Pack Fall 7-3 in CharlotteMar 10, 2018
(Photo courtesy of Charlotte Checkers)
The Wolf Pack fell behind 3-0 in the first period, and could never battle all the way back Saturday night at Bojangles’ Coliseum in Charlotte, NC, losing 7-3 to the Charlotte Checkers in the second of back-to-back games between the two teams.
The Checkers defeated the Wolf Pack 4-3 on Friday night at Bojangles’ Coliseum.
Charlotte topped off its offense with a pair of empty-net goals, the second of which was scored by goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, the first goal ever scored against the Wolf Pack by a netminder.
In addition to the two open-netters, the Checkers also had a power-play goal and a shorthanded tally.
The Wolf Pack outshot Charlotte 10-9 in the first period, but found themselves down by a score of 3-0.
The Checkers, who were 3-for-5 on power plays in Friday’s game, opened the scoring on their first man-advantage Saturday at 11:37, after the Wolf Pack’s Scott Kosmachuk was called for hooking at 10:36.
Valentin Zykov fed the puck to the side of the net to Lucas Wallmark in the slot, and he set Greg McKegg up with an open net behind Wolf Pack goaltender Jeff Jakaitis, who was making his first Wolf Pack appearance.
“We give them a power play, and they score on it,” Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said. “We made adjustments on what we want to do on our penalty kill, and their skill players executed and capitalized, so you’re down quickly in the game.”
Roland McKeown increased the lead to 2-0 at 15:26, moving down from the right point to take a pass from Andrew Poturalski and firing a shot that went under Jakaitis’ right arm.
The Checkers then got another goal with only 19.6 seconds left in the period, with Trevor Carrick netting his seventh of the season. Nicolas Roy dragged the puck into the slot from the left side and poked it over to Carrick, who shoved it into the net.
The Wolf Pack bounced back in the second period, though, cutting the Charlotte lead to one goal by the end of the frame.
“I thought being able to get shots to the net in the first period was good, but being down, I’ll credit the guys for battling back,” McCambridge said. “I thought our second period was excellent, against a very good team.”
Kosmachuk got Hartford on the board at 4:12 with his 14th of the year, second-most on the team, off of a 2-on-1 with Boo Nieves. Nieves fed a pass from the left side across to Kosmachuk, who ripped a forehand shot past the catching glove of Charlotte starting goaltender Jeremy Smith.
Shortly thereafter, at 7:11, Smith was injured and had to leave the game, having stopped 12 of the 13 shots he faced. Nedeljkovic came on in relief, and he was beaten by Matt Beleskey at 17:25, making it a 3-2 game. The goal, Beleskey’s first in six games since joining the Wolf Pack, was set up by Nieves, who fed a pass from the right circle through Carrick’s skates to Beleskey driving the middle.
Jakaitis was then forced to face a penalty shot at 18:45, after Hubert Labrie slashed the puck away from the Checker’s Janne Kuokkanen, who was on a partial breakaway. Jakaitis, who joined the Wolf Pack Thursday from South Carolina of the ECHL, kept it a one-goal game by denying Kuokkanen’s shot toward his stick side.
Warren Foegele got what would turn out to be the game-winner, however, 7:24 into a third period that would see the Wolf Pack outshoot the Checkers 14-6. Foegele put the puck toward the front of the Wolf Pack net from low in the zone to Jakaitis’ left, and it hit the goaltender’s pads and went into the net.
Charlotte increased the lead to 5-2 with a shorthanded goal at 13:35, with McKeown in the penalty box for hooking. Patrick Brown got loose for a breakaway, and was able to put the puck through Jakaitis’ legs.
The Wolf Pack got that one back only 31 seconds later, at 14:06, one second after McKeown’s penalty expired. Lias Andersson played the puck into the middle from the right side, and Cole Schneider deflected it past Nedeljkovic, for Schneider’s third goal in the last two games.
The Wolf Pack pulled Jakaitis with just under three minutes to play, and Roy hit the empty net from around the center line at 17:38, making the score 6-3.
Only 17 seconds after that, at 17:55, Nedeljkovic would become the 13th AHL goaltender to score a goal. Jakaitis headed for the bench again as Chris Bigras sent the puck into the Charlotte zone, and Nedeljkovic stepped out of his crease to his left and grabbed control. He immediately flung it down the ice, and it slid into the vacated net before Jakaitis could get back.
“In the third period we had some grade A opportunities that we weren’t able to finish on,” McCambridge said, “and some lack of execution on our power-play breakout and the guy goes down on a breakaway. At the end of the day, you’ve got to make sure that the same type of chances you’re generating, executing in the second and third period, that you’re consistently able to do that in the first.”
The Wolf Pack’s next action is at home, this Friday, March 16th, a 7:15 PM contest vs. the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. 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 3 at Charlotte Checkers 7
Saturday, March 10, 2018 - Bojangles' Coliseum
Hartford 0 2 1 - 3
Charlotte 3 0 4 - 7
1st Period-1, Charlotte, McKegg 6 (Wallmark, Zykov), 11:37 (PP). 2, Charlotte, McKeown 6 (Poturalski, Wallmark), 15:26. 3, Charlotte, Carrick 7 (Roy, Kuokkanen), 19:40. Penalties-Foegele Cha (holding), 5:54; Kosmachuk Hfd (hooking), 10:36; Roy Cha (interference), 16:58.
2nd Period-4, Hartford, Kosmachuk 14 (Nieves, Albert), 4:12. 5, Hartford, Beleskey 5 (Nieves, Sproul), 17:25. Penalties-Lettieri Hfd (high-sticking), 4:38.
3rd Period-6, Charlotte, Foegele 25 (Bishop), 7:24. 7, Charlotte, Brown 7 (Ferrantino), 13:35 (SH). 8, Hartford, Schneider 14 (Andersson), 14:06. 9, Charlotte, Roy 9 (Kuokkanen), 17:38 (EN). 10, Charlotte, Nedeljkovic 1 17:55 (EN). Penalties-McKeown Cha (hooking), 12:05.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 10-14-14-38. Charlotte 9-10-6-25.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 / 3; Charlotte 1 / 2.
Goalies-Hartford, Jakaitis 0-1-0 (23 shots-18 saves). Charlotte, Smith 8-12-1 (13 shots-12 saves); Nedeljkovic 27-11-2 (25 shots-23 saves).
Referees-Andrew Howard (50), Jonathon Sitarski (23).
Linesmen-Ryan Townsend (2), Paul Carnathan (93).