Tough First Sinks Wolf Pack in CharlotteDec 18, 2019
(Photo courtesy of Charlotte Checkers)
A four-goal first period sparked the Charlotte Checkers to a 7-1 win over the Wolf Pack Wednesday night at Bojangles’ Coliseum in Charlotte, NC, and a sweep of back-to-back games between the two teams in Charlotte.
The Checkers had won the first of the two consecutive contests, 6-3, the night before.
Former Checker Phil DiGiuseppe scored for a second straight game for the Wolf Pack Wednesday, but Julien Gauthier and Janne Kuokkanen had a goal and two assists each for Charlotte, and David Gust added three assists.
It was the Wolf Pack who jumped out to the early lead in Tuesday night’s contest, but the Checkers got the jump Wednesday, with Roland McKeown scoring only 1:52 into the game.
Spencer Smallman dropped the puck back from the slot to McKeown, and Wolf Pack starting goaltender Adam Huska got a piece of McKeown’s drive from the right point, but could not keep it out of the net.
Steven Lorentz made it a 2-0 Charlotte lead at 8:42. He dug the puck out of a scrum in the left-wing corner and handed to Gust, who immediately fed a return pass to Lorentz. He moved in from the left side, pulled the puck to his backhand and slipped it past Huska.
Wolf Pack penalty trouble led to a third Checker goal at 12:59, on a 5-on-3 power play. Boo Nieves was called for tripping at 11:15, and Vincent LoVerde took a holding minor 38 seconds later.
Julien Gauthier took the puck to the net down the right side of the slot, and, after Huska stopped his bid, Janne Kuokkanen was able to poke in the rebound.
The lead grew to 4-0 at 16:19, on a goal by Oliwer Kaski. Gauthier passed the puck from the left-wing boards to Fredrik Claesson at the middle of the blue line, and he handed it off to Kaski on the right point. His drive went through a crowd and eluded Huska on the stick side.
Igor Shesterkin replaced Huska (10 saves) in the Hartford net for the second period, and Shesterkin was victimized by a Max McCormick power play goal at 6:40, making the score 5-0. With Joey Keane off for roughing, Shesterkin stopped a drive by Kaski from the left point, but McCormick found the rebound in the slot and snapped it in off the post to Shesterkin’s left.
DiGiuseppe got the Wolf Pack on the board with his eighth goal of the season at 14:21. DiGiuseppe carried the puck down left wing in the Charlotte zone and circled the net for a wraparound try. That was denied by Checker goaltender Anton Forsberg (28 saves), but DiGiuseppe found the rebound at the right side of the slot and fired a shot high into the net.
That was the only offense the Wolf Pack were able to generate, though, and Gauthier answered that goal with 32 seconds left in the period. He took a pass from McCormick and cut down the left side of the slot, fended off a check and flipped a backhander past Shesterkin (17 saves) on the stick side.
Checker defenseman Gustav Forsling scored the only goal of the third period, connecting at 4:40 with assists from Kuokkanen and Gust. Kuokkanen moved out of the right-wing corner and into the circle, before sliding the puck across to Forsling, moving down from the left point, and he dunked it into the net.
The Wolf Pack return home to the XL Center for their last action before Christmas, a battle with the Providence Bruins this Saturday, December 21. That game faces off at 7:00.
Tickets for all 2019-20 Wolf Pack home games are on sale now at the Sunwave Gas & Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. Tickets purchased in advance for kids 12 or younger start at just $10 each, and all tickets will have a $3 day-of-game increase.
To speak with a Wolf Pack representative about season or group tickets, or any of the Wolf Pack’s many ticketing options, call (860) 722-9425, or click here to request more info. To visit the Wolf Pack on line, go to www.hartfordwolfpack.com.
Hartford Wolf Pack 1 at Charlotte Checkers 7
Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - Bojangles' Coliseum
Hartford 0 1 0 - 1
Charlotte 4 2 1 - 7
1st Period-1, Charlotte, McKeown 2 (Smallman, Bishop), 1:52. 2, Charlotte, Lorentz 7 (Gust, Kuokkanen), 8:42. 3, Charlotte, Kuokkanen 7 (Gauthier, Bean), 12:59 (PP). 4, Charlotte, Kaski 3 (Claesson, Gauthier), 16:19. Penalties-Geertsen Hfd (fighting), 1:58; Sheppard Cha (fighting), 1:58; Nieves Hfd (tripping), 11:15; LoVerde Hfd (holding), 11:53.
2nd Period-5, Charlotte, McCormick 6 (Kaski, Gust), 6:40 (PP). 6, Hartford, Di Giuseppe 8 (Ebert, Rykov), 14:21 (PP). 7, Charlotte, Gauthier 13 (McCormick, Bean), 19:28. Penalties-Markison Cha (slashing), 0:49; Keane Hfd (roughing), 5:19; Kuokkanen Cha (hooking), 12:26.
3rd Period-8, Charlotte, Forsling 2 (Kuokkanen, Gust), 4:40. Penalties-Kuokkanen Cha (hooking), 6:03.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 4-12-13-29. Charlotte 14-11-9-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 1 / 3; Charlotte 2 / 3.
Goalies-Hartford, Huska 5-3-4 (14 shots-10 saves); Shesterkin 11-4-3 (20 shots-17 saves). Charlotte, Forsberg 7-5-2 (29 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Troy Paterson (29), Furman South (44).
Linesmen-Jesse Marquis (98), Ben Shiley (21).