Tag Archives: Lowell Devils

FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

BY: Bruce Berlet

I can still picture New York Rangers center Artem Anisimov, then with the Hartford Wolf Pack, standing with Alexander Vasyunov after he was named the No. 1 star and his former Russian linemate the second star in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Lowell Devils at the XL Center on Nov. 21, 2008.

Anisimov and Vasyunov, a speedy wing, had played together at different levels for a decade, often on the same line, with the elite Lokomotiv Yaroslavl teams before heading to North America after being born only a month apart and drafted just four spots apart in the second round of the 2006 NHL draft by the Rangers and rival New Jersey Devils. The XL Center game was their first meeting overseas, and they had plenty to celebrate and catch up on after the final horn sounded before heading their separate ways again.

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HARD TIMES

Hartford Wolf Pack puck     VERSUS      Lowell Devils

If it’s not one thing, it’s another…

If the Hartford Wolf Pack stand any chance at all of making the American League playoffs, they’re going to need their star players to elevate their games. That’s not news. General Manager Jim Schoenfeld knows it. Head Coach Ken Gernander knows it and most of all, the Pack’s players know it.

After a disappointing 2-1 loss to first place Portland, the Pack looked to get back on the winning track on the road against the Lowell Devils. Unfortunately for the New York Rangers top farm team, it seemed like only P.A. Parenteau, Corey Locke and Bobby Sanguinetti were the only ones that got that message. Parenteau answered the call to elevate his game with his second hat-trick of the season. Locke and Sanguinetti each chipped in with two assists.

Once again, rookie goaltender Chad Johnson, who carried the team through the early part of the season, had his sixth straight poor outing. While early in the season he looked confident and “quiet” between the pipes. He gave up rebounds, but they were controlled. Now the Calgary native looks totally unsure of himself and is fighting the puck each time it’s shot at him. Sunday afternoon the Pack were excellent in keeping the shots on goal to a minimum. In the first period they only gave up five. By the 4:57 mark of the second, it was just seven. Unfortunately for the Wolf Pack, of the seven Johnson (23 saves, 14-13-2) faced, he gave up goals on three of them.

In the first period, with Jared Nightingale in the penalty box on a high sticking call at 3:22, it only took Lowell ten seconds and one shot to register a goal. Matt Taormina got his first of two helpers on the day when his slap shot from the left point was redirected by Nick Palmieri past Johnson.

It only took the Pack 3:34 to respond with a goal of their own.

Brodie Dupont out worked Lowell defenders down low behind the goal line and got the puck to Locke. The Pack center, playing wing in an effort to ignite a struggling offense, found Parenteau with a centering pass alone in the slot. Parenteau in turn put his first goal in the net since returning from a concussion that kept him out of 16 games right past Devils goaltender Jeff Frazee (27 saves, 13-13-0).

In the second period, Lowell broke the tie just 2:01 into the period. Matt Halischuk created his own breakaway after he poked a loose puck away from Sanguinetti at the right point. The Devil winger took off for a breakaway and beat Johnson for fifth of the season.

It only took another 2:56  before the Devils made Johnson pay his due. This time it was Michael Swift who took advantage of another Hartford mistake and buried a high shot over Johnson’s glove.

Tempers were running high. At 16:53 a small melee broke out as Andres Ambϋhl and Swift squared off at the same time as Derek Couture and Oliver Magnan exchanged punches. All four went off to the sin-bin for a five-minute respite.

But then Frazee went to clear a puck out of his own end but wound up throwing it into the stands for a Delay of Game penalty and sending the struggling Pack power play unit onto the ice for their second man-advantage of the game at 18:34.

Parenteau positioned himself just inside the left circle and one timed a laser beam cross-ice pass from Locke and beat Frazee high with just 51.2 left in the period.

Ordinarily this would be a major turning point pulling within a goal with less than a minute to go in a period. But as has been the case with the Wolf Pack all season long, a lack of discipline and unchecked emotion cost the team as Dupont got into a shoving match with Frazee and drew a roughing penalty for his efforts sending the Devils out for a fourth power play.

Illka Heikkinen went to clear the puck out of the Pack defensive zone, but Taormina kept it in. He then fired a shot from the slot that was blocked on it’s way to the net. The seeing eye puck though found the stick of Ben Walter who turned and tapped it into the net for what would prove to be the game winner with just .6 seconds left in the period.

The Pack did all they could to try and take the play to the Devils.

Locke went into the box for diving on Walter’s hook at 13:40. 58 seconds later Matt Corrente went into the box on a hooking call that created a 1:02 four-on-three power play. With 4:45 remaining in the contest, Parenteau completed his hat trick with a blast that went high over Frazee’s glove.

