The old saying goes, “When it rains; it pours.” That’s the best phrase to describe the Wolf Pack 13 games into the season.
The team continues to find themselves in holes that they don’t have the offensive strength to dig their way out of. Friday night they did manage to score four goals, unfortunately two of them were for their opponent, and they lost 3-2 on the road in Manchester to the Monarchs for a franchise record eighth straight defeat.
Hartford did manage to score two in the net they were shooting at for only the second time in the last eight games. However they also managed to put two into their own as shots from Jake Muzzin, in his first AHL game, in the first period and David Kolomatis in the second hit Jeremy Williams and Ryan Garlock respectively en route towards Chad Johnson (2-8-1, 37 saves). The redirects changed direction enough that they surprised Johnson and wound up in the back of the net.
26 seconds into the game, Kris Newbury took a roughing call and put the Wolf Pack down a man early. Muzzin’s shot from above the right circle put the Pack down 1-0 at 2:02.
“We can’t afford to do some things like the unnecessary first penalty,” Head Coach Ken Gernander told reporters afterwards. “We give them a goal right off the get-go, and that’s not the way to start the game.”
The first six shots of the contest all went to Manchester, playing in front of a home crow of 3,772 at the Verizon Wireless Center.
The period ended with shots relatively even at 14-13 with an edge to the home team, but other than the poor start, the period was played evenly.
A solid start to the second frame was negated by Garlock’s holding call at 10:25. The Pack’s tenth ranked penalty killers did their job again and kept Manchester off the scorer’s sheet and 12 seconds after the penalty expired drew a Thomas Hickey holding call of their own.
With just seven seconds left in their third man advantage of the contest, excellent perimeter passing from the power play unit tired out the Monarch penalty killers and it drew dividends.
Mats Zuccarello at the right point passed down low to Tim Kennedy, who was playing in his first game after missing four games with a groin injury. Kennedy brought the puck out of the corner along the goal line and passed in front to Brodie Dupont who had position on Viatcheslav Voynov in front of Manchester starter Martin Jones (2-0-0, 25 saves). The pas hit Dupont’s stick perfectly and the fourth year pro redirected it past Jones for his first of the season.
The Pack only kept the game deadlocked for 3:26 as Kolomatis’s seemingly harmless shot from the right point hit Garlock and gave the home team back the lead. Shots were 26-22 by the end of the period and the Pack went to the lockers trailing 2-1 after two periods.
Bud Holloway scored what proved to be the game winner with just 6:37 remaining in the contest just seven seconds into a Manchester power play after rookie Ryan McDonagh took a tripping call at 13:16.
Alec Martinez came off the right half-boards and skated through to the center of the ice completely uncontested and fired a shot on net. Wade Redden, as has been the criticism of his play for a long time, left Holloway completely untouched on the left doorstep and had no difficulty taking his time to poke it in the net past Johnson.
The Pack made the score a bit closer by scoring a second tally with Johnson on the bench for a sixth attacker with just 1:10 remaining when he put a Kennedy set up pass into the net behind Jones for his third of the season.
Zuccarello had a goal and an assist while Kennedy was impressive with two helpers.
Gernander assessed Kennedy after the game. “I thought Kennedy helped, was strong in the middle, and gives us a bit more depth.”
Hartford was unable to get the puck out of their own zone after the goal so they never were able to even pull their goaltender for a shot at tying the game.
Gernander summed up the Wolf Pack situation succinctly stating, “They have to keep fighting, keep swinging.” He said. “It’s frustrating, but do you think anyone anywhere is feeling sorry for these guys?”
* According to Bruce Berlet, Dale Weise has had his cast removed after having wrist surgery and the Pack’s best player hopes to be back in the lineup by early December.
* Chad Johnson is tied for the league lead in losses and is fourth in total saves with 276.
* What must come as no surprise to anyone, the Wolf Pack do not have a single player on the roster showing up in any top offensive category anywhere.
* The Wolf Pack Power Play is ranked 18th of 29 and the Penalty Kill is 10th overall. The team has not scored or surrendered a shorthanded goal.
* The last win for the Wolf Pack was at Providence on October 17th. They are 0-6-2 since.
* Dupont’s power play goal ended a 0-25 drought with the man-advantage.
* The eight game winless streak 0-6-2-0 broke the previous worst runs from Feb. 20-March 9, 1999 when the team went 0-6-0-1 and Feb. 21-March 10, 2010 when they went 0-3-3-1.
Byers © – Newbury – J. Williams
Soryal – McKelvie – N. Williams
Dupont – Kennedy – Zuccarello
DiDiomete – Garlock – Tessier
Redden – Nightingale
McDonagh – Kundratek
Valentenko – Baldwin
(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)
Dale Weise – Broken Wrist – Four to Six Weeks
Jyri Niemi – Healthy Scratch
Tyler Donati – Healthy Scratch
Brandon Wong – Healthy Scratch
1. MCH – D. Kolomatis
2. MCH – A. Loktionov
3. HFD – C. Johnson
ON ICE OFFICIALS:
Chris Ciamaga (41)
Ed Boyle (81)
Luke Galvin (2)
With two series of home-and-homes behind them, both defeats, the Wolf Pack will look to stop the worst skid in team history as they start a home-and-home series with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Tigers are struggling almost as badly as the Pack are. Both games this weekend start at 7pm with Bob Crawford and the pregame at 6:30pm.
To watch the game live, you can purchased it for $6.99 at AHL-live.
For Ticket information call (860) 548-2000.
Hartford Wolf Pack 2 at Manchester Monarchs 3 – Status: Final
Friday, November 5, 2010 – Verizon Wireless Arena
Hartford 0 1 1 – 2
Manchester 1 1 1 – 3
1st Period-1, Manchester, Muzzin 1 (Loktionov, Elkins), 2:02 (PP). Penalties-Newbury Hfd (roughing), 0:26; DiDiomete Hfd (hooking), 9:58; Elkins Mch (interference), 12:26; Johnson Mch (misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 16:29.
2nd Period-2, Hartford, Dupont 1 (Kennedy, Zuccarello), 14:30 (PP). 3, Manchester, Kolomatis 1 (Loktionov, Moller), 17:56. Penalties-Azevedo Mch (high-sticking), 6:52; Garlock Hfd (holding), 10:25; Hickey Mch (holding), 12:37.
3rd Period-4, Manchester, Holloway 2 (Martinez, Hickey), 13:23 (PP). 5, Hartford, Zuccarello 3 (Kennedy, Williams), 18:50. Penalties-Johnson Mch (roughing), 7:59; Kundratek Hfd (slashing), 9:07; McDonagh Hfd (tripping), 13:16; Byers Hfd (high-sticking), 19:55.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 13-9-5-27. Manchester 14-12-14-40.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 1 / 4; Manchester 2 / 6.
Goalies-Hartford, Johnson 2-8-1 (40 shots-37 saves). Manchester, Jones 2-0-0 (27 shots-25 saves).
Referees-Chris Ciamaga (41).
Linesmen-Ed Boyle (81), Luke Galvin (2).