Tag Archives: Kenny Roche

ONE DOWN, ONE TO GO

Charlotte Checkers     VERSUS     Cincinatti Cyclones

 

CHECKERS BLANK CYCLONES TO FORCE GAME 7

Munce Earns Second Shutout Of Series In 3-0 Win Over Cincinnati

The Charlotte Checkers entered Tuesday night facing elimination. One stunning performance in between the pipes by Ryan Munce and three different Checkers scoring goals and Charlotte will host a Game Seven battle at the Time Warner Arena Wednesday night.

Cincinnati entered the game Tuesday night needing just one win to advance to the Conference finals, but the Checkers put three behind Cyclones starter, Jeremy Smith (25 saves, 29-19-1)  to even the conference semifinal series at 3-3.

The Cyclones threw shots at Munce (25 saves, 32-18-2) from every angle, but the Mississauga, Ontario native was up to the challenge and blanked the visitors for the second time in the series. 

Kenny Roche notched what proved to be the game-winning goal very early into the contest. He also would add an assist on Andrew Carroll’s fourth of the playoffs. Randy Rowe also scored for the home team, while Wolf Pack defenseman Julien Brouillette, on loan to Charlotte for the playoffs, chipped in with two assists.

With the win, the Checkers improve their home record to 4-1 in the playoffs.

The Checkers opened the scoring on their first shot of the game just 2:24 into the first period. After Cincinnati put considerable pressure on Munce, the Checkers responded. Matt Stefanishion laid a big hit along the boards freeing the puck up for Trevor Hendrikx. Hendrikx then took it to the net and fed Roche who tapped it in from the top of the crease for his third goal of the playoffs. Roche’s goal was the Checkers first of the game after seven by the Cyclones.

Early in the second, Charlotte was handed a 5-on-3 man advantage when Cincinnati was assessed a tripping penalty to Dustin Sproat and then a delay of game infraction put forward Mark Van Guilder in the box as well. The Checkers worked the puck down low and back to the point. The Cyclones didn’t make it easy for their hosts blocking several shot attempts and keeping Charlotte to the outside, maintaining a 1-0 game.

Cincinnati forward Barret Ehgoetz was called for a goaltender interference penalty late in the period and the Checkers went to work on another power play. Aaron Slattengren grabbed the puck down low and fed Brouillette who fired a one-timer from the left point. Rowe was in the slot and tipped the puck down and past Smith who on the replay didn’t appear to see it through the traffic in front of him. The power-play goal came at 18:50 of the second period and put the Checkers up 2-0.

Early in the third, the puck took a strange bounce and landed on the stick of Michel Leveille who fired a shot at Smith from the slot but the rookie netminder scrambled to make an impressive pad save.

Munce then responded to his Cincinnati counterpart when he did the splits and gloved a Jimmy Kilpatrick slap shot from the high slot.

With less than seven minutes to play in the third period, Carroll broke in alone on Smith, faked the shot, went to the backhand but was denied by Smith’s left arm.

Charlotte then took a 3-0 lead with 6:14 to play when Brouillette entered the zone on a 3-on-1 and launched a pass cross-ice to Carroll. The rookie took the pass on the right-wing side and fired a wrist shot which deflected off Smith’s shoulder and into the top corner for his fourth of the postseason.

Munce then shut the door for the remaining six minutes and the Checkers walked away with a 3-0 victory, setting the stage for Game 7 tomorrow in Charlotte.

Charlotte (6-4) will host Cincinnati for Game 7 tomorrow in Charlotte (7 p.m.).

Tickets are now on sale and information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com/playoffs.

  
GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

 

 NOTES:

* Ryan Munce leads the ECHL with two postseason shutouts

* Aaron Slattengren leads the Checkers with 10 points (2g, 8a) in the playoffs while Mike Taylor leads the team with five goals

* Matt Schepke is on a four-game point streak (4g, 2a)

* Charlotte is 12-2 in its last 14 home games

* Charlotte clinched its first division title and #1 conference seed in franchise history heading into the playoffs

* Ryan Munce led the ECHL in save percentage (.913), was third in wins (26) and was named ECHL Goaltender of the Month for March

* Andrew Carroll led the Checkers this season with 30 goals, including six game winners
 

 
LINES:

Taylor – Leveille ©Slattengren
Rowe – Bartlett – Roche 
Doig – Carroll – Stefanishion
Marshall

Schaefer – Brouillette  
Nightingale – Reynolds
Hendrikx – Ward

Munce
Zemlak


(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)


SCRATCHES:
Dave Urquhart – Healthy Scratch
Mike Berube – Healthy Scratch
Brock Bradford – Healthy Scratch 
Matt Schepke – Upper Body Injury 
Daniel Tkaczuk – Upper Body Injury


THREE STARS

1. CHR – R. Munce 
2. CHR – K. Roche 
3. CHR – J. Brouillette


ON-ICE OFFICALS:

Referee:
Keith Kaval (20)

Linesmen:
Mathieu Chenier (71)
Mike Hamilton (80)


NEXT GAME:

GAME SEVEN…need we say more? Jason Shaya and Chris Snavely with the call from the Time Warner Cable Arena starting at 7pm.

For live in-game coverage from your cell phone or computer, we’ll have the action for you at www.twitter.com/howlingstoday.

You can always buy tickets for any Checkers game home or away at Ticketmaster.com.

Should you want to watch this very exciting team from the comfort of your computer chair, all Checkers games are available on B2Live.


SCORE-SHEET:

Cincinnati Cyclones 0 At Charlotte Checkers 3 – Status: Final

Apr 27, 2010 – Time Warner Cable Arena

Cincinnati 0 0 0 – 0

Charlotte 1 1 1 – 3

1st Period-1, Charlotte, Roche 3 (Hendrikx), 2:24. Penalties-Stefanishion Chr (hooking), 9:35; Del Monte Cin (slashing ), 15:19; Doig Chr (slashing ), 17:37.

2nd Period-2, Charlotte, Rowe 1 (Slattengren, Brouillette), 18:50 (pp). Penalties-Sproat Cin (tripping), 0:11; Van Guilder Cin (delay of game), 2:04; Slattengren Chr (slashing ), 4:58; Ehgoetz Cin (interference on the goalkeeper), 17:24.

3rd Period-3, Charlotte, Carroll 4 (Brouillette, Roche), 13:46. Penalties-Stefanishion Chr (roughing), 4:54; Sheahan Cin (holding), 10:17; Benson Cin (unsportsmanlike conduct, unsportsmanlike conduct), 16:36; Stefanishion Chr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 16:36; Ehgoetz Cin (roughing), 18:47; Hendrikx Chr (double – roughing), 18:47.

Shots on Goal-Cincinnati 12-7-6-25. Charlotte 5-13-10-28.

Power Play Opportunities-Cincinnati 0 of 5; Charlotte 1 of 7.

Goalies-Cincinnati, Smith 6-4-1-0 (28 shots-25 saves). Charlotte, Munce 6-4-0-0 (25 shots-25 saves).

A-2,456

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CHECKERS REPEL CYCLONES TO EVEN SERIES

Charlotte Checkers     VERSUS     Cincinatti Cyclones

 

CHECKERS EVEN SERIES WITH 4-1 WIN OVER CYCLONES

Schepke Scores Twice As Charlotte Ties Conference Semifinal Series 2-2

The Charlotte Checkers responded with their best hockey in desperate times and bounced back from Wednesday’s Game 3 shellacking with a dominating 4-1 victory Friday night against the Cincinnati Cyclones at the US Bank Arena.

With the win, the Checkers even the American Conference Semifinal series at 2-2 with Game 5 to be played Saturday in Cincinnati and guarantee themselves at least one more home game Tuesday night at the Time Warner Cable Arena.

Charlotte outshot Cincinnati 31-19 and carried the play for the better part of the game. Ryan Munce (18 saves, 31-17-2) redeemed himself after Wednesday poor showing. Offensively, Matt Schepke led his teammates notching two goals.

Cyclones goaltender Jeremy Smith (27 saves, 28-18-1) was outstanding throughout the game. Smith kept his teammates in the game making one spectacular save after another, but could not hold off the more determined visitors. His best save came on a sliding pad save with the Checkers pressing on the power play early in the first period. The Checkers were relentless firing everything they could at the rookie netminder and put nine of the game’s first 10 shots on the Cyclones goal.

With just 46 ticks of the clock to go in the first frame, the Checkers finally broke through when Schepke advanced the puck with speed down the right wing with David Marshall on a 3-on-1 odd man rush and fired a wrist shot into the top corner of the net past Smith.

Emotions began to take over as the period came to a climax as tempers flared resulting in several unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and a fight between Charlotte’s Andrew Carroll and Cincinnati’s Ryan Del Monte. Carroll, who as a rookie has been the Checkers leading goal scorer with thirty, leads the ECHL with three postseason fighting majors to go along with his three goals.

But the Cyclones were not just going to go off into that good night. Seven minutes into the second period, Cyclones forward Brett Robinson picked up the puck at his own blueline off of a Charlotte turnover and broke in alone on a shorthanded breakaway. He was then hauled down and awarded a penalty shot. On the free attempt, Robinson faked the shot and slid the puck between Munce’s legs to tie the game at 1-1.

Minutes later the Checkers were handed back-to-back penalties, first to Kenny Roche for a hooking call and then to Carroll on a lazy tripping call, and were forced to kill off a 5-on-3 Cincinnati power play. Munce stood on his head making several point blank stops while the Charlotte defenders held their ground and got in the lanes blocking shots to keep it a tie game.

Checkers forwards Marshall and Schepke entered the Cyclones’ zone just minutes after killing off their shorthanded disadvantage and came on another odd-man rush, this of the 2-on-1 variety. This time though, Smith shut the door with an acrobatic pad save.

The Checkers would break the deadlock with 4:55 remaining in the second frame on a goal by Trevor Hendrikx. Michel Leveille got the play started first with a solid play keeping the puck in the Cyclones’ zone and dished a pass over to Mike Taylor. Taylor then got the puck back to Hendrikx on the left point and fired a wrist shot past Smith’s glove for his second of the post season.

After two periods, the Checkers held a 22-11 shot advantage and seemed in total control of the game.

But as they continue to show in this series, the Checkers are not laying back. Early in the third Charlotte upped their forecheck pressure and fired shot after shot at Smith. The Cyclones best player stood his ground and kept it a one-goal game.