The Wolf Pack weren’t able to solve Frazee again.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another…

 

Bob Crawford called this one for the Wolf Pack network and then wrote it up for Hartfordwolfpack.com. For the Lowell perspective there really is only only source to go to would be at LowellDevilsHockey.com.

 

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET 

 

STANDINGS

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA STK P 10 PIM
1. Pirates 61 35 18 5 3 78 186 161 2-0-0-0 7-2-0-1 1073
2. Sharks 59 36 18 2 3 77 201 179 0-1-0-1 5-4-0-1 940
3. Monarchs 62 33 22 2 5 73 167 153 0-2-0-0 4-6-0-0 929
4. Devils 62 32 22 4 4 72 184 166 2-0-0-1 3-4-0-3 1136
5. Sound Tigers 62 27 26 3 6 63 149 173 0-2-0-0 5-5-0-0 1443
6. Bruins 60 29 28 3 0 61 163 166 0-1-0-0 6-4-0-0 973
7. WOLF PACK 62 26 27 5 4 61 167 191 0-2-2-0 1-7-2-0 1282
8. Falcons 64 20 32 9 3 52 153 228 2-0-0-0 3-5-1-1 1374

  

SCOREBOARD:

The Hershey Express continues to roll. The Bears defeated Wilkes-Barre / Scranton in a shootout 2-1. Lake Erie also won in a shootout over ex-Pack Patrick Rissmiller and his two-goal game 6-5. Norfolk beat Syracuse 3-2. Chicago doubled up Rockford 4-2 while Milwaukee and Hugh Jessiman won convincingly 4-0 over Peoria. It was Portland doubling up Albany 4-2. It was San Antonio knocking off Texas 5-3. Popular ex-Pack Jeff Taffe had two goals including the winner in overtime for Rochester at home over ex-Pack netminder Chris Holt and Binghamton 4-3. The Pack’s next opponent, Hamilton, knocked off their Sunday challenger Toronto 5-1.

 

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.

* There were quite a few Wolf Pack alumni that just completed competing in the Vancouver Olympics. Of course Andres Ambϋhl just returned after playing for Switzerland. There was also Ivan Baranka and Marcel Hossa for Slovakia. Finland had Jarkko Immonen. Vladimir Denisov was on the Belarusian roster while one-time Pack forward John Tripp was there playing for Germany despite being born in Canada. Former Pack blueliner Fedor Tyutin was on the Russian roster, and of course Ryan Callahan played for Team USA. Bob Crawford informed Howlings and it’s readers that Callahan is not the first Pack graduate to play for Team USA. “Others who have played for both the Pack and the US Olympic Team include: Ted Donato, Peter Ferraro, Tim Sweeney and Mike York.  Only York played on the Olympic team subsequent to his Wolf Pack tenure, which amounted to three games in 1998-99 at the end of his college career.”

* The Pack don’t have a winning record in games decided by two-goals (4-6-0-0) or three-goals (4-6-0-0) when being outshot (10-16-3-2) or when trailing after either the first (3-15-1-2) or second periods (2-24-0-2). On the plus side of the ledger, the Pack is 12-9-5-4 in one–goal games, 16-11-2-2 when outshooting their opponents, 14-2-1-1 when leading after one and 20-1-2-1 when leading after two and 16-9-3-2 in the comforts of the XL Center.

 

LINES:

Locke – Dupont– Parenteau
Brashear – Garlock – Grachev
Byers © – Crowder – Weise
Owens – Ambϋhl – Couture

Heikkinen – Nightingale
Brouillette – Dandenault
Urquhart – Sanguinetti 

Johnson
Zaba

 

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

SCRATCHES:

Devin DiDiomete – Healthy Scratch
Corey Potter – Healthy Scratch
Nigel Williams – Healthy Scratch
Kenny Roche – Healthy Scratch
Steven Valiquette – Hand Injury – Season over
Michael Sauer – Shoulder – Season over
Mike Hoffman – Shoulder – Season over
Brent Henley – Knee – Season over

 

THREE STARS:

1. LOW – B. Walter
2. HFD – P. Parenteau
3. LOW – M. Taormina

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Terry Koharski (10)

Linesmen:
Joe Ross (92)
Bob Bernard (4)

 

NEXT GAME:

Off to the gold medal winning nation to take on Hamilton and Toronto, next Saturday and Sunday respectfully. Bob Crawford will have the pregame starting at 6:30 and 3:30pm respectfully with game-times at 7:00 and 4:00pm Eastern.

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 or from your cell phone or computer visit www.twitter.com/howlingstoday for complete live in-game coverage.

