Phantoms' Stolarz Stymies PackNov 2, 2016
By Henry Lucey
A loud crowd of 4,029 saw the Wolf Pack fall to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 4-0 Wednesday at the XL Center, in the Wolf Pack’s “Sonar’s Edu-skate” school-day morning start game.
Anthony Stolarz stopped all 33 shots he faced in the Lehigh Valley net, and defenseman T.J. Brennan had a goal and two assists for the Phantoms.
Lehigh Valley dominated the opening minutes of the contest’s first frame, holding the Pack without a shot until the 3:25 mark. Even after killing an early power play, Hartford struggled to possess the puck for extended periods of time. Brennan was given a golden opportunity to capitalize on the Phantoms’ strong start, but his breakaway attempt was denied by Hartford net-minder Magnus Hellberg (26 saves).
As the period progressed, the Wolf Pack slowly found their offensive rhythm. Hartford’s best chance to score came near the nine-minute mark, when left-winger Malte Stromwall slipped behind the Lehigh Valley defense, only to have his breakaway try deflected wide of the net by the glove of Stolarz.
Shortly after Stromwall’s bid, Brennan put the Phantoms on the scoreboard with a snap shot that beat that Hellberg on his stick side at 11:15. What appeared to be a late momentum swing in favor of Harford came to an abrupt halt when Lehigh Valley forward Cole Bardreau, deposited the rebound of Mark Zengerle’s shot into the back of Hellberg’s net, giving the Phantoms a 2-0 advantage.
Despite a seemingly renewed sense of urgency from Wolf Pack coach Ken Gernander’s club, the second period left the scoreboard unchanged. The Pack’s fast and physical approach produced sixteen shots, but none were good enough to beat Stolarz. Hartford’s defensive effort was equally dominant, allowing just six Lehigh Valley shots in the period.
As the Wolf Pack looked to build on this momentum, Phantom coach Scott Gordon’s squad had other intentions. These intentions were made clear when Lehigh Valley’s Corban Knight came up with a brilliant deflection to extend the Phantoms’ lead to 3-0, just two minutes and fifty-one seconds into the final period.
A holding penalty on Lehigh Valley forward Nic Aube-Kubel sent the Wolf Pack on their second power play of the day at 8:52, but once again, they came up empty-handed.
Lehigh Valley added another insurance goal at 14:56. The tally was recorded by Zengerle and assisted by Brennan, marking their second and third points of the game, respectively.
Following the game, Hartford right-winger, Justin Fontaine remarked, “We got to learn from our mistakes….It’s going to take all of us.”
Gernander expanded on this sentiment, saying, “There has to be a certain sense of urgency, a certain sense of desperation to rectify some of the stuff that has been going on.”
The Wolf Pack are back on home ice this Friday night, November 4, hosting the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the XL Center in a 7:15 PM game. It being a Friday, that night features $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period, and the first 2,000 fans into the game will receive a free Wolf Pack license plate cover, courtesy of Aetna.
Tickets for all Wolf Pack 2016-17 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 2016-17 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.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms 4 at Hartford Wolf Pack 0
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 - XL Center
Lehigh Valley 2 0 2 - 4
Hartford 0 0 0 - 0
1st Period-1, Lehigh Valley, Brennan 3 (Weal, Leier), 11:15. 2, Lehigh Valley, Bardreau 1 (Zengerle, Aube-Kubel), 18:52. Penalties-Glass Hfd (slashing), 0:22.
2nd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Fazleev Lv (tripping), 2:33; Stromwall Hfd (tripping), 10:16.
3rd Period-3, Lehigh Valley, Knight 2 (Brennan, Fazleev), 2:51. 4, Lehigh Valley, Zengerle 3 (Brennan), 14:55. Penalties-Aube-Kubel Lv (holding), 8:52; Fontaine Hfd (holding), 11:27.
Shots on Goal-Lehigh Valley 14-6-10-30. Hartford 7-16-10-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Lehigh Valley 0 / 3; Hartford 0 / 2.
Goalies-Lehigh Valley, Stolarz 3-2-0-0 (33 shots-33 saves). Hartford, Hellberg 3-2-0-0 (30 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Brett Iverson (56), Pierre Lambert (47).
Linesmen-Nick Briganti (58), Paul Simeon (66).