But the pressure coming from Charlotte was more than Cincinnati could handle as the Checkers took a 3-1 lead. Randy Rowe chipped the puck down low to Carroll who backhanded a pass to Schepke in the high slot. Smith came out to challenge the shot but Schepke would tally his second of the contest with a shot that beat the rookie five-hole. The goal came at the 8:57 mark of the third period.

Exactly one minute later, Jared Nightingale made it a 4-1 game when he blasted a slap shot from the point that deflected off a Cincinnati defender and into the back of the net.

The Checkers withstood a great many cheap shots and aggression by Cincinnati and stayed smart and composed to hold on for the 4-1 victory.

These two teams will meet again Saturday night in the pivotal Game 5. Should the Checkers win they would have two shots at Time Warner Cable Arena to advance to face Reading in the conference final.

Tickets for Game 6 Tuesday night in Charlotte will go on sale Saturday afternoon. Information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com/playoffs.


GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET


PENALTY SHOTS
  Cincinnati
 
# Shooter # Goaltender Period Time Goal? Rule
76 Brett Robinson 1 Ryan Munce 2nd 7:44 Yes 55.5

 


NOTES:

* Charlotte is 11-2 in its last 13 home games

* The Checkers are the ECHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche (Lake Erie Monsters) and the New York Rangers (Hartford Wolf Pack). Cincinnati is the NHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators (Milwaukee Admirals)  and the Montreal Canadiens (Hamilton Bulldogs).

* Mike Taylor (5g, 3a), David Marshall (4g, 4a), Andrew Carroll (3g, 5a) and Aaron Slattengren (1g, 7a) all lead the Checkers with eight points each

* Matt Schepke is on a three-game goal streak (4g)

* Charlotte clinched its first division title and #1 conference seed in franchise history heading into the playoffs

* Ryan Munce led the ECHL in save percentage (.913), was third in wins (26) and was named ECHL Goaltender of the Month for March

* Andrew Carroll led the Checkers this season with 30 goals, including six game winners


LINES:

Taylor – Leveille ©Slattengren
Rowe – Doig – Marshall
Roche – Carroll – Stefanishion
Schepke

Nightingale – Brouillette 
Urquhart – Reynolds
Hendrikx – Ward

Munce
Zemlak


(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)


SCRATCHES:
Mike Bartlett – Recall with Milwaukee Admirals
Mike Berube – Healthy Scratch
Brock Bradford – Healthy Scratch
Kevin Schaeffer – Healthy Scratch
Daniel Tkaczuk – Upper Body Injury


THREE STARS

1. CHR – M. Schepke
2. CHR – T. Hendrikx
3. CHR – M. Leveille


ON-ICE OFFICALS:

Referee:
Tim Mayer (11)

Linesmen:
Mike Hamilton (80)
Matt Macpherson (83)


NEXT GAME:

Jason Shaya and Chris “The Greek” Snavely will call the series most pivotal fifth game from the US Bank Arena starting at 7:30pm.

For live in-game coverage from your cell phone or computer, we’ll have the action for you at www.twitter.com/howlingstoday.

You can always buy tickets for any Checkers game home or away at Ticketmaster.com.

Should you want to watch this very exciting team from the comfort of your computer chair, all Checkers games are available on B2Live.


SCORE-SHEET:

Charlotte Checkers 4 At Cincinnati Cyclones 1 – Status: Final
Apr 23, 2010 – U.S. Bank Arena

Charlotte 1 1 2 – 4
Cincinnati 0 1 0 – 1

1st Period-1, Charlotte, Schepke 3   19:14. Penalties-Kilpatrick Cin (delay of game), 1:03; Carroll Chr (fighting – major), 17:01; Del Monte Cin (fighting – major), 17:01; Slattengren Chr (hooking), 19:43; Brouillette Chr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:59; Aubin Cin (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:59; Reynolds Chr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 20:00; Lacroix Cin (unsportsmanlike conduct), 20:00.

2nd Period-2, Cincinnati, Robinson 3   7:44 (ps). 3, Charlotte, Hendrikx 2 (Taylor, Leveille), 15:05. Penalties-Del Monte Cin (high-sticking), 6:19; Roche Chr (hooking), 9:53; Carroll Chr (tripping), 10:45; Lacroix Cin (tripping), 11:59; Sproat Cin (hooking), 18:30.

3rd Period-4, Charlotte, Schepke 4 (Carroll, Rowe), 8:57. 5, Charlotte, Nightingale 1 (Slattengren, Leveille), 9:57. Penalties-Stefanishion Chr (holding), 3:08; Marshall Chr (fighting – major), 10:20; O’Hanley Cin (fighting – major), 10:20; Doig Chr (roughing), 10:52; Jozsa Cin (roughing), 10:52; Robinson Cin (slashing ), 10:52.

Shots on Goal-Charlotte 11-11-9-31. Cincinnati 4-8-7-19.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 0 of 5; Cincinnati 0 of 4.
Goalies-Charlotte, Munce 5-3-0-0 (19 shots-18 saves). Cincinnati, Smith 5-3-1-0 (31 shots-27 saves).
A-3,250

CHECKERS JUMPED IN GAME ONE

Charlotte Checkers     VERSUS     Cincinatti Cyclones

CHARLOTTE EDGED, 4-3, BY CINCINNATI IN SERIES OPENER

Checkers Lose For Only Second Time In Last 12 Home Games

The Charlotte Checkers held a two-goal lead early in the second period but could not hold on as they were edged, 4-3, by the Cincinnati Cyclones in Game 1 of the American Conference Semifinals on Friday evening.

The loss snaps a three-game win streak for the Checkers and is only their second loss at home in the last 12 home games. Charlotte went 2-for-5 on the power play and Cincinnati scored while shorthanded. The Cyclones had 16 shorthanded goals during the regular season, leading the entire ECHL. The regulation loss was the Checkers’ first defeat when leading after two periods, including the playoffs, all season (28-1-3-2).

Charlotte opened the scoring midway through the first period on a power-play goal by David Marshall. David Urquhart fired a wrist shot from the point through traffic and Marshall was parked in the slot and redirected his third of the playoffs past Cincinnati starter Jeremy Smith (21 saves, 5-1-1).

Two minutes later, Cincinnati defenseman Kevin Roeder was assessed a penalty for roughing up Randy Rowe behind the Cyclones net.

The Checkers went to work on the power play and tallied for the second straight time. Kenny Roche would score his second of the post-season. Rowe worked the puck along the left side boards before firing a slap shot at Smith between the pipes. Aaron Slattengren took a swing at the rebound and missed but Roche found the puck and deposited it into the back of the cage.

The Cyclones got on the board with four minutes to play in the period off a 3-on-2 odd-man rush. Brett Robinson skated down right-wing and launched a pass across the crease that found the blade of Dustin Sproat who redirected it past Ryan Munce (23 saves 5-3-2), cutting Charlotte’s lead in half.

Early in the second, (2:06) the Checkers gave themselves a two-goal lead for the second time when they made it a 3-1 game on Mike Taylor’s fourth goal of the playoffs. Julien Brouillette, just back from the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL), started the play with a stretch pass up to Michel Leveille on the right-wing side. Leveille then drove wide around a Cincinnati defender and sent a backhanded saucer pass to Taylor who sent it past Smith.

With 3:24 left in the period, Roeder went off to the sin bin for elbowing granting the Checkers another man-advantage. But it was the Cyclones who would take advantage just 10 seconds into the Checker power play as Maxime Lacroix tipped a Matt Pierce wrist shot past Munce. The shorthanded goal was Lacroix’ first goal since being returned from the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL) prior to the game.

The Checkers’ power play went to work again early in the third and created many scoring chances but Smith rose to the occasion and kept the score 3-2.

Charlotte was just never fully emotionally engaged in the game and Cincinnati just kept consistent pressure on the puck until they could find an open door.

The Checkers gave the Cyclones that opening at 9:25 of the final frame when defenseman Brett Motherwell let go what seemed like a harmless shot from the corner. Munce, who was solid all game long, was unable to squeeze it in his pads and it trickled by the Charlotte netminder for the equalizer.

With less than five minutes to play, Cyclones forward Brett Robinson would score what would prove to be the game-winner when he entered the Checkers’ zone and fired a wrist shot that went through the legs and deflected off the pants of defenseman Steve Ward. Munce lost the puck and it went over his catching glove and found the top corner of the net.

The deficit woke the Checker’ up from their doldrums and they played inspired desperate hockey the final few minutes of regulation, but it was too-little-too-late, and they are down a game in their best of seven series.

Remember, Charlotte lost the first game on the road to Toledo in the last series and came back to win it. They will need a stronger effort for a full sixty minutes when they lock up with the Cyclones for Game 2 at 7pm Saturday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com/playoffs.

 

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

 

NOTES:

* Charlotte is 10-2 in its last 12 home games

* Mike Taylor leads the Checkers with four goals and two assists in the playoffs

* Charlotte clinched its first division title and #1 conference seed in franchise history heading into the playoffs

* The Checkers had the four largest crowds in the ECHL this season

* Ryan Munce led the ECHL in save percentage (.913), was third in wins (26) and was named ECHL Goaltender of the Month for March

* Andrew Carroll led the Checkers this season with 30 goals, including six game winners.

 

LINES:

Taylor – Leveille ©Slattengren
Roche – Carroll – Bartlett
Rowe – Tkaczuk – Marshall
Stefanishion

Hendrikx – Ward
Schaeffer – Brouillette
Urquhart – Reynolds

Munce
Zemlak

 

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 
SCRATCHES:
Mike Berube – Healthy Scratch
Matt Schepke – Healthy Scratch
Brock Bradford – Healthy Scratch
Jared Nightingale – Healthy Scratch
Tyler Doig – Healthy Scratch

 

THREE STARS

1. CIN – B. Robinson
2. CHR – K. Roche
3. CHR – R. Rowe

 

ON-ICE OFFICALS:

Referee:
Geno Binda (15)

Linesmen:
Mathieu Chenier (71)
Paul Reid (97)

 

NEXT GAME:

Jason Shaya and Chris Snavely will call Game Two at the Time Warner Cable Arena at 7pm.

For live in-game coverage from your cell phone or computer, we’ll have the action for you at www.twitter.com/howlingstoday.

You can always buy tickets for any Checkers game home or away at Ticketmaster.com.

Should you want to watch this very exciting team from the comfort of your computer chair, all Checkers games are available on B2Live. 