 

SCORE-SHEET:

Hartford Wolf Pack 3 At Lowell Devils 4 – Status: Final

Feb 28, 2010 – Paul E. Tsongas Arena

Hartford 1 1 1 – 3

Lowell 1 3 0 – 4

1st Period-1, Lowell, Palmieri 19 (Taormina, Walter), 3:32 (pp). 2, Hartford, Parenteau 14 (Locke, Dupont), 7:06. Penalties-Nightingale Hfd (high-sticking), 3:22; Dandenault Hfd (hooking), 12:13; Swift Low (tripping), 16:58.

2nd Period-3, Lowell, Halischuk 5 (Davison), 2:01. 4, Lowell, Swift 14 (Sestito), 4:57. 5, Hartford, Parenteau 15 (Locke, Sanguinetti), 19:08 (pp). 6, Lowell, Walter 18 (Taormina), 19:59 (pp). Penalties-Nightingale Hfd (hooking), 12:05; Ambuhl Hfd (fighting), 16:53; Couture Hfd (fighting), 16:53; Magnan Low (fighting), 16:53; Swift Low (fighting), 16:53; Frazee Low (delay of game), 18:34; Dupont Hfd (roughing), 19:08.

3rd Period-7, Hartford, Parenteau 16 (Heikkinen, Sanguinetti), 15:15 (pp). Penalties-Garlock Hfd (kneeing), 4:15; Palmieri Low (double minor – high-sticking), 6:18; Locke Hfd (diving), 13:40; Walter Low (hooking), 13:40; Corrente Low (hooking), 14:38; Weise Hfd (cross-checking), 19:58.

Shots on Goal-Hartford 8-12-10-30. Lowell 5-16-6-27.

Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 2 of 5; Lowell 2 of 6.

Goalies-Hartford, Johnson 14-13-2 (27 shots-23 saves). Lowell, Frazee 13-13-0 (30 shots-27 saves).

A-5,119

 

MEANWHILE DOWN IN CHARLOTTE

Charlotte Checkers     VERSUS       Kalamazoo Wings    

CHECKERS STOPPED BY HOT GOALTENDER AGAIN, LOSE 4-2 
Wiikman Returns; Kalamazoo Extends Home Unbeaten Streak To 13 Games

The Charlotte Checkers out-shot and out-chanced the Kalamazoo Wings and came up empty-handed as they dropped a 4-2 decision on Sunday afternoon.

The Checkers got some help prior the game as goaltender Miika Wiikman was returned from Hartford (AHL), however defenseman Julien Brouillette, who leads all Charlotte blueliners in points, was called up to the Wolf Pack. Wiikman made 24 saves in a losing cause in his first start since Jan. 29, a 5-2 win over Johnstown.

With the loss, the Checkers drop to sixth place in the American conference, one back of Florida with two games in hand. Charlotte holds an eight point lead over ninth-place Gwinnett in the hunt for playoff positioning as the top eight teams in the conference qualify for postseason action.

Kalamazoo got things going early when Brian McGuirk stepped over the blueline and beat Wiikman over the blocker side and off the crossbar for the 1-0 lead. The goal was unassisted and was McGuirk’s fourth point in four games against the Checkers.

Charlotte answered back just two minutes later when Michelle Leveille decided not to shoot and fed a nice pass over to Tyler Doig. Doig then one-timed the puck into the empty net past a sprawling Kalamazoo goaltender to tie the game.

Shortly after the Checkers’ tying goal, Wings forward Darryl Lloyd beat Wiikman but the goal was waved off because of a high-sticking infraction.

The disallowed goal would benefit Charlotte as Kevin Schaeffer scored a shorthanded marker less than a minute later. The goal came at the 8:27 mark of the first period and was Schaeffer’s third in the last four games and second shorthanded tally in the last three contests.

With less than five minutes to play in the period, the Checkers were assessed a holding penalty and Kalamazoo went to work on the power play. Just 10 seconds into the man advantage, Wings forward Dean Strong let a shot go that beat Wiikman glove side to tie the game at 2-2.

The second period was all Checkers as they outshot Kalamazoo 14-6 but were unable to solve goaltender Ryan Nie.

Early in the third, and already a man down, Charlotte was assessed another penalty and the Wings were given a 5-on-3 advantage. They would make no mistake on the power play as Wings captain Sam Ftorek, the son of former NY Ranger Robbie Ftorek, fired a slap shot into the back of the net for the one-goal lead.

Ftorek then put the Wings up 4-2 when he broke into the Checkers zone and beat Wiikman over the glove for his 12th of the season and some insurance. The goal was too much for Charlotte as the team fell for the second night in a row despite outshooting the Wings 35-28.

