Pack Return from Break with Shutout of PiratesFeb 5, 2016
(Photo by MIchael McSweeney)
Magnus Hellberg made 35 saves for his third shutout of the season, and Tommy Hughes had a goal and an assist Friday night at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, ME, as the Wolf Pack won for the tenth time in their last 11 games, beating the Portland Pirates 5-0.
The win was the most decisive of the season for the Wolf Pack, whose previous biggest margin of victory had been three goals. Hartford also had a season-high 40 shots on goal in the game, their first after the AHL All-Star break.
Adam Tambellini also had a goal and an assist for the Wolf Pack, and Nicklas Jensen, Ryan Bourque and Ryan Graves also scored. Travis Oleksuk had two assists.
“I think we had a really good team effort,” Hellberg said. “I think Portland was really good, I don’t think the score tells how the game was. But we scored on our chances, and I think that tells a lot about our team and our character right after this break, too, coming into their barn and taking two points.”
The Wolf Pack scored the only goal of the first period, with Jensen finding the net at 9:56, 13 seconds after a Hartford power play expired. Hughes fired from the right point and Jensen deflected the puck past Pirate starting goaltender Mike McKenna on the stick side.
The Wolf Pack then exploded for three goals in the first 7:56 of the second period.
First, Hartford scored its eighth shorthanded goal of the season at 3:27, with Graves getting his second goal in as many games. Oleksuk chipped the puck out of the Wolf Pack zone, sending Brian Gibbons in on a partial breakaway. McKenna sprawled to stop Gibbons’ bid but Graves followed the play toward the net, and he put the rebound into the top shelf.
The Wolf Pack made it a three-goal advantage 2:19 later, at 5:46, with Bourque scoring his tenth of the season. Chad Nehring’s shot from the right side was kicked away by the right pad of McKenna, but the rebound came to Bourque, who was easily able to bang it in from the left side of the slot.
Then, at 7:56, just two seconds after McKenna had denied Shawn O’Donnell on a penalty shot, Hughes scored from the right point, beating McKenna on the stick side after a faceoff win by Oleksuk.
That goal chased McKenna from the game, after he allowed four goals on 25 shots, in favor of Sam Brittain. Brittain stopped all 14 shots he faced the rest of the way, with the only other scoring being an empty-net goal by Tambellini. He hit the vacated net at 13:25 of the third period, from just over the red line, only 17 seconds after the Pirates had pulled Brittain in a desperation attempt to get back into the game.
The 24-20-2-0 Wolf Pack now head on to Albany, NY to battle the Albany Devils in a 5:00 PM game on Saturday. All of the action of that contest can be heard live on-line at www.979espn.com and on iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.
The next home game for the Wolf Pack is Friday, February 12, with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins visiting the XL Center for a 7:15 PM game. At all Friday-night Wolf Pack home games, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 beers, through the start of the second period.
Tickets for all remaining 2015-16 Wolf Pack home games are on sale at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.
To speak with a Wolf Pack representative about season or group tickets, or any of the Wolf Pack’s many ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.
Hartford Wolf Pack 5 at Portland Pirates 0
Friday, February 5, 2016 - Cross Insurance Arena
Hartford 1 3 1 - 5
Portland 0 0 0 - 0
1st Period-1, Hartford, Jensen 8 (Hughes, Combs), 9:56. Penalties-Weegar Por (high-sticking), 7:43; Hughes Hfd (roughing, fighting), 10:44; Brickley Por (fighting), 10:44; Wilson Por (goaltender interference), 16:56; Diaz Hfd (tripping), 19:37.
2nd Period-2, Hartford, Graves 6 (Gibbons, Oleksuk), 3:27 (SH). 3, Hartford, Bourque 10 (Nehring, Tambellini), 5:46. 4, Hartford, Hughes 2 (Oleksuk), 7:56. Penalties-Skjei Hfd (holding), 1:53; Tambellini Hfd (hooking), 18:10.
3rd Period-5, Hartford, Tambellini 12 13:25 (EN). Penalties-Simpson Por (hooking), 4:10; McFarland Por (roughing), 8:28.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 16-14-10-40. Portland 12-14-9-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 / 4; Portland 0 / 4.
Goalies-Hartford, Hellberg 17-11-0 (35 shots-35 saves). Portland, McKenna 21-9-0 (25 shots-21 saves); Brittain 5-8-0 (14 shots-14 saves).
Referees-Kendrick Nicholson (44).
Linesmen-Landon Bathe (80), Jared Waitt (62).