Sexton, Albany Sink Pack, 3-1Dec 31, 2016
By Henry Lucey
Ben Sexton provided the third period-winner Saturday night, as the Albany Devils defeated the Wolf Pack by a score of 3-1 at the XL Center.
The Devils wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in their second trip to the XL Center. Just thirty-two seconds into the contest, Albany’s Jan Mandat intercepted a pass by Hartford’s John Gilmour, and connected on a turn-around shot from the right side to give the Devils an early 1-0 advantage.
After a slow start, the Pack soon found their rhythm, playing the majority of the period in Albany’s defensive zone, but Hartford was never able to capitalize.
Two of Hartford’s best chances to level the score came after Vojtech Mozik was booked for holding at the 6:10 mark. With a man-advantage, the Pack sent two strong snap-shots at Albany’s net, but Devils netminder, Ken Appleby came up with a pair of glove saves, to keep Ken Gernander’s squad off the scoreboard.
Trailing by goal, Hartford looked to build on their momentum in the second period. After Albany’s Andrew MacWilliam was whistled for boarding at 10:53, it appeared that the Pack had finally beaten Appleby, but the score was immediately waved off.
Just eighteen seconds after the ruling, Nicklas Jensen received a centering pass from Justin Fontaine and sent a one-timer off the crossbar and into the back of Appleby’s net, to tie the game at 11:46. Jensen’s goal, his fourteenth of the season, was also assisted by fellow forward Adam Tambellini, and ultimately proved to be the lone score of the period.
On the opposite end of the ice, Magnus Hellberg deterred all eleven of the shots that came his way.
With the score knotted at a goal apiece, both clubs exchanged blows for the majority of the third period. Albany was finally able to break through at 15:46, when Ben Sexton sent a slap shot from the right circle that soared over Hellberg’s glove to make the score 2-1.
Albany’s Blake Pietila added an empty-net insurance goal at the 19:13 mark, to put the final nail in Hartford’s comeback.
Following the game, Jensen remarked, “Obviously not the start we wanted, allowing a score on the first shift, but we fought back. And when you look back on that game, I think we should have had it. We had our chances and we controlled most of the game, but we made a few mistakes, they capitalized on those mistakes, and we didn’t score on our chances.”
The Wolf Pack’s next action is a trip to Wilkes-Barre, PA this Tuesday night, January 3, for a 7:05 PM game vs. the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. 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 home game for the Wolf Pack is this Friday night, January 6, with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms coming to the XL Center for a 7:15 game. As at all Friday-night Wolf Pack home games, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 that night, through the start of the second period.
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.
Albany Devils 3 at Hartford Wolf Pack 1
Saturday, December 31, 2016 - XL Center
Albany 1 0 2 - 3
Hartford 0 1 0 - 1
1st Period-1, Albany, Mandat 4 0:32. Penalties-Mozik Alb (holding), 6:10.
2nd Period-2, Hartford, Jensen 14 (Tambellini, Fontaine), 11:46 (PP). Penalties-Gilmour Hfd (interference), 8:14; MacWilliam Alb (boarding), 10:53; Pelley Alb (holding), 18:25; Bodie Hfd (tripping), 19:18; Camper Alb (charging), 19:51.
3rd Period-3, Albany, Sexton 7 (Pietila, Stollery), 15:46. 4, Albany, Pietila 12 (Rooney, Novak), 19:13 (EN). Penalties-Sexton Alb (elbowing, fighting), 6:40; Graves Hfd (fighting), 6:40; Gibbons Alb (slashing), 20:00; Helgeson Alb (interference), 20:00; Glass Hfd (roughing), 20:00.
Shots on Goal-Albany 9-11-10-30. Hartford 6-9-10-25.
Power Play Opportunities-Albany 0 / 1; Hartford 1 / 5.
Goalies-Albany, Appleby 7-4-0 (25 shots-24 saves). Hartford, Hellberg 8-8-4 (29 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Guillaume Labonte (35), Chris Brown (86).
Linesmen-Brent Colby (7), Nick Briganti (58).