SCORE-SHEET:

Cincinnati Cyclones 4 At Charlotte Checkers 3 – Status: Final

Apr 16, 2010 – Time Warner Cable Arena

Cincinnati 1 1 2 – 4

Charlotte 2 1 0 – 3

1st Period-1, Charlotte, Marshall 3 (Urquhart, Tkaczuk), 11:07 (pp). 2, Charlotte, Roche 2 (Bartlett, Rowe), 14:15 (pp). 3, Cincinnati, Sproat 2 (Robinson, Motherwell), 16:00. Penalties-Robinson Cin (roughing), 9:15; Roeder Cin (roughing), 13:07; Stefanishion Chr (roughing), 16:10; Eddy Cin (roughing), 19:39; Marshall Chr (roughing), 19:39.

2nd Period-4, Charlotte, Taylor 4 (Brouillette, Leveille), 2:06. 5, Cincinnati, Lacroix 1 (Pierce), 16:36 (sh). Penalties-Pierce Cin (high-sticking), 5:52; Tkaczuk Chr (hooking), 11:03; Roche Chr (slashing ), 14:02; Roeder Cin (elbowing), 16:26.

3rd Period-6, Cincinnati, Motherwell 1 (Roeder), 9:25. 7, Cincinnati, Robinson 1 (Kilpatrick), 15:38. Penalties-Kilpatrick Cin (slashing ), 4:20; Stefanishion Chr (roughing), 7:22; Sheahan Cin (delay of game), 16:58.

Shots on Goal-Cincinnati 9-7-11-27. Charlotte 9-4-11-24.

Power Play Opportunities-Cincinnati 0 of 4; Charlotte 2 of 6.

Goalies-Cincinnati, Smith 4-1-1-0 (24 shots-21 saves). Charlotte, Munce 3-2-0-0 (27 shots-23 saves).

A-2,013

CHECKERS GROWING STRONGER

Charlotte Checkers On Monday night, it was fair to say that the Charlotte Checkers were easily one of the three best teams in the East Coast League and that they were already playing the best hockey in the league. One of the team’s best players, Kenny Roche has been returned to the team after a stint with Providence in the American League and will be in the lineup tonight as the Checkers take on Gwinnett at the Time Warner Cable Arena.

But given that Hartford and Lake Erie, the two primary recipients of the Checkers’ best players, don’t appear headed to the playoffs, they are likely to receive back Julien Brouillette and Jared Nightingale. Matt Ford and Randy Rowe could return to The Tar Heel State and make this team even stronger.

The Checkers have only lost once in their last ten games (9-1-0-0) and are peaking at just the right time.

This could be a VERY long run in the playoffs for Michael Kahn’s team.

Here’s the official release:

ROCHE RE-JOINS CHECKERS FOR PLAYOFF RUN

Tenacious Winger Expected To Be In Line-Up Tonight Vs. Gwinnett

Charlotte Checkers head coach and general manager Derek Wilkinson announced today that winger Kenny Roche has been returned to the team from the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League.

Roche, who is under ECHL contract with the Checkers, was loaned to the Bruins on Mar. 6 in the midst of a five-game point streak. In 11 games with Providence, the native of South Boston, Mass. recorded two assists.

In 36 games with the Checkers, Roche has 17 goals and 16 assists, including three goals and six assists in the five games prior to being called up. He also spent 14 games with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack earlier this season where he notched four goals and four assists.

Roche is expected to join the Checkers for tonight’s game against Gwinnett.

The Checkers (41-21-7) will host Gwinnett tonight at 7 p.m. for their last ever regulation game in the ECHL at Time Warner Cable Arena. Ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com. Season tickets for the inaugural 2010-11 AHL season are now on sale and 40-game packages start as low as $200.

CHECKERS NAIL WHEELING

Charlotte Checkers     VERSUS       Wheeling Nailers      

CHECKERS STRIKE EARLY, EDGE NAILERS IN SHOOTOUT
Munce Stops 34 of 36; Carroll Scores Shootout Winner

The Charlotte Checkers started their three-game northern road swing with a win as they edged the Wheeling Nailers, 3-2, in a shootout on Friday evening.

Ryan Munce rebounded from Wednesday’s loss to Cincinnati with 34 saves on 36 shots for his 16th win of the season. Andrew Carroll notched his third shootout-winning goal of the season, tying him for first in the ECHL while Kenny Roche added two assists to extend his point streak to five games.

The Checkers got things going just four minutes into the game on a goal by team captain Michel Leveille. Aaron Slattengren chipped the puck from the high slot past a Wheeling defender and onto the stick of Leveille who then faked Teslak and wrapped the puck around the sprawling goaltender’s pads.

Later in the period, Wheeling would tie the game when Casey Pierro-Zabotel took the puck out from a scrum in the corner, skated behind the net and passed it out into the slot. Defenseman Kyle Bushee took the pass and fired a wrist shot over the glove of Munce who seemed to be interfered with on the play.

Charlotte killed a late 5-on-3 Wheeling power play and Munce stood his ground keeping the game tied at 1-1 through the first 20 minutes.

The Checkers would take their second lead of the game late in the second period on a great play by Kenny Roche. Roche, at end of his shift, stripped the puck from a Wheeling defenseman on the forecheck and fed Ryan Crane in the high slot. Crane made no mistake and let a hard wrist shot go that beat Teslak high over the glove.

The Nailers applied pressure in the third period, however Munce was solid and made several key stops, including a split-save to rob leading scorer T.J. Fox.

With time winding down in regulation, Charlotte was assessed a hooking penalty and Wheeling pulled its goaltender for the 6-on-4 advantage. A point shot resulted in a scrum in front and Noah Clarke dug the puck free and stuffed it home to tie the game at 2-2 with 50 seconds to play.

After a scoreless overtime in which the Checkers killed an early penalty, the two teams prepared for a shootout. In the shootout, Wheeling took an early 2-1 lead before Leveille beat Teslak low blocker to tie it up with one shooter remaining for each team. Jordan Morrison was stopped by Munce before Andrew Carroll skated in, faked right and beat Teslak with a shot that hopped over the pad and in.

The Checkers (31-20-6) will continue their road trip tomorrow and Sunday in Toledo before returning home on Thursday, Mar. 11 to host Gwinnett. The puck drops at 7 p.m. and ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com. Season tickets for the inaugural 2010-11 AHL season are now on sale and 40-game packages start as low as $200.

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

SHOOTOUT
Wheeling shoots first for each round.
Charlotte Wheeling
# Shooter Score
19 Aaron Slattengren Yes
22 David Marshall No
16 Kenny Roche No
11 Michel Leveille Yes
12 Andrew Carroll Yes
Score # Shooter
Yes 9 Billy Ryan
Yes 23 Mitch Ganzak
No 26 Jordan Fox
No 17 Andrew Lord
No 22 Jordan Morrison
 
Totals: 3 2  

 

STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA STK P 10 PIM
1. South Carolina Sting Rays 62 35 16 5 6 81 215 193 0-1-1-1 4-3-1-2 848
2. Florida Everblades 60 32 19 4 5 73 199 183 6-0-1-0 7-1-1-1 1101
3. Charlotte Checkers 57 31 20 3 3 68 200 186 1-0-0-0 5-5-0-0 1205
4. Gwinnett Gladiators 58 26 26 4 2 58 203 224 0-2-0-0 3-6-1-0 938

 

SCOREBOARD:

The Checkers next opponent, Toledo got two goals each from Maxime Tanguay and J.C. Sawyer one their way to bedeviling Trenton 5-3. The Cyclones swept through South Carolina and got the point deuce with a 4-2 win over the Sting Rays. Dominic Osman had a hat trick leading the second place Everblades over last place Gwinnett, 7-5. Elmira got an overtime winner over Johnstown 5-4. Idaho dismantled Bakersfield 5-0. On the West coast Las Vegas scored FOUR times in the third period, two from Ned Lukacevic including one that was a short-handed penalty shot and the game tying goal came from ex-Wolf Pack forward, Alex Bourret’s feed and went on to win in a shoot out over ex-Checker goalie Curtis Darling and the Ontario Reign, 7-6. was leading Las Vegas3-1 late and despite giving up two in the third period, Victoria won on the road beating Stockton 5-3.

 

NOTES:

* Scott LaGrand was tonight’s backup goaltender du jour. LaGrand is 40 years old and hasn’t played sine 2000-2001. He’s an old teammate of Head Coach Derek Wilkinson’s from their days together during the 1994 – 1995 season in the IHL with the Atlanta Knights. Wilkinson had LaGrand on the bench in uniform because Eddie Giacomin couldn’t get there in time. 🙂 We kid, but understand that finding a suitable backup / spot starter at this time of the season isn’t an easy task for Wilkinson to pull off.

*  For Devin DiDiomete fans, he was a factor in this game. He’s getting his legs back and is playing VERY strong hockey for Charlotte. He’s coming close in terms of scoring. He got three real good chances in this game. We’re predicting he breaks through against Toledo this weekend. He’s right there. Once he gets the monkey off his back, he’ll start pouring in the goals. He was a 20 goal scorer in juniors. He can do it.

* Kenny Roche has a five-game point streak (3g, 7a)

* Ryan Munce is 8-4-1 in his last 13 games

* Andrew Carroll leads the team with 23 goals and ranks tied for first among all ECHL players with three shootout-winning goals

* T.J. Reynolds leads the ECHL with 237 penalty minutes and leads the Checkers with a +19 rating

* Julien Brouillette and Derek Couture are up with Hartford (AHL), Ethan Graham is with Texas (AHL) while Matt Ford and Randy Rowe are with Lake Erie (AHL)

 

LINES:

SlattengrenLeveille © – Roche
Schepke – Tkaczuk – Stefanishion
DiDiomete – Taylor Carroll
Marshall

Berube– Reynolds
Dowzak – Schaeffer
Ward – Crane

Munce
LaGrand

 

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

SCRATCHES:

Jean-Philipp Chabot – Healthy scratch
Tyler Doig – Lower Body Injury – Day-to-Day
Julien Brouillette – Recall in Hartford
Trevor Glass – Lower Body – Mid-March
Chris Snavely – Upper Body – 2-3 weeks
Codey Burki – Undisclosed – Season over
Chris Chappell – Shoulder Surgery – Season over

 

THREE STARS:

1. CHR – A. Carroll
2. CHR – K. Roche
3. WHL – A. Clarke

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Keith Kaval (20)

Linesmen:
Ray King (39)
Zach Roberts (77)

 

NEXT GAME:

The team has a four plus hour ride from Wheeling to Toledo where they will spend the weekend with a back-to-back with the Walleye.  After that they come home for three straight with Gwinnett.  Jason Shaya will be on the air at 7pm.

For live in-game coverage from your cell phone or computer, we’ll have the action for you at www.twitter.com/howlingstoday.

