolf Pack’s “Click It or Ticket Family Value Pack”, which includes two tickets, two hot dogs and two sodas, all for just $40.
Tickets for all 2018-19 Wolf Pack 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. Tickets purchased in advance for kids 12 or younger start at just $13 each, and all tickets will have a $3 day-of-game increase.
Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2018-19 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, or click here to request more info.
Utica Comets 3 at Hartford Wolf Pack 6 - Status: Final
Saturday, November 17, 2018 - XL Center
Utica 2 0 1 - 3
Hartford 2 1 3 - 6
1st Period-1, Utica, Boucher 10 (McEneny, Jasek), 6:04. 2, Hartford, Meskanen 5 (Holland, Gropp), 7:55. 3, Utica, Sautner 1 (Boucher, Dahlen), 11:19 (PP). 4, Hartford, Gettinger 7 (Nieves, Meskanen), 16:29 (PP). Penalties-Beleskey Hfd (slashing), 9:24; Blujus Uti (hooking), 11:52; Blujus Uti (tripping), 16:08; Crawley Hfd (delay of game), 18:16.
2nd Period-5, Hartford, Nieves 2 (Beleskey, Gilmour), 14:02. Penalties-served by Jasek Uti (bench minor - too many men), 2:49; Butler Hfd (hooking), 18:12.
3rd Period-6, Hartford, Schneider 5 (Gettinger, Nieves), 17:46 (PP). 7, Hartford, Fontaine 1 (Schneider), 18:41 (EN). 8, Hartford, Crawley 2 (Holland, Hajek), 19:21. 9, Utica, Jasek 5 (Sifers), 19:50. Penalties-Fogarty Hfd (tripping), 3:09; Graham Uti (high-sticking), 9:26; Chatfield Uti (interference), 16:36.
Shots on Goal-Utica 17-8-8-33. Hartford 10-10-9-29.
Power Play Opportunities-Utica 1 / 4; Hartford 2 / 5.
Goalies-Utica, LaCouvee 0-1-0 (28 shots-23 saves). Hartford, Mazanec 4-4-2 (33 shots-30 saves).
Referees-Olivier Gouin (54), Conor O'Donnell (41).
Linesmen-Kyle Richetelle (47), Paul Simeon (66).