Pack Victimized by Checker Comeback in OpenerOct 6, 2017
By Ben Harff
A three-goal Charlotte Checker comeback stunned the Wolf Pack Friday night at the XL Center, as the Wolf Pack saw a 4-2 third-period slip away in a 5-4 loss, in the 2017-18 season opener for both teams.
Warren Foegele’s second goal of the game with 59.8 seconds left gave the Checkers the win, after Valentin Zykov had tied the score on a power play at 13:06.
The Wolf Pack struck first just 54 seconds into the opening night action. Defenseman Ryan Graves received the puck from Dan Catenacci and let a shot go, and Cole Schneider was there to bang home the rebound.
At 11:59 of the first Hartford goaltender Alexander Georgiev was called for delay of game after handling the puck outside of the goalie’s trapezoid, giving the Checkers the first power play chance of the night.
The Wolf Pack killed off the penalty, but just 16 seconds later, at 14:15, Charlotte’s Patrick Brown quickly re-entered the offensive zone and passed to Foegele, who snapped a shot past Georgiev.
The Wolf Pack was then given an opportunity to test their power play unit at 18:04 of the third, as Zykov was penalized for high sticking. Despite good puck movement and some quality scoring chances, the Pack could not convert on their first man-up opportunity.
The Wolf Pack did regain the lead just 2:25 into the second period, as Ryan Gropp snagged the puck in the high slot and wristed a shot just under the blocker of Charlotte’s goalie, Alex Nedeljkovic. The goal, Gropp’s first as a pro, was unassisted.
At the 9:28 mark of the second period, Hartford doubled its lead. Captain Joe Whitney converted on a beautiful pass from Matt Puempel, with the second assist going to Garrett Noonan. Just 30 seconds later, Charlotte’s Trevor Carrick picked up a penalty for slashing. The Wolf Pack’s John Gilmour, though, was assessed a holding penalty at 10:28 to make it 4-on-4 play.
Charlotte scored in the 4-on-4 to cut the lead in half. It was Lucas Wallmark who got the pass from Andrew Miller and beat Georgiev blocker side. Dennis Robertson also got a helper.
The third period had a similar start as the first two, with the Wolf Pack striking early. Just 2:42 into the period, Adam Tambellini shoved in a rebound goal assisted by Scott Kosmachuk.
Charlotte showed life later the third when they cut the lead in half again, this time making it 4-3. Brown fed to Phil Di Giuseppe, who found Aleksi Saarela for the goal at 9:42.
The Checkers finally converted their fifth power play opportunity into a goal. Zykov received a pass from Carrick and ripped a perfect shot over Georgiev’s stick-side shoulder at 13:06. The power play chance came from a hooking call on Alexei Bereglazov 11:51 into the third.
After a flurry of action from both sides, Foegele netted the winner at 19:00, converting a back-door pass from Brown at the post to Georgiev’s right. The Wolf Pack pulled Georgiev for an extra attacker but could not counter Foegele’s goal.
The Wolf Pack are right back at the XL Center this Sunday, October 8, hosting the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in a 5:00 PM game. Each of the Wolf Pack’s Sunday home games features the Wolf Pack’s “Click It or Ticket Family Value Pack”. The Family Value Pack includes two tickets, two sodas and two hot dogs, all for just $35.
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.
Charlotte Checkers 5 at Hartford Wolf Pack 4
Friday, October 6, 2017 - XL Center
Charlotte 1 1 3 - 5
Hartford 1 2 1 - 4
1st Period-1, Hartford, Schneider 1 (Graves, Catenacci), 0:54. 2, Charlotte, Foegele 1 (Bishop, Brown), 14:15. Penalties-Georgiev Hfd (delay of game - restricted area), 11:59; Zykov Cha (high-sticking), 18:04.
2nd Period-3, Hartford, Gropp 1 2:25. 4, Hartford, Whitney 1 (Puempel, Noonan), 9:28. 5, Charlotte, Wallmark 1 (Miller, Robertson), 11:20. Penalties-Carrick Cha (slashing), 9:55; Gilmour Hfd (holding), 10:19; Bereglazov Hfd (holding), 12:01; Brown Cha (cross-checking), 18:33.
3rd Period-6, Hartford, Tambellini 1 (Kosmachuk), 2:42. 7, Charlotte, Saarela 1 (Di Giuseppe), 9:42. 8, Charlotte, Zykov 1 (Tolchinsky, Carrick), 13:06 (PP). 9, Charlotte, Foegele 2 (Brown, Samuelsson), 19:00. Penalties-Gropp Hfd (slashing), 3:17; Carrick Cha (slashing), 4:18; Bereglazov Hfd (hooking), 11:51.
Shots on Goal-Charlotte 10-6-8-24. Hartford 6-10-12-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 1 / 5; Hartford 0 / 4.
Goalies-Charlotte, Nedeljkovic 1-0-0-0 (27 shots-23 saves); Smith 0-0-0-0 (1 shots-1 saves). Hartford, Georgiev 0-1-0-0 (24 shots-19 saves).
Referees-Furman South (44), Stephen Thomson (15).
Linesmen-James Tobias (61), Brent Colby (7).