RYDER KORCZAK SCORES FIRST CAREER GOAL, BUT WOLF PACK FALL 5-4 TO PHANTOMS IN OVERTIMENov 3, 2023
ALLENTOWN, PA – The Hartford Wolf Pack and Lehigh Valley Phantoms played an eventful, entertaining back-and-forth game on Friday night at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Wolf Pack struck twice to retake the lead in the third period, but the Phantoms would respond and eventually win in overtime by a final score of 5-4.
The Phantoms needed just 69 seconds to end the extra session, as Samu Tuomaala potted his first career overtime goal to complete the comeback for the Phantoms. Elliot Desnoyers sped into the Wolf Pack zone on the left-wing side, gaining the circle before sending a pass to the front of the net. Tuomaala won a race to the Wolf Pack net, tipping home the pass by Dylan Garand to give the Phantoms the extra point.
The Wolf Pack opened the scoring for the second game in a row, as Ben Harpur buried his first goal of the season 7:48 into the tilt. Brennan Othmann tapped a pass ahead to Alex Belzile, who raced into the Phantoms zone on the right-wing side. Harpur, meanwhile, activated up the left-wing side and slipped behind the defense, collecting Belzile’s pass and beating Felix Sandstrom for the opening goal.
Sandstrom, despite making six saves on seven shots in the first period, was removed from the game in favor of Parker Gahagen heading into the second period due to an undisclosed injury. The Phantoms responded, providing Gahagen with three goals of run support in the middle stanza.
Elliot Desnoyers tied the affair 4:09 into the period, tipping home his second goal of the season. Mason Millman fired a shot from the point that Desnoyers was able to tip by Garand. Millman would be credited with his first assist of the season, and his first of two on the night.
The Phantoms then took their first lead of the game and the season-series at 10:49, scoring a powerplay goal. After a failed clearing attempt by the Wolf Pack, the Phantoms set things up with the puck eventually finding the stick of Olle Lycksell. Lycksell snapped a shot that beat Garand for his team-leading seventh goal of the season, and his third against the Wolf Pack.
Just 42 seconds later, Jon-Randall Avon netted his second goal of the season to make it a 3-1 lead for Lehigh Valley. Avon took a pass from Tuomaala and tucked a backhand shot by Garand. The helper was Tuomaala’s second of the contest.
Hartford quickly responded, however, striking back just 21 seconds later. Mac Hollowell’s point bid was tipped in front by Matt Rempe at 11:52, giving the forward his first goal of the season.
The Wolf Pack slowly tipped the seesaw of momentum back in their favor, eventually earning a powerplay at 19:49 when Ethan Samson was whistled for slashing. In the final seconds of the powerplay, early in the third period, the Pack tied the game at three.
Jake Leschyshyn fired a puck at Gahagen that snuck through the goaltender for his first goal of the season 1:40 into the third period.
Ryder Korczak restored the lead at 4:17, firing the first goal of his professional career over the glove of Gahagen. Blake Hillman fired a stretch pass to Korczak, who entered the zone and sped into the right-wing circle. Korczak then snapped a shot over Gahagen’s glove to put Hartford ahead 4-3.
The lead would be short-lived, however. Will Zmolek took a pass at the left-wing point in the Hartford zone and fired a shot towards the net. Rhett Gardner, positioned in front of Garand, tipped the shot by the goaltender for his second goal of the season at 6:46 to make it a 4-4 game and force overtime.
69 seconds into overtime, Tuomaala would convert the two-on-one to snap the Phantoms’ three-game losing streak.
The Wolf Pack’s season-long five-game road trip continues tomorrow night when they visit the Utica Comets. The puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m., with ‘Wolf Pack Pregame’ starting live at 6:45 p.m. on AHLTV and Mixlr.
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ABOUT THE HARTFORD WOLF PACK: The Hartford Wolf Pack has been a premier franchise in the American Hockey League since the team’s inception in 1997. The Wolf Pack are the top player-development affiliate of the NHL's New York Rangers and play at the XL Center. The Wolf Pack has been home to some of the Rangers newest faces including Igor Shesterkin, Filip Chytil, and Ryan Lindgren. Follow the Wolf Pack on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.