The Wolf Pack spotted the Portland Pirates a 3-0 first-period lead Tuesday night at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine, but rebounded to score the last four goals of the game for a 4-3 victory.
It was the second straight come-from-behind win for the Wolf Pack, who erased a 3-1 third-period deficit in their 4-3 victory at Springfield on Saturday night. Tuesday’s win allowed the Wolf Pack (21-26-0-6, 48 pts.) to move past the Adirondack Phantoms and into fourth place in the AHL’s Northeast Division, and to jump past both the Phantoms and the Pirates in the Eastern Conference standings.
Conor Allen had a goal an assist for the Wolf Pack, which also got goals from Andrew Yogan and Darroll Powe, and Jesper Fast scored the game-winner with 3:30 left in the third period. Dov Grumet-Morris got the win in goal, stopping all 16 shots he faced in relief of starter David LeNeveu.
Lucas Lessio, Andy Miele and Rostislav Klesla scored the Portland goals in the first period, and Louis Domingue made 24 saves in the Pirate net.
“We started to skate in the second period,” Grumet-Morris said. “We were standing around the whole first period and we kind of left David out to dry, it could have been 5-0 if it wasn’t for Lenny (LeNeveu). I think once we kind of got our butts kicked a little bit in between periods, we started to skate, and when we do that we’re actually a very good team.
“We’re starting to develop some confidence about being able to come back, and that’s part of the learning curve for a younger team to learn how to win. We’ve been talking about it for months now and it’s starting to come to fruition.”
The Pirates dominated the opening period, outshooting the Wolf Pack 14-7 on the way to building their 3-0 lead.
Lessio opened the scoring with a breakaway goal at 8:50, after a perfect pass from David Rundblad sent him into the Wolf Pack zone. Lessio got behind Hartford defenseman Aaron Johnson and beat LeNeveu with a move to the forehand.
Miele, Portland’s leading scorer, made it 2-0 at 12:25 with his 21st of the year, just seconds after the Wolf Pack finished killing a penalty. Powe had a pass blocked near the Hartford blue line, and Tobias Rieder moved it back down deep to an unguarded Miele, who snapped a shot into the top shelf on LeNeveu’s glove side.
The Pirates stretched the lead to 3-0 with 1:59 remaining, with Klesla scoring through a screen from the top of the circles. Tim Kennedy played the puck from the right-wing side to Klesla, whose shot appeared to hit Wolf Pack defenseman Tommy Hughes in front of the net and re-direct past LeNeveu.
After Grumet-Morris replaced LeNeveu to start the second period, the Wolf Pack started to turn the tide with a pair of second-period goals, outshooting Portland 14-10 in the process.
Allen got Hartford on the board on a power play at 5:45, with Connor Murphy in the penalty box on a holding-the-stick call. Marek Hrivik passed from the right circle to Allen high in the slot, and, with Powe screening Domingue, Allen’s snapshot got through and into the goal.
Then, at 9:32, Yogan scored for a second straight game to cut the margin at 3-2. Kyle Beach found Yogan with a pass on left wing, and Yogan was able to open up an angle for himself and put the puck past Domingue on the stick side.
That was the last goal for more than a full period, until Powe lifted the Wolf Pack into a tie with his tenth goal of the season at 12:42 of the third session. Allen fed a pass to Powe at the top of the right circle, and Powe’s one-timer cleanly beat Domingue.
Then, after being bottled up in their own end for most of a shift late in the period, the Wolf Pack broke out, led by Justin Vaive. Vaive carried into the Portland zone on right wing and backhanded a pass toward the front of the net, and Fast, driving the middle, deflected it past Domingue at 16:30, for what turned out to be the game-winner.
The Wolf Pack’s next game is on home ice at the XL Center this Friday night, a 7:00 PM contest against the Hershey Bears. All Wolf Pack Friday-night home games feature $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period, presented by Marc’s Appliance Warehouse, located at 75 Prospect Ave., Hartford, CT.
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 4 at Portland Pirates 3
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - Androscoggin Bank Colisee
Hartford 0 2 2 - 4
Portland 3 0 0 - 3
1st Period-1, Portland, Lessio 18 (Rundblad, Gormley), 8:50. 2, Portland, Miele 21 (Rieder), 12:25. 3, Portland, Klesla 3 (Kennedy, Yip), 18:01. Penalties-Stamler Hfd (cross-checking), 10:14; O'Donnell Hfd (fighting), 19:30; Jones Por (fighting), 19:30.
2nd Period-4, Hartford, Allen 6 (Hrivik, Lindberg), 5:45 (PP). 5, Hartford, Yogan 5 (Beach, O'Donnell), 9:32. Penalties-Allen Hfd (holding), 1:23; served by Louis Por (bench minor - too many men), 2:57; Murphy Por (holding the stick), 5:07; Vaive Hfd (tripping), 6:29; McIlrath Hfd (tripping), 10:39; Gormley Por (tripping), 11:23; Klesla Por (hooking), 13:35.
3rd Period-6, Hartford, Powe 10 (Allen, Stamler), 12:42. 7, Hartford, Fast 10 (Vaive), 16:30. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Hartford 7-14-7-28. Portland 14-10-6-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 1 / 4; Portland 0 / 4.
Goalies-Hartford, LeNeveu 4-6-0 (14 shots-11 saves); Grumet-Morris 9-11-5 (16 shots-16 saves). Portland, Domingue 7-9-2 (28 shots-24 saves).
Referees-Mark Lemelin (41), Terry Koharski (10).
Linesmen-Joe Ross (92), Pat Turcotte (10).