You can always buy tickets for any Checkers game home or away at Ticketmaster.com.

Should you want to watch this very exciting team from the comfort of your computer chair, all Checkers games are available on B2Live.

 

SCORE-SHEET:

Charlotte Checkers 3 (SO) At Wheeling Nailers 2 – Status: Final SO

Mar 5, 2010 – WesBanco Arena

Charlotte 1 1 0 0 – 3

Wheeling 1 0 1 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Charlotte, Leveille 15 (Slattengren, Roche), 4:09. 2, Wheeling, Bushee 6 (Pierro-Zabotel, Boogaard), 13:01. Penalties-Fox Whl (boarding), 9:23; Roche Chr (holding), 14:02; Slattengren Chr (roughing), 14:48; DiDiomete Chr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 18:37; D’Aversa Whl (unsportsmanlike conduct), 18:37; Schmidt Whl (slashing ), 19:36.

2nd Period-3, Charlotte, Crane 4 (Roche), 18:16. Penalties-Crane Chr (roughing), 5:46; Power Whl (roughing), 5:46; Roche Chr (hooking), 7:12; DiDiomete Chr (fighting – major), 9:48; Clarke Whl (tripping), 9:48; Lord Whl (fighting – major), 9:48; Slattengren Chr (tripping), 19:56.

3rd Period-4, Wheeling, Clarke 18 (Fox, D’Aversa), 19:10 (pp). Penalties-DiDiomete Chr (misconduct), 13:48; Power Whl (slashing ), 13:48; Marshall Chr (hooking), 17:19; Reynolds Chr (delay of game), 19:35.

OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Higgins Whl (unsportsmanlike conduct), 5:00.

Shootout – Charlotte 3 (Slattengren G, Marshall NG, Roche NG, Leveille G, Carroll G), Wheeling 2 (Ryan G, Ganzak G, Fox NG, Lord NG, Morrison NG).

Shots on Goal-Charlotte 4-11-6-3-1-25. Wheeling 13-8-12-3-0-36.

Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 0 of 4; Wheeling 1 of 6.

Goalies-Charlotte, Munce 16-13-1-1 (36 shots-34 saves). Wheeling, Teslak 11-15-2-3 (24 shots-22 saves).

A-3,116

THREE STRAIGHT

Charlotte Checkers     VERSUS       Cincinatti Cyclones     

CHECKERS DOWNED BY CYCLONES 5-3 
strong>Charlotte Outshoots Cincinnati 34-15, Comes Out Empty-Handed

The Charlotte Checkers badly outshot the Cincinnati Cyclones 34-15 but unable to walk away with the win as they were downed, 5-3, for just the second time in the last 11 home games.

It was a night of firsts – Cincinnati made its first ever trip to Time Warner Cable Arena, defenseman Tysen Dowzak scored his first ever professional goal and injured blueliner Chris Snavely called his first ever radio broadcast. Just hours prior to the game, Miika Wiikman was traded by the New York Rangers to the Phoenix Coyotes leaving the Checkers without a backup goaltender for the evening. Charlotte broadcaster Jason Shaya then suited up in a backup role while Snavely replaced him in the radio booth.

Cyclones goaltender Jeremy Smith stopped 31 of 34 shots while Ryan Munce made 11 saves in a losing effort. The two teams would exchange goals seven times before the night was over.

Cincinnati opened the scoring just over seven minutes into the game on a shorthanded goal by Barret Ehgoetz. Scott Reynolds chipped the puck past a Checkers defender at the far blueline and Ehgoetz broke in alone on Munce beating him with a shot that trickled between the legs and in for his 21st of the season.

Charlotte, still with the man advantage, would tie it up a minute later on a beautiful tic-tac-toe play by Steve Ward, Michel Leveille and Kenny Roche, who was returned to the Checkers from Hartford (AHL) earlier in the day. Leveille took a pass from Ward down low and redirected the puck cross-crease to Roche who tapped it into the net past a sprawling Smith.

The Checkers held a 15-3 advantage in shots through 20 minutes of play and carried the play for the most part.

Early in the second period, however, the Cyclones took their second lead of the game when forward Ryan Del Monte took a pass in the slot and beat Munce glove side off the post and in.

Charlotte then evened the score at 2-2 midway through the period on a strange goal by Matt Schepke. Cyclones goaltender Smith dove out of his net and poked the puck away from Andrew Carroll onto the stick of Schepke who then fired it into the top corner of the wide open net.

Late in the period, Cincinnati took the lead for the third time in the game on a goal by Ian McKenzie but the Checkers tied it again two minutes later. Roche took a shot from the high slot and Dowzak was on the doorstep to stuff home his first ever professional goal.

With less than six minutes to play in the third period, Charlotte was assessed a delay of game penalty and the Cyclones went to work on the power play. Cincinnati cycled the puck down low before it made its way to Maxime Lacroix in the slot. Lacroix made no mistake and beat Munce high over the glove with a wrist shot for the game-winner. The Cyclones would add an empty-net goal to escape with a 5-3 victory.

The Checkers (30-20-6) will return home on Wednesday, Mar. 3 to host Cincinnati. The puck drops at 7 p.m. and ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com.

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

 

STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA STK P 10 PIM
1. South Carolina Sting Rays 61 35 15 5 6 81 213 189 3-0-1-1 5-2-1-2 842
2. Florida Everblades 58 30 19 4 5 69 188 175 4-0-1-0 6-1-2-1 1051
3. Charlotte Checkers 56 30 20 3 3 66 197 184 0-3-0-0 5-5-0-0 1174
4. Gwinnett Gladiators 56 26 24 4 2 58 195 213 1-0-0-0 4-5-1-0 902

 

SCOREBOARD:

On Wednesday night Kalamazoo came from behind against Johnstown and won in a shootout 5-4. It was Bakersfield tripling up Idaho 3-1 while Stockton destroyed Victoria 4-1. In Alaska, the Aces got two goals from Nick Mazzolini in a game coached by two former Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Kevin Colley (Utah) and Brent Thompson (Alaska). Former Wolf Pack forward Brock McBride played for Alaska.

 

NOTES:

* The Checkers are 8-2-1 in their last 11 home games

* Kenny Roche has a four-game point streak (2g, 6a)

* Ryan Munce is 7-4-1 in his last 12 games

* Andrew Carroll leads the team with 23 goals and ranks tied for fifth among all ECHL rookies

* T.J. Reynolds leads the ECHL with 235 penalty minutes and leads the Checkers with a +20 rating

* Julien Brouillette, Derek Couture and Kenny Roche are up with Hartford (AHL), Ethan Graham is with Texas (AHL) while Matt Ford and Randy Rowe are with Lake Erie (AHL)

 

LINES:

DiDiomete – Taylor – Carroll
Slattengren – Tkaczuk – Stefanishion
Doig – Leveille © – Roche
Schepke

Berube– Reynolds
Dowzak – Schaeffer
Ward – Crane

Munce
Shaya (Yes the Broadcaster was the emergency backup…let’s see Bob Crawford do that) 🙂

 

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

SCRATCHES:

Jean-Philipp Chabot – Healthy scratch
Julien Brouillette – Recall in Hartford
Trevor Glass – Lower Body – Early March
Chris Snavely – Upper Body – 2-3 weeks
Codey Burki – Undisclosed – Season over
Chris Chappell – Shoulder Surgery – Season over

 

THREE STARS:

1. CHR – T. Dowzak
2. CIN – B. Ehgoetz
3. CHR – K. Roche

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Steve Patafie (29)

Linesmen:
Paul Reid (97)
Mark Hamlett (81)

 

NEXT GAME:

On the road again…I bet they just can’t wait to get on the road again…. The Checkers have three games in three nights on the road. They’re off to Wheeling to face the Nailers Friday night and then have another long ride to get out to Toledo for back-to-back games with the Walleye.  They then have three straight at home with Gwinnett.  Jason Shaya, probably wanting a goaltender for the Checkers more than anyone in the building, and Chris Snavely should be on hand for the call of that one starting at 7pm.

For live in-game coverage from your cell phone or computer, we’ll have the action for you at www.twitter.com/howlingstoday.

You can always buy tickets for any Checkers game home or away at Ticketmaster.com.

Should you want to watch this very exciting team from the comfort of your computer chair, all Checkers games are available on B2Live.

 

SCORE-SHEET:

Cincinnati Cyclones 5 At Charlotte Checkers 3 – Status: Final

Mar 3, 2010 – Time Warner Cable Arena

Cincinnati 1 2 2 – 5

Charlotte 1 2 0 – 3

1st Period-1, Cincinnati, Ehgoetz 21 (Reynolds), 7:09 (sh). 2, Charlotte, Leveille 15 (Ward, Roche), 8:15 (pp). Penalties-DiDiomete Chr (tripping), 0:32; Reynolds Cin (hooking), 4:56; Kilpatrick Cin (slashing ), 11:03; McKenzie Cin (fighting – major), 13:41; DiDiomete Chr (fighting – major), 13:41.

2nd Period-3, Cincinnati, Del Monte 7 (Robinson), 2:24. 4, Charlotte, Schepke 20 (Tkaczuk, Roche), 8:59. 5, Cincinnati, McKenzie 2 (Motherwell, Reynolds), 16:23. 6, Charlotte, Dowzak 1 (Roche, Taylor), 18:26. Penalties-Benson Cin (instigating, fighting – major), 0:46; Reynolds Chr (boarding, fighting – major), 0:46; Robinson Cin (high-sticking), 5:15; Lacroix Cin (tripping), 10:00; Del Monte Cin (slashing ), 18:55.

3rd Period-7, Cincinnati, Lacroix 13 (Motherwell, Ehgoetz), 15:27 (pp). 8, Cincinnati, Ehgoetz 22 (Lacroix), 19:05 (en). Penalties-Reynolds Chr (hooking), 2:33; Jozsa Cin (roughing), 10:58; Dowzak Chr (roughing), 10:58; Reynolds Chr (closing hand on puck), 14:19.

Shots on Goal-Cincinnati 3-6-6-15. Charlotte 15-14-5-34.

Power Play Opportunities-Cincinnati 1 of 3; Charlotte 1 of 5.

Goalies-Cincinnati, Smith 19-12-0-2 (34 shots-31 saves). Charlotte, Munce 15-13-1-1 (14 shots-10 saves).