The Checkers (30-19-6) 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 55 30 19 3 3 66 194 179 0-2-0-0 6-4-0-0 1154
4. Gwinnett Gladiators 56 26 24 4 2 58 195 213 1-0-0-0 4-5-1-0 902

  

SCOREBOARD:

It was a light Sunday schedule for the ECHL. Florida knocked off first place South Carolina 3-2 in a shootout. Las Vegas got a hat trick from former Wolf Pack forward Alex Bourret and that was the difference in a 6-3 win over Stockton. Johnstown did their best to overcome a two goal second period deficit but came up one–short as they dropped a 4-3 decision to Reading.

 

NOTES:

* Kevin Schaeffer has three goals in his last four games including two short-handed tallies

* Ryan Munce is 7-3-1 in his last 11 games

* Julien Brouillette ranks tied for second among ECHL defensemen with 13 goals

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

* T.J. Reynolds ranks second in the ECHL with 224 penalty minutes and is tied for third in overall plus-minus with a +22 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:

Carroll – Taylor – Marshall
Doig – Leveille © – Slattengren
Schepke – Tkaczuk – Stefanishion
Chabot

Dowzak – Schaeffer
Berube– Reynolds
Ward – Crane

Wiikman
Munce

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

SCRATCHES:

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. KAL – S. Ftorek
2. KAL – D. Strong
3. KAL – R. Nie

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
David Lewis (16)

Linesmen:
Bob Marcis (94)
Eric Kipp (52)

 

NEXT GAME:

The Checkers get back on the bus and head back to Charlotte. There they’ll have a couple of days to get some rest, regroup, and figure out a way to get back on their winning ways when they host the team they last defeated, the Cincinnati Cyclones at the Time Warner Cable Arena Wednesday night. Jason Shaya 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:

Charlotte Checkers 2 At Kalamazoo Wings 4 – Status: Final

Feb 28, 2010 – Wings Stadium

Charlotte 2 0 0 – 2

Kalamazoo 2 0 2 – 4

1st Period-1, Kalamazoo, McGuirk 11   2:14. 2, Charlotte, Doig 16 (Leveille, Slattengren), 4:19. 3, Charlotte, Schaeffer 4 (Leveille), 8:27 (sh). 4, Kalamazoo, Strong 6 (Bezeau, Fournier), 15:37 (pp). Penalties-Crane Chr (tripping), 6:53; Stefanishion Chr (elbowing), 9:30; Leveille Chr (holding), 15:26.

2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Leveille Chr (high-sticking), 5:47; Featherstone Kal (high-sticking), 5:47; Strong Kal (high-sticking), 10:44; Strong Kal (high-sticking), 18:05; Leveille Chr (hooking), 19:50.

3rd Period-5, Kalamazoo, Ftorek 11 (Daavettila, Strong), 1:43 (pp). 6, Kalamazoo, Ftorek 12 (Liotti), 9:58. Penalties-Schepke Chr (roughing), 1:15; Landry Kal (holding), 3:14; Tkaczuk Chr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 8:14; Lloyd Kal (roughing), 8:14; Ward Chr (misconduct), 11:19; Doig Chr (roughing, game misconduct), 17:37; Reynolds Chr (slashing ), 17:37; Featherstone Kal (roughing), 17:37.

Shots on Goal-Charlotte 10-14-11-35. Kalamazoo 9-6-13-28.

Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 0 of 3; Kalamazoo 2 of 6.

Goalies-Charlotte, Wiikman 9-3-1-2 (28 shots-24 saves). Kalamazoo, Nie 18-9-1-1 (35 shots-33 saves).

A-2,388

CHANGES IN THE WIND

Our good friend Gerry Cantelon (www.Eurohockey.net) and I spoke with Jim Schoenfeld, General Manager of the Hartford Wolf Pack between the second and third period of Sunday’s game with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He files this report.

Schoenfeld12-09-06 Changes abound in the world of hockey, especially in the AHL, that will keep it’s Europeans players consulting their search engines for the next destination of employment or divisional opponent.

Recently, the league announced approval for the Edmonton Oilers to reactivate their mothballed Roadrunners franchise and relocate it from Springfield, ending their affiliation with the Falcons, to Oklahoma City next season. Then the announcement came that the Albany River Rats would be sold to ECHL Charlotte Checkers owner Michael Krahn and relocated as the NHL Carolina Hurricanes AHL affiliate in Charlotte next season.

What will happen in Albany has been a matter of intense speculation the past two weeks since the announcement was made.

The building’s GM, Bob Belber, has openly expressed in the Albany Times Union paper that they will a have a team next season and they were in discussion with three Northeastern AHL teams affiliated with Northeast NHL teams.

The New York Rangers were listed as a possibility including Buffalo and the New York Islanders. The local TV station, WTEN News10, said a local car deal owner, Billy Fuccillo, was in the process of buying the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Sound Tigers GM Howard Saffan released a statement flatly denying it. The Portland (ME) Pirates and the Lowell (MA) Devils leases for their Buffalo and New Jersey franchises respectively also expire at the end of this season.

