WOLF PACK KNOCK OFF AHL LEADING COMETS 2-1 IN UTICAJan 8, 2022
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack became just the second team to claim victory at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York in regulation this season on Saturday night. The Wolf Pack built a 2-0 lead on the road, then hung on for a 2-1 victory over the North Division’s top team.
Mike O’Leary held the offensive zone at the near point early in the second period, keeping the pressure going for the Wolf Pack. O’Leary then centered a pass for Cristiano DiGiacinto, who tapped a backhand feed right onto the stick of Alex Whelan. Whelan walked down the far side, electing to shoot the puck from a sharp angle. The shot fooled Utica starter Mareks Mitens, sneaking in at the 6:44 mark to give Hartford a 2-0 lead.
For just the tenth time this season, the Wolf Pack opened the scoring. Justin Richards scored his third goal of the season at 11:45 of the hockey game to break the ice. Anthony Bitetto, playing in his 200th career AHL game, attempted a cross-ice pass intended for Ty Ronning. The pass redirected off Richards, finding its way into the net just seconds into Hartford’s first powerplay of the night.
Hartford extended the lead to 2-0 6:44 into the middle frame thanks to Whelan’s tally. The Wolf Pack also had a big penalty kill late in the frame following Jake Elmer’s slashing infraction at the 12:13 mark. Adam Húska stood tall to keep the Pack up by a pair in his busiest period of the night. He was forced to make ten stops.
In the third period, the Comets were able to cut the deficit in half at the 4:14 mark on their third powerplay of the night. With Hunter Skinner in the penalty box for slashing, Frederik Gauthier deposited his third of the season by Húska. That was as close as the Comets got on this night, however.
Húska made numerous saves down the stretch, including one on Chase De Leo at the buzzer, to preserve Hartford’s first victory of 2022. The win snaps a three-game losing streak for the Pack and keeps them in third place in the Atlantic Division. Hartford is now 1-2-0-0 against the North Division this season.
The Pack is back at the XL Center on Wednesday, January 12th, when they host the Charlotte Checkers. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. and tickets are still available at 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.