Comets Trip Wolf Pack, 4-3Oct 29, 2016
By Henry Lucey
Despite a promising start, the Wolf Pack fell to the Utica Comets, 4-3, Saturday night at the XL Center.
Following a disappointing loss, 5-1 to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the night before, the Wolf Pack came out with a renewed sense of urgency on Saturday, dominating the majority of the first period.
At 2:26 Utica’s Wacey Hamilton was booked for tripping, sending the Pack on an early power play. Hartford used the man advantage to draw first blood, when Boo Nieves shot the puck into the corner of the Utica zone and it caromed to the front of the net. With Utica goaltender Richard Bachman out of position trying to play the puck, Tanner Glass had an easy tap-in goal at 2:52.
The score did little to ignite Utica’s offense, as the Pack did not surrender a shot-on-goal until the 8:20 mark. The tide began to turn, however when Hartford’s Nicklas Jensen was whistled for tripping at 14:55. Just twenty-two seconds after the Pack killed off the penalty, Utica’s Cody Kunyk notched his first goal of the season, leveling the score at 1-1.
Then, what looking to be a promising start evaporated into a two-goal deficit in the period’s final sixty seconds. The Comets added a power play goal after Chris Summers was sent to the penalty box for slashing at 19:25. The goal was scored by Jordan Subban seven seconds later, with assists from Derek Hulak and Michael Chaput. Less than fifteen seconds after that tally, Utica added to their lead when Curtis Valk beat Hartford goalie Mackenzie Skapski on a breakaway at 19:46, making the score 3-1.
After these late difficulties in the first, the Pack were able to re-focus in the game’s second frame. Both teams upped their physicality and it appeared that the period would go without a score, until Utica’s Michael Chaput was whistled for hooking at 18:52. With a man advantage, Hartford’s Ryan Graves drove a one-timer past Bachman at the 18:58 mark. The score, Graves’ second of the young season, was assisted by captain Mat Bodie, and Nieves.
The Wolf Pack pulled back into a tie at 5:38 of the third period, on a goal credited to Nieves. Michael Paliotta fired a shot from the blue line, and Nieves was able to deflect it up in the air in front of Bachman. It hit Bachman in the shoulder, rolled down his back and went into the net.
The Comets had the last word at 13:42, though, with Hulak getting what would turn out to be the game-winner. On a 3-on-2 break in the Wolf Pack zone, Borna Rendulic passed to Hulak in the right circle, and Hulak’s shot went off of Graves and past Skapski.
The Wolf Pack’s next action is their third annual “Sonar’s Edu-skate” school-day game this Wednesday, November 2 at the XL Center vs. the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Faceoff is 11:00 AM, and for information on bringing a school group to the Edu-Skate game, contact the Wolf Pack ticket office at (855) 762-6451.
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.
Utica Comets 4 at Hartford Wolf Pack 3
Saturday, October 29, 2016 - XL Center
Utica 3 0 1 - 4
Hartford 1 1 1 - 3
1st Period-1, Hartford, Glass 3 (Nieves), 2:52 (PP). 2, Utica, Kunyk 1 (Archibald, Subban), 17:17. 3, Utica, Subban 4 (Hulak, Chaput), 19:32 (PP). 4, Utica, Valk 3 (Shields, Billins), 19:46. Penalties-Hamilton Uti (tripping), 2:26; Joly Hfd (delay of game), 9:53; Hamilton Uti (holding), 12:46; Jensen Hfd (tripping), 14:55; Summers Hfd (slashing), 19:25.
2nd Period-5, Hartford, Graves 2 (Bodie, Nieves), 18:58 (PP). Penalties-Bodie Hfd (high-sticking), 12:35; Chaput Uti (hooking), 18:52.
3rd Period-6, Hartford, Nieves 2 (Paliotta, Summers), 5:38. 7, Utica, Hulak 3 (Rendulic, Shields), 13:42. Penalties-Carey Hfd (hooking), 2:42.
Shots on Goal-Utica 11-12-12-35. Hartford 13-11-10-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Utica 1 / 5; Hartford 2 / 3.
Goalies-Utica, Bachman 2-2-0-0 (34 shots-31 saves). Hartford, Skapski 0-3-0-0 (35 shots-31 saves).
Referees-Peter MacDougall (45).
Linesmen-Kevin Briganti (39), Derek Wahl (46).