Hartford Wolf Pack GM Jim Schoenfeld flatly denied that on Sunday the Rangers were considering Albany or anywhere else.

‘We like Hartford; we have no desire to move anywhere. We have a lease. I thinks its pure speculation. We haven’t talked to them (Albany) or anyplace else.” remarked the thirty year professional in his fifth year as the team’s GM.

Schoenfeld did confirm however, that the team has talked to Howard Baldwin, the one time owner of the NHL Hartford Whalers and founder of the franchise as the New England Whalers in the WHA.  Baldwin, who now resides back in Connecticut, spoke with the Rangers regarding his desire to possibly purchase or manage the team. This was first reported by Rich Coppola, Sports Director for WTIC-TV Fox-61 in Hartford.

“We have talked to Howard, but that’s it, just talked. No deals, no agreements or anything else. Beyond that, I can’t comment much more.” said Schoenfeld.

Baldwin and MSG both lost out on running the building where the Wolf Pack play three years ago when the Connecticut Development Authority (CDA) selected the company known as Northland/AEG to run the then Hartford Civic Center now known as the XL Center. Is MSG satisfied with the way the business side of the hockey team has been run the past three seasons?

“I’m not close enough to that given my responsibilities in New York (with the Rangers). We have a good relationship with Chuck Steedman (building GM) and AEG. I can’t really assess what they have done (regarding the marketing and promotions) that is their specialty and they run the building,” remarked Schoenfeld. “We certainly would like to see the building filled with as many fans as possible for our players, we (MSG) don’t have a part in that any more (handling) the business side of the team.”

AEG recently had its contract to run the football stadium, Rentschler Field, home of the NCAA Division UConn football team, cut short and won the management of the Bushnell Auditorium through the bid process to run that facility.

The situation in Bridgeport continues to be fluid despite the public denials EHN has learned from several sources that there are serious behind-the-scenes issues that could change things in Bridgeport.

A source said the present management company, Centerplate, primarily a food concessions company that added the management of the facility to its portfolio ten years ago, is experiencing serious financial problems due to these economic times, and is looking at possibly ending its managing portion of the deal. No final decisions have been made.

In addition, EHN learned a minor league baseball executive, Charlie Dowd, who has deep Connecticut roots having worked with the New Haven Ravens (Eastern League), Bridgeport Bluefish (Atlantic League) and most recently the departed Connecticut Defenders of the Eastern League, interviewed for a GM position of the hockey team recently. Whether this would be a part of a new local ownership of the Sound Tigers or possibly relocated Sound Tigers hockey team remains unclear.

The team has eleven years remaining on its original lease signed in 2001 by the team’s founder, the late Roy M. Boe. Financial difficulties forced Boe to sell the Sound Tigers five years ago. The sale also included transferring his affiliation fees to the Islanders and numerous unpaid local vendors. The AHL came very close to folding the team had these bills gone unpaid. That dire situation was what necessitated the quick sale of the team to Islanders’ owner, Charles Wang. The lease, renegotiated twice, is considered among the most onerous in the league. The only out clause seems to require the Sound Tigers to bring in a replacement team to assume the remainder of the lease.

The Sound Tigers PR Director was let go Saturday night. It was the second time a PR Director of the team has been removed late in the season. EHN’s source said “changes, big changes are coming.”

The spring season in the AHL is more than playoff races, but could see a further reshaping of the AHL team landscape.

Gerry Cantelon is an amazing individual. He has been an immense help in our development in improving our performance as a professional reporter and in grooming the way things are done at Howlings. We’re honored and extremely grateful that he allowed us to share with Howlings’ readers the importance of this article, not to mention the years of his guidance and especially his friendship through the years.

BRODIE DUPONT, DEVILS EXORCIST

Hartford Wolf Pack puck     VERSUS      Lowell Devils

Brodie Dupont scored his second goal of the game with just 19.9 seconds remaining in overtime giving the Wolf Pack their eighth overtime win of the season 3-2 over the Lowell Devils.

In their second visit of the season to the Prudential Center in New Jersey where the Devils parent club resides, the winning goal came off a three-on-two odd man rush. Jordan Owens came up the right wing side and fed Brodie Dupont in the slot. Dupont uncorked a blast that hit Devils starting netminder Mike McKenna (25 saves, 16-9-1) in his glove. McKenna didn’t get all of the shot and the force of the it carried the puck past the Devils netminder for the game winner.