A-4,121

COMING DOWN TO THE WIRE…

Hartford Wolf Pack CT Lottery In our first item:

According to all the major news organizations that cover the Rangers, both Enver Lisin and veteran Aaron Voros have been put on waivers by the New York Rangers. Lisin will be on display for potential suitors as the Rangers take on the Ottawa Senators tonight. Both are expected though to clear waivers. It is safe to assume that if he does clear waivers, the Rangers will send Voros to the Wolf Pack to finish the season and create cap space.  Voros has another season at $1mm per on his contract. Lisin, who came to the Rangers in a trade for ex-Pack forward Lauri Korpikoski, is a restricted free agent at the end of the season and has a $790K salary cap hit. It is unclear whether or not Lisin would be sent to Hartford or not. Our guess is that he would be.

Which leads to our second item:

The Wolf Pack have sent Devin DiDiomete and Kenny Roche back to the Charlotte Checkers. Could this move have something to do with the previous item? It’s possible. It’s also possible that the Pack just got Andres Ambühl back from the Olympics and P.A. Parenteau back from a concussion. Howlings does not believe that the organization is done making moves though. The Pack are a team that is really struggling to make any kind of push for the post season. With 19 games left on the schedule they CLEARLY need help. Voros and Lisin would be a good start. When (IF) Corey Potter comes back from New York and Nigel Williams gets back in the lineup, at least one other defenseman could be sent to Charlotte as well. Julien Brouillette will certainly go back. The question is on the other would it be Jared Nightingale or Dave Urquhart. The third option is that just one would go back and the team would keep an extra person around just in case.

Also affecting who stays and who goes could be affected by the fact that the Canadian Juniors leagues and college hockey seasons are coming to a close soon. It is possible that 2010 World Juniors Champions, Ryan Bourque, Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider could all get an Amateur Try Out contract.

Here is the official release:

TWO PLAYERS MOVED FROM WOLF PACK ROSTER

*           *           *           *

Devin DiDiomete and Kenny Roche Returned to ECHL Charlotte


Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the parent New York Rangers have reassigned forward Devin DiDiomete from the Wolf Pack to the team’s ECHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, and that the Wolf Pack have released forward Kenny Roche from his Professional Tryout (PTO) agreement.

DiDiomete, a second-year pro, has two assists and is +2 in 34 games with the Wolf Pack this season, and has accumulated 119 penalty minutes, third-most on the team.  In 107 career games with the Pack, DiDiomete has totaled four goals and seven assists for 11 points, along with 358 PIM.

In an earlier stint with Charlotte this year, DiDiomete skated in six ECHL games, notching two goals and an assist for three points, along with 46 penalty minutes.

Roche appeared in 14 games for the Wolf Pack after joining the squad January 23, contributing four goals and four assists for eight points and serving eight minutes in penalties.  Prior to signing with the Pack, Roche logged three AHL games with the Providence Bruins, posting one assist, and had 16-11-27 in 33 ECHL games with the Checkers.

Charlotte Checkers In regards to the Charlotte Checkers, we have two pieces of news.

The first you are aware of and that is that they are joining the AHL next season as the Carolina Hurricanes affiliate. They announced today the following:

CHECKERS ANNOUNCE TICKET PRICES, COLORS
Team Set To Begin Play In American Hockey League In 2010-11

The Charlotte Checkers have announced today ticket prices and brand coloring for the 2010-11 season when the team will begin play in the American Hockey League as the primary affiliate of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.

The Checkers have created several new pricing levels to remain the most affordable sports entertainment option in Uptown Charlotte.

The introduction of a new $200 full season ticket package means fans can enjoy watching top Carolina Hurricanes prospects 40 times per season for only $5 per game. Under current pricing, the lowest priced season ticket is $9.25 per game.

Luxury ticket inventories such as Royal Boxes and Terrace Tables have decreased in price by an average of $2.50 per game to become an even more affordable and valuable investment piece for businesses and corporate partners.

The most expensive season ticket package remains the glass section at $1140 per seat or $28.50 per game while front row packages in comparative sports markets can range up to $2400 per seat or $60 per game.

Most season ticket price increases are in the .25 – .75 cents per game range in order to remain competitive in this new era of professional hockey in Charlotte

“It was the promise of Checkers owner Michael Kahn that the team would remain the single best sports entertainment value in Charlotte and our new prices reflect this,” remarked Checkers vice president Shawn Lynch. “The AHL offers a much higher caliber of hockey and we are excited to welcome many new teams to the city of Charlotte while remaining consistent with our current pricing.”

In addition, single-game prices will start at $10 per game with the introduction of a discounted youth ticket for all games while the highest single-game ticket will remain at $35 per game.

The Checkers have also announced that they will change their logo and uniform colors to match those of the Hurricanes. The team went through an entire re-branding before the 2007-08 season and will simply change colors and incorporate the Hurricanes trademark. The details of these changes, as well as the new logo, will be revealed at a later date.

For more information or to purchase season tickets for the 2010-11 season please call 704-342-4423 or visit www.gocheckers.com/ahl.

The second piece of news concerns Howlings.

We are going to continue to cover the Hartford Wolf Pack for our fifth season. There are all kinds of rumors floating around as to where the team is going to be. We will cover them regardless. We will also cover whatever ECHL team the Rangers organization decides to work with.

However, we are VERY proud to announce to our readers now, that we will continue to cover the Charlotte Checkers as they enter the AHL as well. Howlings has a magnificent working relationship with the Checkers organization. We have determined that to throw that simply because they will no longer be associated with the Rangers organization seems awfully petty and would be an awful waste of good material. We also strongly believe that it will invite a lot more readers to the site and also stimulate some good chat as the two teams compete against one another.

So a busy day and a busier one coming tomorrow as the trade deadline is set for 3pm eastern. Keep your eyes peeled here or at www.twitter.com/howlingstoday for complete coverage.

PACK TIE TEAM RECORD…FOR LOSING

Hartford Wolf Pack puck      VERSUS     Bridgeport Sound Tigers

After getting blown of of four straight games by an aggregate score of 27-12, for the Hartford Wolf Pack, the fact that Friday night’s 4-2 defeat to the visiting Bridgeport Sound Tigers was a close and spirited game was at least a step in the right direction. However, despite the improved effort, it was still a defeat in a game they could have won had they not had mistakes throughout the contest that could have been avoided. The loss was also the team’s fifth in a row which tied a team record for consecutive losses that dates back to the 2003-2004 season, the only other team its been done in the team’s thirteen year history.

Head Coach Ken Gernander, who was Captain of the 2003-2004 team spelled it out succinctly when he said, “I thought we were more committed, but our margin for error isn’t very great right now so we can’t take any unnecessary penalties.” (Referring to a late call on Corey Locke). Gernander added, “There are no small things, so we have to be completely committed and fully and mentally locked in for all 60 minutes to give ourselves a chance. If we have to allow one goal a game, then that’s what we’ll have to do to get it done.”

What needs addressing however is the team’s total failures on special teams. The Pack power play, which led the AHL for the first couple of months in the season, has looked very bad. Using a dump and chase strategy requires a commitment to forechecking hard and using the extra attacker to gain control of the puck, but in the Pack’s case, the puck is getting chipped in and then after some time down low, the battles are being won by opponents and the pick is flying out of zone without the team even getting set up.  In the case of this game, the Pack could not even get their shots on goal. TO Bridgeport’s credit, their players were committed to blocking shots whenever the Pack did manage to set something up. For the game, the Pack were one-for-seven on the man-advantage including an extended four minute power play late in the game in which they got no shots on goal.

Penalty killing has been abysmal all season. While the team does lead the American League with shorthanded goals (14), the team ranks dead last when on the penalty kill (78.8%).

Another major struggle for the Pack this season has been their almost constant predicament of having to play from behind. The Wolf Pack scored the game’s first goal for only the second time in the last eleven games. NHL veteran Brendan Witt tripped Corey Potter at 2:38 of the second period sending the Wolf Pack power play on the ice for their second time in the game. It was team captain Dane Byers, who has been the Pack’s best player of late, who, after Nigel Williams kept the puck in the zone at the left point, gave it to Byers. From high along the boards, the Nipawin, Saskatchewan native avoided Sean Bentivoglio and saw Locke all alone on the right doorstep. Byers made a laser pass putting the puck right on the tape of the AHL’s third leading scorer who one timed it right past Bridgeport starter Nathan Lawson (18 saves, 10-11-3). The goal was Locke’s 22nd of the season and 15th on the power play.

The Pack only held the lead however for 3:46 seconds. After a faceoff win against Locke, Robin Figren sent the puck to the left point to Bentivoglio. The Tiger’s left winger threw the puck into the right corner where Figren came away with the puck out-dueling both Evgeny Grachev and Ilkka Heikkinen and took the puck behind the Pack net to starter Chad Johnson’s right. With Corey Potter eyeballing Figren standing in the Pack crease, Figren saw Jeremy Reich get open as Locke moved off the coverage and moved to the low slot. Figren saw the play develop in front and fed Reich the puck. Just seven seconds after killing off Donald Brashear’s roughing call, Reich roofed the puck over Johnson (18 saves, 14-11-2).

At 12:15, a bad change getting off and on the ice by Dale Weise and Kenny Roche led to a Too Many Men on the ice penalty putting the Pack on the kill for the third time.

It only took ten seconds for the Pack to fall behind as the penalty kill failed them. After a faceoff win, on the left side, the puck swung around to the left. Jordan Owens got tied up with Jesse Joensuu and the two fell to the ice. The puck slid out to Mark Flood at the left point. The Tiger’s defenseman ripped a hard shot that looked like it may have hit Heikkinen on it’s way to the net. Both the Pack defenseman and Greg Moore, the ex-Pack captain, were in Johnson’s line of sight.

The Pack went to the locker-room down a goal for the 27th time in 57 games. The Pack’s record in those games is now 2-23-0-2. When the team leads after two periods, their record is 19-1-1-1.

Hartford came out of the intermission with a collective look of determination on their faces and they made it work for them.

Potter started a break out of the Pack end by hitting Justin Soryal with a pass banked off the boards on the left side. Soryal advanced the puck to Dupont in the middle. Dupont chipped it past Flood where Weise hauled it in. The Winnipeg native then went to pass the puck but it hit NHL veteran Brendan Witt’s skate, went through the legs of Flood and came back into the corner of the right faceoff circle to Soryal. Flood went down, but Soryal’s quick pass to Dupont just inside the crease on the right side eluded the Tiger Defenseman. Dupont then one-times it right into the net as Lawson was helpless to do anything to stop it. Just 22 seconds into the period, the Pack had tied the score.

But when things are not going right, there just always seems to be something that comes back to cost them. In this case it was poor defensive coverage in their own zone that cost the Pack just 41 seconds later.

