(Photo courtesy of John Wright)
T.J. Hensick had a goal and an assist Saturday night at Norfolk Scope, to lead the Wolf Pack to a 3-1 victory over the Norfolk Admirals, in the teams’ last action before the AHL All-Star break.
Micheal Haley and Marek Hrivik also scored for the Wolf Pack, and Dov Grumet-Morris made 21 saves. Kevin Gagne scored the only Norfolk goal.
The win gave the Wolf Pack a split of a two-game series with Norfolk, after the Admirals and goaltender John Gibson had shut Hartford out, 1-0, on Friday night at Scope.
“After last night, and the shutout that Gibson pitched, we asked for a little bit more net-front presence,” Wolf Pack head coach Ken Gernander said. “And right away, that first goal, (Haley) is tipping (the puck) net-front, and I think that was a big part of our success tonight, and both (Hensick) and (Hrivik) capitalized with two real good shots, on two pretty good offensive plays.”
The first period was tightly played, with both goaltenders making one-on-one saves before the first goal was scored. Grumet-Morris stopped a shorthanded breakaway by Joseph Cramarossa at 16:09, shortly after Gibson waited out Hensick on a break-in, causing Hensick to put the puck off the outside of the goalpost to Gibson’s left.
The Wolf Pack finally solved Gibson at 18:27, on Haley’s fourth goal of the season. Oscar Lindberg won a puck battle with Norm Ezekiel on the left-wing boards and lifted it toward the front of the net, and Haley, with his back to Gibson, deflected it perfectly through Gibson’s legs for a 1-0 Hartford lead.
The Wolf Pack would then chase Gibson from the game in a second period in which they would outshoot Norfolk 11-5 and score twice.
After Haley’s late goal in the first period, Hrivik made it a 2-0 Wolf Pack lead only 56 seconds into the second. Brendon Nash head-manned the puck out of the Hartford zone to Hensick near the Norfolk line, and Hensick one-touched it beautifully to Hrivik, who broke past the Admiral defense and put a shot into the top corner over Gibson’s catching glove.
Hensick then ended Gibson’s night with a goal in a delayed-penalty situation at 10:36, off of a stellar three-way passing play. J.T. Miller carried the puck into the Norfolk zone and handed off to Jesper Fast high in the slot. Fast then put a behind-the-back pass right on Hensick’s stick in the left-wing circle, and Hensick also went glove-side high to beat Gibson (16 saves), who was relieved at that point by Brad Thiessen.
Thiessen stopped all ten shots he faced the rest of the way, and Gagne ruined Grumet-Morris’ shutout bid on an Admiral power play at 6:01 of the third period. With Haley off for delay-of-game, Devante Smith-Pelly and Rickard Rakell combined to move the puck from the right-wing side to Gagne just inside the left faceoff dot, and Gagne fired a shot behind Grumet-Morris.
The victory sent the Wolf Pack (18-24-0-5, 41 pts.) into the All-Star break with wins in three of their last four games and five of their last seven.
After the All-Star break, the Wolf Pack return to action this Friday night, February 14, traveling to Springfield to meet the Falcons. Faceoff is 7:00, 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 game is Saturday, February 15, a 7:00 PM contest against the AHL-leading Manchester Monarchs. The first 3,000 fans into the XL Center that night will receive their very own Dylan McIlrath bobblehead.
Tickets for all Wolf Pack 2013-14 home games are on sale now at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, 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 representative about season or group tickets, call (855) 762-6451.
Hartford Wolf Pack 3 at Norfolk Admirals 1
Saturday, February 8, 2014 - Norfolk Scope
Hartford 1 2 0 - 3
Norfolk 0 0 1 - 1
1st Period-1, Hartford, Haley 4 (Lindberg), 18:27. Penalties-Stortini Nor (tripping), 14:39.
2nd Period-2, Hartford, Hrivik 6 (Hensick, Nash), 0:56. 3, Hartford, Hensick 4 (Fast, Miller), 10:36. Penalties-No Penalties
3rd Period-4, Norfolk, Gagne 2 (Smith-Pelly, Rakell), 6:01 (PP). Penalties-O'Donnell Hfd (tripping), 3:50; Haley Hfd (delay of game), 4:25; Johnson Hfd (cross-checking), 12:14.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 7-11-8-26. Norfolk 8-5-9-22.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 / 1; Norfolk 1 / 3.
Goalies-Hartford, Grumet-Morris 7-10-4 (22 shots-21 saves). Norfolk, Gibson 15-11-4 (16 shots-13 saves); Thiessen 2-1-2 (10 shots-10 saves).
Referees-Darcy Burchell (42), Steve Patafie (85).
Linesmen-Luke Murray (92), Mark Hamlett (81).