Referee Mark Lemelin made his presence felt and had a say in the way the game was played. He was unable to remove the whistle from his mouth all night, not a good sign for the Pack. Lowell entered the game with the AHL’s best power play capitalizing 22.6% of the time while the Pack have been mired near the bottom all season on the penalty kill. The Pack entered the game 23rd overall on the penalty kill at 80.7% and it cost them early in the game.

At 15:32 of the first period, Pack defenseman Nigel Williams went off for hooking. The call negated a Pack power play and and created a four-on-four for 43 seconds. After Nathan Perkovich escaped his solitary confinement, the Devils had the man up and it only took them five seconds to put the puck past Pack starter Matt Zaba. Nick Palmieri took a loose puck in his own zone and sprung Tim Sestito up the left wing side. The bang-bang play created issues for the Pack as their forwards were caught behind the play. Sestito fired from the left wing circle and put it perfectly over Zaba’s right shoulder and into the top corner of the cage for the 1-0 lead.

It stayed that way until  4:14 of the second period when the Pack were able to get the donut off the board.

Devin DiDiomete, who continues to try and make the most of the limited minutes he’s been seeing, made a solid outlet pass to Owens. Owens advanced the puck into the right wing corner and saw linemate Derek Couture driving hard to the net ahead of Brad Snetsinger. Owens made a fantastic feed that hit Couture’s stick perfectly and the Checkers call-up slid it right under McKenna for his sixth of the year.

In the second, despite being outshot 12-5 by Lowell, the Pack played very solid defensively especially Jared Nightingale who had perhaps his best game in a Pack sweater.

The third period saw the Pack come out with a different attitude and they just took the game right to their hosts and their hosts’ net.

Six minutes into the period the Pack almost scored when Nightingale’s shot from in front got behind McKenna, but the Devils’ netminder was able to get back and cover it.

After having stopped five of six Lowell power plays, and having failed on six of their own, the Pack finally cashed one in for the first time in their previous 14 tries.

Dane Byers fed Corey Locke on the right wing side. Locke looked across the ice and as has been the set play for a while now, Dupont crashed the net from the left side and got in front of Matthew Corrente. Locke saw it and put a pass right on the stick of Dupont who deflected it in past McKenna for his ninth of the season.

The Pack could feel their five game winless streak (0-4-1-0) coming to a close as they only had to keep third place Lowell off the board for 7:44, but that wouldn’t happen.

With McKenna pulled for an extra attacker and with just 1:07 remaining in regulation, Cory Murphy blasted a hard slap-shot from the left point that Perkovich, stationed in front of Zaba, deflected in sending the game to overtime.

The Pack left Newark…can you blame them…and headed south for a two-game battle with the Norfolk Admirals on Friday and Saturday nights.

Bob Crawford masterfully called the action and then wrote the summary at Hartfordwolfpack.comThe Eagle Tribune has a brief recap from Lowell’s eyes.

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

 

STANDINGS

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA STK P 10 PIM
1. Monarchs 51 29 15 2 5 65 139 119 0-1-0-0 4-4-1-1 753
2. Sharks 48 30 14 2 2 64 160 148 6-0-1-0 7-1-2-0 750
3. Devils 51 29 17 4 1 63 162 134 2-0-1-0 6-2-1-1 969
4. Pirates 48 25 16 5 2 57 144 130 4-0-0-0 7-2-1-0 871
5.WOLF PACK 50 24 20 2 4 54 136 144 1-0-0-0 4-5-1-0 1017
6. Sound Tigers 51 22 21 2 6 52 121 134 0-2-0-3 1-4-1-4 1161
7. Bruins 49 23 23 3 0 49 125 129 2-0-0-0 4-4-2-0 791
8. Falcons 53 16 27 8 2 42 129 193 0-3-0-0 4-6-0-0 1136

 

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 overtime win gave the Pack the most wins in the extended frame than any other in the AHL.

* Dupont’s game winner was his second of the season. He also rang up a goal that was the difference on November 6th when the Pack beat Providence 5-3.

 

LINES:

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

Heikkinen – Brouillette
Williams – Schaeffer
Urquhart – Nightingale

Zaba
Wiikman

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

SCRATCHES:

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
Corey Potter – Concussion – Indefinite
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 – B. Dupont
2. HFD – M. Zaba
3. LOW – N. Perkovich

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Mark Lemelin (84)

Linesmen:
Scott Adams (20)
Mike McDevitt (13)

 

NEXT GAME:
”On the Road Again…” The good guys are headed to Virginia for two games Friday and Saturday with the Norfolk Admirals. Bob Crawford will have the pre-game at 6:30 and then the call of the contest starting at 7:05
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 3 (OT) At Lowell Devils 2 – Status: Final OT

Feb 3, 2010 – Prudential Center

Hartford 0 1 1 1 – 3

Lowell 1 0 1 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Lowell, Sestito 15 (Palmieri), 16:19 (pp). Penalties-DiDiomete Hfd (fighting), 3:19; Robitaille Low (fighting), 3:19; Taormina Low (holding the stick), 4:42; Couture Hfd (fighting), 7:26; Stoesz Low (fighting), 7:26; Williams Hfd (tripping), 9:36; Perkovich Low (interference), 14:14; Williams Hfd (hooking), 15:32; Thomas Low (hooking), 16:34; Swift Low (holding), 19:37.