Anton Klementyev recovered his own rebound along the right wing boards and fed the puck down low to Matt Martin. Locke came over to battle with Martin and Bentivoglio whacked at it. Williams joined the fray in the far corner and knocked Bentivoglio down. In the meantime, that left the 5’9” Locke to tangle with the 6’2” Martin as the puck was moved in front of Johnson.  Grachev let Tyler Haskins all alone. Nightingale tried to go down to block the shot and Owens came over from the left side, but it was too late. Haskins blasted the one timer from the slot and beat Johnson low to the stick side for what would prove to be the fame winner.

The Pack would have their chances.

Ex-Pack Trevor Gillies got called for a double roughing call at 6:10 that the Pack did nothing with, but the team’s best chance came during a shorthanded situation that shouldn’t have been.

Coming up to the faceoff circle, at 14:14, Locke said something to linesman Luke Galvin that the veteran was not going to tolerate. Galvin called over referee Ian Croft and for the second game in a row, a Pack player selfishly costs the team a chance to get back in the game by yapping at an official.

On the ensuing power play for Bridgeport, Byers was defending against Reich at the right point and the puck got swatted over to the center. Ryan Garlock, in his first game back after missing eight games due to injury, chipped the puck past

Witt. Byers had a breakaway. The puck would not settle down on the ice and twice the puck jumped off Byers’ stick. It slowed him up enough that it gave Reich and Witt enough time to come back and alter the shot that Byers took allowing Lawson to make a pad save with 6:24 to go in the game.

Bridgeport would get an empty net goal with just 14.9 seconds left. The Pack were again on the power play for the seventh time. Johnson was pulled for an extra attacker creating a six-on-four personnel surge. Dupont and Roche both had excellent scoring chances rejected by Lawson. Locke recovered the puck to Lawson’s left behind the goal line and in the corner. Locke attempted to feed a wide open Potter at the left point. Potter only got a piece of the puck on the one-timer. The puck flew over his stick into the neutral zone. Trevor Smith, who had just returned to the play having just come out of the penalty box, raced out and grabbed the puck and put it away for the gift empty netter.

The Pack face a daunting task Saturday to avoid extending their losing streak to the worst in team history as the red-hot and first place Worcester Sharks invade the XL Center for a 7pm faceoff.

My mentor Bruce Berlet reports the events from the press box and locker-room at Hartfordwolfpack.comCTPost.com has the gifted Michael Fornabaio telling his story.

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

 

STANDINGS

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA STK P 10 PIM
1. Sharks 55 35 16 2 2 74 189 165 4-0-0-0 7-2-1-0 894
2. Pirates 54 31 16 5 2 69 169 144 10-0-0-0 10-0-0-0 936
3. Monarchs 57 31 19 2 5 69 152 139 0-2-0-0 4-5-0-1 835
4. Devils 58 30 21 4 3 67 175 157 1-0-0-1 3-4-1-2 1095
5. Sound Tigers 58 26 23 3 6 61 143 159 2-0-0-0 4-3-1-2 1309
6. Bruins 56 28 25 3 0 59 154 148 1-0-0-0 7-3-0-0 931
7. WOLF PACK 57 25 26 3 4 57 157 179 0-5-0-0 2-7-1-0 1145
8. Falcons 60 18 31 9 2 47 145 218 0-2-0-0 2-7-1-0 1293

  

SCOREBOARD:

Joe DiPenta scored a shorthanded goal with 1:21 left as Portland knocked off River Rats at the Times Union Center in Albany. Hamilton, behind three assists from ex-Pack Tommy Pyatt beat Grand Rapids 4-3. Matt Taormina and Ben Walter each had three points (1g, 2a) en route to a 5-0 shellacking of Manchester in Lowell. Joey MacDonald made 21 saves to lead Toronto past Texas while the Worcester Sharks won their fourth straight with a 4-3 win over Binghamton.  Providence doubled up Abbotsford 402. Ex-Pack captain Craig Weller had a goal. At the Blue Cross Arena Manitoba rode a 32 save performance by Cory Schneider to a 4-3 win. Springfield got trounced by Norfolk at the Scope 3-1. Ex-Pack Alex Giroux had two goals but it wasn’t enough as the leagues best, Hershey dropped a 5-3 decision to Adirondack in Glens Falls. Ex-Pack Dave Liffiton had an assist but his Syracuse Crunch were defeated by ex-Pack Brian Fahey and the Lake Erie Monsters 6-4. Another ex-Pack, Hugh Jessiman had a helper as his Milwaukee Admirals beat Houston 2-0. Derek Armstrong, a member of the Pack’s Cup team in 2000, had a goal but it wasn’t enough as Peoria was upended by Chris Chelios and the Chicago Wolves. Matt Keith had a hat trick to lead Rockford past San Antonio 6-5.

 

NOTES:

* If you have yet to sign up for our new service to our readers on Twitter, you’re really missing out on the most extensive coverage of the Wolf Pack and Checkers you’ll find anywhere. In addition to keeping you posted here on all major news stories, visit www.twitter.com/howlingstoday for in-game coverage of both Wolf Pack and Checkers games. Please “Follow” us on Twitter.

* On the season, Hartford has surrendered the first goal in 35 of team’s 57 games. 

* Samson in reverse. Ever since he cut his hair, Brodie Dupont has been on a tear. Sorry about the Dr. Seuss like rhyming, but in the last five games, Brodie Dupont has five points (2g, 3a).

* Donald Brashear had his first fight as a member of the Wolf Pack. At 8:54 of the first period, he and Joel Rechlicz tangled in what might have been the longest buildup before throwing any punches in AHL history. But once they did start to throw them, Brashear landed some powerful shots and came away with the decision.

* Kenny Roche, the former Rangers third round draft pick, is making a solid case for his staying in Hartford even after other regulars make it back from the IR. In 12 games, Roche has eight points (4g, 4a) and has been good defensively.

 

LINES:

Byers © – Crowder – Roche
Grachev – Locke – Owens
Soryal – Dupont – Weise
DiDiomete – Garlock – Brashear

Heikkinen – Sanguinetti
Williams – Nightingale
Urquhart – Potter

Johnson
Wiikman

 

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

SCRATCHES:

Matt Zaba – Healthy Scratch
Andrew Carroll – Healthy Scratch
Kevin Schaeffer – Healthy Scratch 
Derek Couture – Healthy Scratch
Andres Ambϋhl – Reassigned to Swiss National Team – Two weeks
Steven Valiquette – Hand Injury – Day-to-Day (Technically on recall with the NY Rangers)
Michael Sauer – Shoulder – Day-to-Day
P.A. Parenteau – Concussion – Day-to-Day
Mathieu Dandenault – Lower Body – Indefinite
Brent Henley – Knee  – Season
Mike Hoffman – Shoulder – Season

 

THREE STARS:

1. BRI – T. Haskins
2. BRI – S. Bentivoglio
3. HFD – B. Dupont

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Ian Croft (87)

Linesmen:
Kevin Redding (16)
Luke Galvin (2)

 

NEXT GAME:

After losing five straight, the story line for the Hartford Wolf Pack for Saturday night’s contest against the first place and red hot Worcester Sharks is, do they lose six and set the dubious mark for futility.  Bob Crawford is on the air with the pre-game show at 6:30.

To watch the game live, you can purchased it for $6.99 at AHL-live.

If you can attend the home games, they cost is as little as $10 a ticket, why not just go? For Ticket information call (860) 548-2000.

Too far away or can’t make it? Listen live at WTIC.com.

 

SCORE-SHEET:

Bridgeport Sound Tigers 4 At Hartford Wolf Pack 2 – Status: Final

Feb 19, 2010 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Bridgeport 0 2 2 – 4

Hartford 0 1 1 – 2

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Rechlicz Bri (fighting), 8:54; Brashear Hfd (fighting), 8:54; Wotton Bri (hooking), 14:31.

2nd Period-1, Hartford, Locke 22 (Byers, Williams), 4:02 (pp). 2, Bridgeport, Reich 2 (Figren, Bentivoglio), 7:48. 3, Bridgeport, Flood 8 (Joensuu), 12:25 (pp). Penalties-Witt Bri (hooking), 2:38; Brashear Hfd (roughing), 5:41; Joensuu Bri (roughing), 6:28; Byers Hfd (roughing), 6:28; Mauldin Bri (roughing), 9:04; Nightingale Hfd (roughing), 9:04; Soryal Hfd (elbowing), 9:04; Moore Bri (tripping), 9:37; served by DiDiomete Hfd (bench minor – too many men), 12:15; Morency Bri (hooking), 13:27.

3rd Period-4, Hartford, Dupont 12 (Soryal, Weise), 0:22. 5, Bridgeport, Haskins 6 (Martin, Bentivoglio), 1:03. 6, Bridgeport, Smith 17   19:45 (en). Penalties-Gillies Bri (roughing, roughing), 6:10; Soryal Hfd (hooking), 11:39; Locke Hfd (unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:14; Smith Bri (boarding), 17:34.

Shots on Goal-Bridgeport 7-10-5-22. Hartford 7-8-5-20.

Power Play Opportunities-Bridgeport 1 of 5; Hartford 1 of 7.

Goalies-Bridgeport, Lawson 10-11-3 (20 shots-18 saves). Hartford, Johnson 14-11-2 (21 shots-18 saves).

A-4,154

BRUTAL

Hartford Wolf Pack puck VERSUS Portland Pirates

It was over before it really began. The Hartford Wolf Pack fell behind 3-0 before fans had even found their seats. The team battled back as best they could, but just could not slow down the red-hot Portland Pirates as they dropped a 7-4 decision in a holiday matinee at the Cumberland County Civic Center Monday afternoon.

Chad Johnson (1 save, 14-9-2) had his second horrendous game in a row as he was pulled after surrendering three goals on four shots in the first 5:32. The first goal came on the game’s first shot just 53 seconds into the contest. Portland advanced the puck on a three-on-two odd man rush. Tyler Ennis advanced the puck up ice and into the Pack zone after taking a pass from Mike Weber. As they closed in on Johnson, Ennis fed Travis Turnbull who deflected in the pass by Johnson.

Then things got nothing short of weird.

Less than three minutes later, Johnson mishandled the puck behind his net and handed it to Pirate winger Kyle Wanvig in the right wing corner. Before the Calgary, Alberta native could get back to his net, Wanvig fed Felix Schutz in front of the net who had the entire 4’x6’ to shoot at and it was 2-0.

