Schneider Nets two, but Wolf Pack can't Hold off CheckersMar 9, 2018
(Photo courtesy of Charlotte Checkers)
Two goals by Cole Schneider helped the Wolf Pack build leads of 2-0 and 3-2 Friday night at Bojangles’ Coliseum in Charlotte, NC, but the Charlotte Checkers came back for a 4-3 win, in the first of back-to-back games between the two teams.
Valentin Zykov, the AHL’s leading goal-scorer, had two goals and an assist for the Checkers, and Trevor Carrick added three assists, as Charlotte went 3-for-5 on the power play. The loss dropped the 26-28-5-3 Wolf Pack to 11 points behind the Checkers for the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.
“We liked our game,” Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said. “We obviously liked the start, the energy we came out with, lots of jump, able to get up in the game. We had a strong understanding of the type of power play that team possesses on the other side, and didn’t give ourselves a chance to hold on to that lead, putting them on the power play with too many opportunities. You’ve got to stay out of the box, can’t let a dangerous power play like that on the ice.”
The Wolf Pack opened the scoring at 6:15 of the first period, on Dan Catenacci’s fourth goal of the season. After Steven Fogarty played the puck to the front of the net from below the goal line, Matt Beleskey had a shot stopped by Charlotte goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (14 saves). Beleskey was able to push the rebound out into the slot, though, and Catenacci, charging down the middle, fired it into the net.
Schneider then made it a 2-0 Wolf Pack lead with his first of the night at 14:57, with five seconds left on a Hartford power play. Ryan Sproul picked the puck up in the defensive zone from goaltender Chris Nell, and sent a long pass to Schneider behind the Checker defense. Schneider lost the puck initially but recovered, and had time to beat Nedeljkovic with a backhander on the glove side.
The Checker power play responded, though, only 1:46 later, just five seconds after the Wolf Pack’s Chris Bigras was called for tripping. Greg McKegg won a faceoff to Carrick at the left point, and he fed across to the opposite point to Lucas Wallmark. He one-timed the puck, and it hit Zykov, who was tied up with a Wolf Pack defender to Nell’s right, and deflected into the goal.
Vince Pedrie was called for hooking with two seconds left in the first, and Charlotte capitalized on that man advantage 31 seconds into the second, to tie the game.
Again it was Carrick starting the play from the left point, with a pass across to Wallmark in the right circle. He immediately slapped it to Zykov, stationed just to the right of Nell (19 saves), who had no chance on Zykov’s close-in bid. That goal was Zykov’s 30th on the year.
The tie lasted into the third period, before Schneider was able to put the Wolf Pack back on top with his second of the game at 5:42 of the third.
After a Filip Chytil pass from the right side missed Vinni Lettieri, Schneider tracked the puck down, and his shot from just inside the left faceoff dot hit Charlotte defenseman Josiah Didier and deflected past Nedeljkovic.
“I thought Cole was excellent tonight,” McCambridge said. “The forward unit was real strong, lots of speed. I thought our [defense] did a great job advancing pucks out of the D-zone and coming through the neutral zone, but it’s nice to see Cole get rewarded for all his hard work and leadership.”
Charlotte would have a quick answer again, though, with Janne Kuokkanen tying the game back up at 9:02, just 3:20 after Schneider’s tally. A feed by Nicolas Roy found Kuokkanen on the right side, and he took a big windup from the top of the circle and blasted a slap shot past Nell’s catching glove.
The Checkers then got the winning goal on a power play at 13:31, after Catenacci was called for delay of game for shooting the puck over the glass at 12:49. This time it was a Carrick shot that caused trouble for the Wolf Pack, a drive from the left point that hit the goal post behind Nell and deflected right to Andrew Poturalski in the left circle. He had plenty of time to rip it into the net before Nell could react.
The Wolf Pack and Checkers clash again Saturday night at Bojangles’ Coliseum, wrapping up an eight-game season series. Faceoff is 6:00 PM, and all of the action can be heard live on News Radio 1410 WPOP, and on-line at www.newsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.
The next Wolf Pack home game is next 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 4
Friday, March 9, 2018 - Bojangles' Coliseum
Hartford 2 0 1 - 3
Charlotte 1 1 2 - 4
1st Period-1, Hartford, Catenacci 4 (Beleskey, Fogarty), 6:15. 2, Hartford, Schneider 12 (Sproul, Nell), 14:57 (PP). 3, Charlotte, Zykov 29 (Wallmark, Carrick), 16:43 (PP). Penalties-Brown Cha (boarding), 3:42; Bigras Hfd (hooking), 11:55; Kichton Cha (interference), 13:02; Bigras Hfd (tripping), 16:38; Pedrie Hfd (hooking), 19:58.
2nd Period-4, Charlotte, Zykov 30 (Wallmark, Carrick), 0:31 (PP). Penalties-Kosmachuk Hfd (roughing), 7:18; Zykov Cha (roughing), 7:18.
3rd Period-5, Hartford, Schneider 13 5:42. 6, Charlotte, Kuokkanen 7 (Roy, Samuelsson), 9:02. 7, Charlotte, Poturalski 16 (Carrick, Zykov), 13:31 (PP). Penalties-Lettieri Hfd (hooking), 1:53; Catenacci Hfd (delay of game), 12:49.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 6-6-5-17. Charlotte 10-5-8-23.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 1 / 2; Charlotte 3 / 5.
Goalies-Hartford, Nell 7-8-0 (23 shots-19 saves). Charlotte, Nedeljkovic 26-11-2 (17 shots-14 saves).
Referees-Andrew Howard (50), Jonathon Sitarski (23).
Linesmen-Tim Lyons (33), Ben Shiley (21).