2nd Period-2, Hartford, Couture 6 (Owens, DiDiomete), 4:14. Penalties-Brouillette Hfd (hooking), 4:50; Ambuhl Hfd (tripping), 7:02; Stoesz Low (cross-checking), 10:03; Owens Hfd (hooking), 12:33; Byers Hfd (hooking), 15:52.

3rd Period-3, Hartford, Dupont 9 (Locke, Byers), 12:16 (pp). 4, Lowell, Perkovich 12 (Murphy, Taormina), 18:53. Penalties-Davison Low (high-sticking), 0:22; Snetsinger Low (goaltender interference), 11:52.

OT Period-5, Hartford, Dupont 10 (Owens), 4:40. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Hartford 10-5-10-3-28. Lowell 13-12-13-1-39.

Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 1 of 7; Lowell 1 of 6.

Goalies-Hartford, Zaba 4-7-1 (39 shots-37 saves). Lowell, McKenna 16-9-1 (28 shots-25 saves).

A-5,458

 

MEANWHILE BACK IN CHARLOTTE

Charlotte Checkers Lots of News from Charlotte today. One concerns an old friend and the other, man’s best friend and the last concerns a new talented face for the lineup.

Matt Stefanishion has been acquired by the Charlotte Checkers. Stefanishion played 15 games back with the Wolf Pack in 2008-2009 and scored a goal and had 17 PIM. The team also announced the arrival of Cedric McNicoll from the Lake Erie Monsters. Meanwhile the Checkers also announced perhaps the most creative promotion that we’ve ever heard of. Read the official release below and then Stefanishion and McNicoll’s releases follow.

 

CHECKERS TO HOST INAUGURAL POOCH PARTY

Fans Encouraged To Bring Their Dogs To Mar. 14 Game

The Charlotte Checkers announced today that they have partnered with the Humane Society of Charlotte to present the inaugural “Pooch Party” at Time Warner Cable Arena on Sunday, Mar. 14 at 2 p.m. when they host the Gwinnett Gladiators.

Dog owners from throughout the Charlotte area are encouraged to bring their four-legged friends to the Checkers game to enjoy the excitement together and raise funds for a worthy cause.

“We are very excited to be able to offer an event that is dog-friendly,” said Checkers COO Tera Black. “It seems as if dog owners are continually seeking out new activities to do with their pets, and the Pooch Party has had substantial success in other, similar markets.  In partnering with the Humane Society, we also hope to bring a new level of awareness to the challenges that they face, and hopefully be able to garner the support of our fans in their initiatives.”

The Humane Society of Charlotte’s vision is to place all animals in safe and loving homes by providing care and compassion for all pets as well as education and information on the humane and responsible treatment of, and respect for, all animals. The not-for-profit organization is committed to treating all animals that enter their shelters with love, kindness, and dignity.

“The “Pooch Party” is a unique opportunity for families to bring their dog to a Checkers game while supporting the great work of the Humane Society of Charlotte,” added Donna Canzano, director of development for the Humane Society of Charlotte. “We are grateful to the Checkers for this opportunity to raise funds and awareness for our organization.”

Humane Society of Charlotte members and supporters can attend the game and support the cause in the process. As part of the partnership, the Checkers will donate $6 of each $15 fundraiser ticket back to the not-for-profit organization.

Non-pet-owners, or those who prefer to leave their companions at home, can still attend the game and raise funds for the Humane Society of Charlotte.

Owners and dogs will have a designated seating section to take in the “Pooch Party”, which will include promotional elements during the game and on the concourse as well as on-ice activities and much more.

Those interested in attending the game and supporting Humane Society of Charlotte, should contact the Checkers’ front office at 704.342-4423 or tickets@gocheckers.com.

Charlotte (24-15-5) will host two important games with potential playoff implications on Thursday, Feb. 4 and Friday, Feb 5 against the Florida Everblades. Ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com.