Just 1:51 after the last behind-the-net blunder, Johnson abandoned his net to go and field an Ennis dumped in. Johnson misread the puck and it hit the end boards and shot right out to the crease to Cody McCormick for the gift addition to his season’s goal total.

It was 3-0 and Head Coach Ken Gernander had seen enough.  Johnson has allowed 10 goals on his last 39 shots over 65:32.

In came Miika Wiikman, himself coming off a very shaky Saturday night showing against Providence when he allowed six goals on 33 shots.

Wiikman was solid and got the Pack out of the period stopping all six shots that he faced.

Nigel Williams got his teammates down two goals, the closest they would get all game long, when he took a Dave Urquhart feed and rushed it up the left wing side. Williams saw Pirate starter, Jhonas Enroth (26 saves, 23-14-1) come WAY out of his net and saw Weber scrambling to cover the front of the net. Williams surprised Weber as he deliberately fired the puck and hit the Pirate defenseman with the puck and it bounced into the net for Williams third on the season. Urquhart’s assist was his second in as many games.

But the Pack defense was just terrible all game long. They played like they expected Wiikman to simply wipe away the plentitude of coverage lapses and giveaways they were making all over the ice. Wiikman battled valiantly, but Terry Sawchuk couldn’t have stopped the collection of scoring chances that were being thrown at him.

Wiikman’s best save came when he erased a wide open Turnbull who was dead red and all alone in front. Wiikman held his ground and evaporated the shot by the Pirate center.

At 7:37, with the Pack scrambling in their own zone and magnificent forechecking, passing and puck control by the home team, Mike Kostka pinched in from the right side and put grabbed the puck. The Pirate defenseman then fed the puck to Turnbull who fired it back on goal. The puck went right to Jeff Cowan who was all alone on the left side and Wiikman had no chance to get back in time to stop him and it was 4-1.

Kenny Roche took a hooking call at 8:10 and then 35 seconds later Williams joined him in confinement when he received a double minor for an attempted spear to Brad Larsen who was called for a cross check giving the Buffalo Sabres top development team a five-on-three advantage for 1:25. The Pack killed off the two man shortage, but with time winding down on the five-on-four, Ennis made it 5-1.  At 10:12, Ennis got the power play goal after he put the puck just past the right skate of Wiikman after attacking the net from behind the goal line midway between the goal and the right corner.

Less than three minutes later it was 6-1. Wanvig scored his first of two goals in the game. After what seemed like the fifth or sixth consecutive turn over by the team from Connecticut’s capitol and poor coverage defending in front, Cowan fed Wanvig with a pass just past the Pack defenders, who both went after Cowan and deserted Wanvig, who took the past and blasted it past Wiikman up high for his tenth of the season.

If this team has demonstrated one positive through this horrendous run they’ve been on, is that they don’t quit. Sometimes they’re just massively outplayed by a team with more depth and talent, as they were here, but they don’t quit.

At 13:23, Kenny Roche, who’s played exceptionally well since being recalled from Charlotte on January 23rd, recorded his fourth goal in ten games when he one-timed a Grachev feed and blew it right past Enroth’s glove.

But Portland was showing no sympathy for the injury riddled Wolf Pack. Once again the home team executed well on the power play. With Derek Couture in the penalty box on a tripping call, the Pirates played keep-away and got Hartford scrambling and unable to clear the zone. From his spot on the right wing point, Schutz found Wanvig all alone on the left doorstep and made a perfect pass and the fourth year pro put it away for the five goal lead.

As the second period finally came to a merciful end, the Pack were outshot by their hosts 18-7.

Looking at the stats it would seem like Wiikman had a bad period allowing four goals, given how incredibly poorly the Pack played and the number of bona fide scoring chances in the period , which clearly were in the low to mid-teens, the Pack netminder was solid.

The third period was all Hartford as they battled back back right from the outset…literally.

Just as the puck to start the period was dropped, Brodie Dupont and Wanvig who were in the circle together dropped their gloves. Dupont scored a hard, straight right hand that rattled the Pirate center and he grabbed his Pack opponent and dragged him to the ice. Wanvig left the game under his own power to deal with the his bloodied face.

At 4:45 the Pack got within four as Pack captain Dane Byers, who has clearly been the best Pack player on the ice throughout this bad streak, scored in the manner he has his entire career, going into the rough part of town and knocking pucks into the net. Corey Locke threw the puck in front of the net from behind the goal line and before Enroth could cover it, Byers charged in front from behind the net and knocked it under the Pirate netminder. Locke and Dale Weise got the assists on Byer’s 17th of the season.

It only took 15 seconds for the team to cut it to the three goal deficit they started the game at when Justin Soryal deflected a Williams shot from the left point for his third of the season.

The Pack had a late chance to get back into it with a four minute power play but were unable to break through on Enroth.

Portland only had four shots on goal that were all handled easily by Wiikman in the third period.

 

Bob Crawford should be getting hazard pay for having to call the last three games. The voice of the Pack since it’s inception wrote up his perspective which can be found at Hartfordwolfpack.com.  For the view from the home team, you’ll find it at PortlandPirates.com. On Tuesday you’ll be able to find a story at PressHerald.com.

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

STANDINGS

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA STK P 10 PIM
1. Sharks 53 33 16 2 2 70 179 162 2-0-0-0 7-2-1-0 873
2. Monarchs 56 31 18 2 5 69 152 134 0-1-0-0 5-4-0-1 821
3. Pirates 53 30 16 5 2 67 166 142 9-0-0-0 9-1-0-0 926
4. Devils 56 29 21 4 2 64 168 154 0-4-1-1 3-5-1-1 1072
5. Bruins 55 27 25 3 0 57 150 146 0-1-0-0 7-3-0-0 914
6. WOLF PACK 55 25 23 3 4 57 152 168 0-3-0-0 2-7-2-0 1104
7. Sound Tigers 56 24 23 3 6 57 136 155 0-1-0-0 2-4-1-3 1267
8. Falcons 58 18 29 9 2 47 144 209 1-0-0-0 3-6-1-0 1242

NOTES:

* If you have yet to sign up for our new service to our readers on Twitter, you’re really missing out on the most extensive coverage of the Wolf Pack and Checkers you’ll find anywhere. In addition to keeping you posted here on all major news stories, visit www.twitter.com/howlingstoday for in-game coverage of both Wolf Pack and Checkers games. Please “Follow” us on Twitter.

* The Pack have surrendered twenty goals in the last three games and have been outscored 20-9. They were outscored 20-4 over a three game span earlier this season. They lost 7-1 at Manchester (December 4th), 4-1 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (December 5th) and then annihilated 9-2 (December 6th) at Hershey.

* After going 35 games without a goal, Soryal has now scored three in his last eight games.

* Steve Valiquette cleared re-entry waivers in a paper move that will allow the Rangers organization the ability to return Matt Zaba to be on the Hartford roster. It’s a pretty safe bet that Zaba will get the start in net when the Pack begin a three game homestand against Norfolk Wednesday night

* The Pack are 10-16-2-2 on the road. When trailing after two, the Pack are 2-21-0-2.

* It’s looking more and more like the only way the Pack are going to get into the playoffs is by finishing 5th in their division and playing in the East Division playoffs. The teams still in the hunt for that last playoff spot are Providence, Bridgeport, Norfolk and Wilkes-Barre.  Right now, based upon points, Norfolk is in with 58 points in 56 games. Then Hartford and Providence have 57 points in 55 games with Bridgeport at 57 points in 56 games. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has 54 points in 54 games. Norfolk or Wilkes-Barre will automatically get one of those spots while the remaining teams will fight for that last playoff berth. Before getting all excited about that last spot, the “winner” of it gets the privilege of getting destroyed by Hershey who we think, unless lighting strikes the team bus, will win a record 11th Calder Cup.  Just for the record, the Bears are 41-10-0-2 for 84 points.

 

LINES:

Byers © – DupontWeise
DiDiomete – Owens – Brashear
Grachev – Locke – Roche
Soryal – Crowder – Couture

Urquhart – Potter
Heikkinen – Schaeffer
Williams – Nightingale

Johnson
Wiikman

 

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

SCRATCHES:

Andres Ambϋhl – Reassigned to Swiss National Team – Two weeks
Andrew Carroll – Healthy Scratch
Ryan Garlock – Undisclosed – Day-to-Day
Steven Valiquette – Hand Injury – Day-to-Day
Michael Sauer – Undisclosed – Day-to-Day
Bobby Sanguinetti – Lower Body – Day-to-Day
P.A. Parenteau – Concussion – Indefinite
Mathieu Dandenault – Lower Body – Indefinite
Matt Zaba – On recall with the NY Rangers
Brent Henley – Knee  – Season
Mike Hoffman – Shoulder – Season

THREE STARS:

1. POR – K. Wanvig
2. POR – J. Cowan
3. POR – M. Kostka

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Zac Wiebe (89)

Linesmen:
Landon Bathe (80)
Jeremy Lovett (78)

 

NEXT GAME:

Bob Crawford is on the air with the pre-game show at 6:30 on Wednesday night as the Pack return home to take on the Norfolk Admirals for their last battle with them for the season.

To watch the game live, you can purchased it for $6.99 at AHL-live.

If you can attend the cost is as little as $10 a ticket, why not just go? For Ticket information call (860) 548-2000.

Too far away or can’t make it? Listen live at WTIC.com.

SCORE-SHEET:

Hartford Wolf Pack 4 At Portland Pirates 7 – Status: Final

Feb 15, 2010 – Cumberland County Civic Center

Hartford 0 2 2 – 4

Portland 3 4 0 – 7

1st Period-1, Portland, Turnbull 5 (Ennis, Weber), 0:53. 2, Portland, Schutz 10 (Wanvig), 3:42. 3, Portland, McCormick 11 (Ennis, Larsen), 5:32. Penalties-Weber Por (cross-checking), 13:23; Williams Hfd (hooking), 15:50; Whitmore Por (tripping), 15:54; Soryal Hfd (roughing, fighting), 20:00; Enroth Por (slashing), 20:00; Wanvig Por (roughing, fighting), 20:00.

2nd Period-4, Hartford, Williams 3 (Urquhart, Couture), 2:05. 5, Portland, Cowan 16 (Turnbull, Kostka), 7:37. 6, Portland, Ennis 18 (Gragnani, Wanvig), 10:12 (pp). 7, Portland, Wanvig 10 (Cowan, Kostka), 13:02. 8, Hartford, Roche 4 (Dupont, Grachev), 13:23. 9, Portland, Wanvig 11 (Schutz, Brennan), 19:08 (pp). Penalties-Roche Hfd (hooking), 8:10; Williams Hfd (double minor – spearing (attempt)), 8:45; Larsen Por (cross-checking), 8:45; Couture Hfd (tripping), 18:09.

