WOLF PACK FALL 3-2 IN SHOOTOUT TO COMETS IN ROAD TRIP OPENERJan 6, 2023
UTICA, NY – The Hartford Wolf Pack opened their four-game road trip to kick off 2023 on Friday night in Utica at the Adirondack Bank Center against the Comets. The Wolf Pack scored each of the game’s first two goals but could not hold off the Comets’ push as Utica prevailed with a 3-2 shootout decision.
In the shootout, Graeme Clarke shot first for the Comets, taking the long road from the center ice circle to the slot in front of the Hartford net. Clarke weaved hard to the right-wing side, then pivoted to the left-wing circle before wandering into the slot and firing home the controversial game-winning tally. Clarke appeared to go backward while weaving through the offensive zone, but the goal was allowed to stand.
Ryan Carpenter opened the scoring for Hartford 12:18 into the hockey game, converting on the club’s first powerplay of the night. Tanner Fritz fired a shot from the top of the right-wing circle that clipped off Carpenter’s stick and by Nico Daws for the team’s first goal of 2023. The goal gives Carpenter nine on the season, which is good for the team lead.
Brandon Scanlin would extend the lead to 2-0 just 3:22 into the second period, finding twine for the second time this season. In his 500th career AHL game, Turner Elson collected the puck at the top of the slot and found Scanlin as he gained the offensive zone. Scanlin glided into the left-wing faceoff circle and snapped a shot that cleanly beat Daws.
However, the Comets would battle back, cutting the Wolf Pack’s lead to 2-1 at 11:44 of the middle stanza. Joe Gambardella scored his fourth goal of the season, sneaking a puck through the five-hole of Louis Domingue from the side of the net.
The Comets would even the affair at 2-2 at 6:50 of the third period, as Clarke picked up his second point of the night. Clarke fired a shot that was denied by Domingue but went skyward. The puck eluded the veteran netminder and found its way into the net to eventually force overtime.
Hartford’s penalty kill was tested at the end of both regulation and overtime, as the club was forced to kill 1:50 of a Comets’ five-on-four powerplay at the end of regulation, then a four-on-three powerplay in the first ten seconds and final 17.3 seconds of the extra frame.
In the shootout, Clarke’s controversial tally put Utica ahead and would prove to be the winner. Carpenter struck iron for Hartford in the second round, while Alex Whelan was denied in the top half of the third round.
The Wolf Pack’s road trip continues tomorrow night when the club visits the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The puck drop is set for 6:05 p.m.
The Pack will return to the XL Center on Saturday, January 14th, hosting the Providence Bruins for the first time this season. The puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. Join us as we celebrate Pride Night! To get tickets, visit www.hartfordwolfpack.com.
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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.