Skapski Blanks Norfolk in First AHL StartOct 26, 2014
The Wolf Pack (4-2-1-0) snapped a two-game losing streak when they defeated the Norfolk Admirals (2-5-0-0) 3-0 Sunday afternoon at the XL Center.
Mackenzie Skapski recorded a shutout in his first career AHL start, with 16 saves on the night.
“A shutout is a shutout,” said Hartford Coach Ken Gernander. “I think one or two timely saves kind of kills the other team’s energy or momentum and can certainly build some momentum for our guys on the bench.”
Timely saves were exactly what the Pack needed, as they limited the shots that the Admirals took in each period, (three, eight and five, respectively).
“Those are sometimes the toughest games to play in,” said Skapski, who was the First Star of the game. “You see your team really all over them and you really have to hang in there because one goal in that game and it changes the momentum and you never know what happens.”
Hartford drew first blood when an Admiral turnover in the neutral zone lad to Conor Allen finding Danny Kristo for a breakaway. Kristo came down on former Wolf Pack goaltender Jason LaBarbera and beat him on a straight five-hole shot.
“It’s huge (getting the early lead),” said Sunday’s Third Star Justin Vaive. “Especially at home, on a Sunday in a three-in-three (third game in three days. “Definitely getting that quick lead gives some momentum to us and we’ve been there before. When you get scored on quick on a Sunday, it definitely demoralizes the team a little bit and it’s a lot tougher to come back from that.”
Ryan Bourque added to the sinking of the Admirals in the second period when Dylan McIlrath found him in front of the net. Bourque, who had his back to the net when the puck found his stick, turned and fired a wrist shot that beat LaBarbera over his right shoulder to put the Pack up 2-0.
Half way through the second period, the special teams for both teams found themselves with more than their fair share of ice time, with five Norfolk penalties and four Hartford penalties in the second period alone, but neither team was able to capitalize on their man advantage.
In the third period however, Hartford’s power-play unit extended the Pack lead when Vaive found the back of the net for the first time this season. Vaive, a 6’4” 210 pound left winger, put his big frame to use in front of the net when Kristo fired the puck, and the 6’4” winger was able to tip it through LaBarbera’s legs.
“I know that’s where they want me to go (because) I’m a bigger guy so it definitely pays off to be in front of the net,” said Vaive.
The Wolf Pack are now off until this Saturday night, November 1, when they travel to the new PPL Center in Allentown, PA to meet the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Faceoff is 7:05 PM, and all of the action can be heard live on Fox Sports Radio 1410, and on-line at www.foxsportsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.
The Wolf Pack’s next home outing is Sunday, November 2, as the Worcester Sharks pay a visit to the XL Center for a 3:00 game. The Wolf Pack’s “Click It or Ticket Family Value Pack” is again featured on Sundays this year, and has been expanded to Wednesday and Thursday home games as well. The Family Value Pack features two tickets, two sodas and two hot dogs, all for only $35.
Tickets for all 2014-15 Wolf Pack home games are now on sale at the XL Center ticket office, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. Wolf Pack tickets start as low as $12 for youth 12 years old or younger.
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.
Norfolk Admirals 0 at Hartford Wolf Pack 3
Sunday, October 26, 2014 - XL Center
Norfolk 0 0 0 - 0
Hartford 1 1 1 - 3
1st Period-1, Hartford, Kristo 2 (Allen), 9:22. Penalties-Bailey Nor (interference), 1:57; Wagner Nor (cross-checking), 5:19; Miller Hfd (tripping), 6:02.
2nd Period-2, Hartford, Bourque 3 (Haggerty, Bodie), 3:22. Penalties-Kerdiles Nor (fighting), 3:58; Haggerty Hfd (roughing, fighting), 3:58; Kurtz Nor (tripping), 8:54; Manson Nor (roughing), 9:54; Winchester Nor (tripping), 11:32; Tarnasky Hfd (high-sticking), 13:43; Winchester Nor (roughing), 17:46; Tarnasky Hfd (roughing), 17:46.
3rd Period-3, Hartford, Vaive 1 (Kristo, Fast), 10:48 (PP). Penalties-Leblanc Nor (goaltender interference), 9:13.
Shots on Goal-Norfolk 3-8-5-16. Hartford 6-10-13-29.
Power Play Opportunities-Norfolk 0 / 3; Hartford 1 / 6.
Goalies-Norfolk, LaBarbera 1-2-0 (29 shots-26 saves). Hartford, Skapski 1-0-0 (16 shots-16 saves).
Referees-T.J. Luxmore (49), Ben Moser (3).
Linesmen-Kevin Redding (16), Paul Simeon (66).