3rd Period-10, Hartford, Byers 17 (Locke, Weise), 4:45. 11, Hartford, Soryal 3 (Williams, Couture), 5:00. Penalties-Dupont Hfd (fighting), 0:01; Wanvig Por (fighting), 0:01; Couture Hfd (hooking), 5:28; Schutz Por (delay of game), 7:59; Crowder Hfd (holding), 9:26; Larsen Por (double minor – high-sticking), 15:05.

Shots on Goal-Hartford 13-7-10-30. Portland 10-18-4-32.

Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 of 6; Portland 2 of 6.

Goalies-Hartford, Johnson 14-9-2 (4 shots-1 saves); Wiikman 2-4-0 (28 shots-24 saves). Portland, Enroth 23-14-1 (30 shots-26 saves).

A-4,433

PACK ZABA ADMIRALS

Hartford Wolf Pack puck     VERSUS      Norfolk Admirals

The Hartford Wolf Pack played their most complete road game of the season Saturday night and blew by the Norfolk Admirals 5-1.  Derek Couture had his first multi-goal game as a member of the Wolf Pack and “The Two Corey’s,” Locke and Potter, had three assists each. While an important victory for the fifth place Wolf Pack, it did not come without a heavy price. Rising star forward Dale Weise was lost to the team in the first period and appears headed to the ever increasing list of the team’s top players on the injured list.

The game’s first goal went to the Pack opponent for the seventh time in the last eight games. Evgeny Grachev failed to cover Justin Keller and left him alone in the slot. The rookie forward stood by as a feed by Juraj Simek to Keller was blasted past starting Pack netminder Matt Zaba (33 saves, 5-8-1) high over the blocker at 3:17. It would be the only mistake of the night in a masterful performance by the Pack’s second year goaltender.

When Couture tallied just 37 seconds later from right in front of the net off some nifty passing from Potter and Locke, the Pack gained momentum and ran away with it from there.

Like their parent club the New York Rangers, in order to be winners the Pack need to get goals from more than just their star players. In the Pack’s case they have no choice since the majority of their star players are out with injuries. They also need to score on the power play and stay out of the penalty box themselves. On this night anyway, they did all three.

While the scoresheet says that they were outshot 11-10 in the first period, the fifth place Pack controlled the game. With just 1:28 left in the stanza, Justin Soryal scored his second goal in the last four games and second of the season. The Newmarket, Ontario native showed his stone hard hands that work so effectively at knocking down opponents as fists, have a softness to them that allow the 6’2” 210 pounder to redirect pucks past goaltenders just as well. Soryal was part of a quick developing three-on-two odd man rush in the Admirals zone with Andres Ambϋhl and Potter against Ryan McGinnis and Ty Wishart. Ambϋhl fed the Pack left winger down low and redirected it into the short side past Admirals’ starter Dustin Tokarski (30 saves, 16-14-1) for what would prove to be the game-winner.

The Pack added two more goals in the second period.

Former NHL’er Mark Parrish’s blunder led to the first Pack goal of the period when for some inexplicable reason, he telegraphed a cross ice pass from the left wing boards only to see it picked off by Nigel Williams. The Pack defenseman took a few strides in and then unloaded a hard shot from the left circle that Couture deflected past Tokarski for his second of the game and eighth of the season at 5:03.

6:40 later Hartford would turn the goal light on for a fourth time. Potter fired a shot from downtown Norfolk that found it’s way on net. Pack captain Dane Byers was screening Tokarski and got his stick on the shot and put it past the Admiral cage protector. Despite heavy protest from Tokarski that he was interfered with by Byers, the cries fell on deaf ears and the Pack had a three-goal lead as the teams headed to the final frame.

Zaba was spectacular in the second making incredible dead red stops on Keller twice on penalty kills and then in his most Henrik Lundqvist like save, simply robbed Paul Szczechura in front of the net.

Kenny Roche continued to make his case that his days in the East Coast League are done. The former Rangers third round pick (#75 overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft) has played extremely well since being signed to a PTO contract in late January.

Standing in the slot with positioning on Wishart and his back to the net, Roche pulled an Ilkka Heikkinen shot from the left point out of mid-air and deliberately made it bounce in the crease. The bounce threw Tokarski off and the puck leaped over the blocker side of the Admiral’s net. The goals was Roche’s third (all against Norfolk) and sixth point (3g, 3a) in seven games since joining the Pack, and first back-to-back goal scoring game for the South Boston native.

Perhaps the game’s most unusual moment came at 6:43. For some reason, former Pack enforcer Mitch Fritz (6’7” 242 pounds) became incensed at Grachev (6’4” 220 pounds) and went after him and wanted to fight him. Fortunately for the 19 year old Russian, 27-year old Jared Nightingale, (6’3” 205 pounds) who knows how to defend himself, stepped in the path of Fritz and calmer heads prevailed. Fritz took a double roughing minor on the play. Several looks a the replay didn’t show exactly what happened, but whatever did certainly set Fritz off.

Zaba made his most sparkling stop of the game at 8:35 when Dave Urquhart lost a puck at the point in the offensive zone. Szczechura picked up the puck and had a clean breakaway. The hero for Norfolk the night before made a couple of fakes and went to the backhand but Zaba played it perfectly and turned the scoring chance away.

The Pack will be off now until Friday night to try and get some of their more talented players off the injured list.

Bob Crawford filed this report at Hartfordwolfpack.com.  The only story out there was this one at NorfolkAdmirals.com. Apparently The Virginian-Pilot only covers them when they win.

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

 

STANDINGS

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA STK P 10 PIM
1. Sharks 50 31 15 2 2 66 166 153 0-1-0-0 7-2-1-0 811
2. Monarchs 53 29 17 2 5 65 144 128 0-3-0-0 4-4-1-1 789
3. Devils 53 29 18 4 2 64 165 141 0-1-1-1 5-2-1-2 984
4. Pirates 50 27 16 5 2 61 151 133 6-0-0-0 8-2-0-0 890
5. WOLF PACK 52 25 20 3 4 57 143 148 2-0-1-0 3-5-2-0 1035
6. Sound Tigers 53 23 21 3 6 55 129 141 1-0-1-1 2-3-2-3 1213
7. Bruins 50 23 23 3 0 49 125 132 0-1-0-0 4-4-0-0- 802
8. Falcons 55 17 27 9 2 45 138 202 1-0-1-0 4-5-1-0 1189

 

NOTES:

* If you have yet to sign up for our new service to our readers on Twitter, you’re really missing out on the most extensive coverage of the Wolf Pack and Checkers you’ll find anywhere. In addition to keeping you posted here on all major news stories, visit www.twitter.com/howlingstoday for in-game coverage of both Wolf Pack and Checkers games. Please “Follow” us on Twitter.

* With the win, Pack hand Norfolk their first loss in regulation in ten games

* December 27th was the last win that the Pack had in regulation. Their last four wins came in the extended frame and last five-of-six came after regulation.

* Of the 29 players on the Wolf Pack roster, nine of them are injured

* Pack improved their road record to 10-14-2-2

* Talk about your disparity of numbers. The Pack are at 22.3% (25/112) on the Power Play at the XL Center. On the road they are a putrid 13.6% (17/125)

* When leading after one period the Pack improve to 13-2-1-1 and 19-1-1-1 when leading after two. They are a stellar 25-0-0-0 when leading after three…a little joke for a Saturday night.

* 16-10-1-2 is the Pack record when outshooting their opponent. 9-10-2-2 when being outshot.

* Grachev, Locke and Dupont are the only Pack players to play in all 52 games.

 

LINES:

Grachev – Dupont – Roche
DiDiomete – Owens – Couture
Soryal – Crowder – Ambϋhl
Byers ©Locke – Weise

Urquhart – Potter
Williams – Nightingale
Heikkinen – Schaeffer

Zaba
Wiikman

 

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

SCRATCHES:

Julien Brouillette – Healthy
Ryan Garlock – Undisclosed – Day-to-Day
Steven Valiquette – Hand Injury – Day-to-Day
Michael Sauer – Undisclosed – Day-to-Day
Bobby Sanguinetti – Lower Body – Day-to-Day
P.A. Parenteau – Concussion – Indefinite
Mathieu Dandenault – Lower Body – Indefinite
Chad Johnson – On recall with the NY Rangers
Brent Henley – Knee  – Season
Mike Hoffman – Shoulder – Season

 

THREE STARS:

1. HFD – D. Couture
2. HFD – C. Potter
3. HFD – C. Locke

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Francis Charron (46)

Linesmen:
Mathieu Chenier (28)
Paul Reid (62)

 

NEXT GAME: 
The Pack will have some well deserved healing time as they will now be off until next Friday night when they will travel to Rhode Island to take on the Providence Bruins. Game time is 7:05 with Bob Crawford on the pre-game show at 6:35.
To watch the game live, you can purchased it for $6.99 at AHL-live.

If you can attend the cost is as little as $10 a ticket, why not just go? For Ticket information call (860) 548-2000.

Too far away or can’t make it? Listen live at WTIC.com.

 

SCORE-SHEET:

Hartford Wolf Pack 5 At Norfolk Admirals 1

Feb 6, 2010 – Norfolk Scope

Hartford 2 2 1 – 5

Norfolk 1 0 0 – 1

1st Period-1, Norfolk, Keller 9 (Simek, Szczechura), 3:17. 2, Hartford, Couture 7 (Potter, Locke), 3:54. 3, Hartford, Soryal 2 (Ambuhl, Potter), 18:32. Penalties-DiDiomete Hfd (interference), 7:31.

2nd Period-4, Hartford, Couture 8 (Williams), 5:03. 5, Hartford, Byers 14 (Potter, Locke), 11:43. Penalties-Fornataro Nor (hooking), 7:37; Soryal Hfd (hooking), 16:39.

3rd Period-6, Hartford, Roche 3 (Heikkinen, Locke), 5:18 (pp). Penalties-Ambuhl Hfd (tripping), 2:31; Tyrell Nor (slashing), 5:11; served by DiDiomete Hfd (bench minor – too many men), 6:43; Fritz Nor (roughing, roughing), 6:43.

Shots on Goal-Hartford 10-14-11-35. Norfolk 11-10-13-34.

Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 1 of 3; Norfolk 0 of 3.

Goalies-Hartford, Zaba 5-8-1 (34 shots-33 saves). Norfolk, Tokarski 16-14-1 (35 shots-30 saves).

A-4,557