About the Humane Society of Charlotte: The mission of the Humane Society of Charlotte is to bring love and hope to all animals by ensuring the humane treatment of companion animals through adoption, spay/neuter and education. Our vision is to place all animals in safe and loving homes. The Humane Society of Charlotte provides low-cost spay and neuter surgeries for cats and dogs to reduce pet overpopulation throughout the Carolinas. The no-kill-of-adoptable-animals organization provides pets with the love and attention they need to live happy and healthy lives while awaiting a new home. The Humane Society of Charlotte is a non-profit organization that relies solely on private donations to achieve its mission

Here’s the Stefanishion release:

CHECKERS ACQUIRE STEFANISHION FROM ALASKA 

 Power Forward Brings Size, Scoring; Deal Completes Doyle Trade

The Charlotte Checkers have acquired forward Matt Stefanishion from the Alaska Aces, general manager and head coach Derek Wilkinson announced today. The deal completes the future considerations from the trade in early January that sent goaltender Frank Doyle to Alaska.

Stefanishion has 14 goals, six assists and 101 penalty minutes in 30 games this season for Alaska, including eight goals and three assists in his last 13 games. He helped the Aces reach game seven of last season’s Kelly Cup Finals with six goals and three assists in 16 playoff games.

The 26-year-old native of Daysland, Alberta has also skated for Fresno, Reading and South Carolina over four seasons. In 191 career ECHL games, he has 66 goals, 62 assists and 570 penalty minutes. Stefanishion has also appeared in 19 career American Hockey League games with the Hartford Wolf Pack, Hershey Bears and Peoria Rivermen.

Prior to joining the pro ranks, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound power forward played two seasons at Ferris State University where he scored 21 goals, 13 assists and added 125 penalty minutes in 57 games. Upon graduation, he signed a two-year entry level contract with the Washington Capitals.

It is expected Stefanishion will join the Checkers for Sunday’s home game against Toledo.

 

Here’s the McNicoll release:

 CHECKERS RECEIVE MCNICOLL FROM LAKE ERIE 

 Skilled Forward Led Team In Scoring, League In Plus-Minus In ‘08-09
The Charlotte Checkers have been assigned forward Cedric McNicoll from the American Hockey League’s Lake Erie Monsters head coach and general manager Derek Wilkinson announced today.

McNicoll, 21, has five goals and eight assists in 39 games for the Monsters this season, his first as a professional. He notched his first career goal on Oct. 30 against Peoria and collected seven points in seven games between Dec. 26 and Jan. 5.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound center from Longueuil, Quebec enjoyed a successful four-year junior career with the Shawinigan Cataractes of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League where he tallied 110 goals and 154 assists in 249 games.

In 2008-09, McNicoll led the Cataractes in scoring with 104 points (38g, 66a) in 65 games and led the entire QMJHL with an impressive +61 rating. He helped Shawinigan to the QMJHL finals with 31 points in 21 games before losing in seven games to the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

He was twice named winner of the Frank J. Selke Award as the QMJHL’s most sportsmanlike player and participated in the 2009 QMJHL All-Star Game.

McNicoll attended training camp with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008 and was signed by the Colorado Avalanche in 2009. He is expected to be in the lineup tonight when the Checkers host the Florida Everblades.

 

SHADOW OF THEMSELVES

Hartford Wolf Pack puck VERSUS Lowell Devils

****Update****

Howlings had unconfirmed reports earlier that Miika Wiikman was returning to Hartford. The Wolf Pack have now confirmed those reports as true. Wiikman will be with the team tonight when they take on the first place Manchester Monarchs. The question now is simply the status of Steve Valiquette and Matt Zaba. Is one of them injured or could some other announcement be coming regarding one of them? (For the actual release view the bottom of the page).

_____________________________________

The already injured depleted Hartford Wolf Pack suffered not one, but two more injuries to key players Friday night as both defenseman Michael Sauer and fourth line center Ryan Garlock were added to the list of walking wounded. Combine that loss of manpower with a dreadful start with the Pack staking the visiting Lowell Devils a two-goal lead in the first 8:41 of the game, and a perfect storm scenario engulfed the home team in a 3-2 defeat in front of 4,162 at the XL Center in the first of back-to-back home dates.

Garlock left the game in the first period and Sauer left in the second with injuries undisclosed by the team. They join a who’s who of Wolf Pack hockey with NHL veteran Mathieu Dandenault still weeks away with a lower body injury; P.A. Parenteau and Corey Potter out with concussions, Bobby Sanguinetti with a lower body injury and Brent Henley and Mike Hoffman done for the season after having knee and shoulder surgery respectively.

As of right now, the Pack are only playing minus four of the six starters they opened the season with. Only Ilkka Heikkinen and Nigel Williams remain healthy from opening night. Overall, the Pack have lost five defenseman to injury this season.

“I’ve been a pro for nine years and never seen anything like this. We have to say a prayer to God.” Henley told reporters after the game.

After the game, Pack head coach Ken Gernander was on his cell phone with Derek Wilkinson in Charlotte and the decision was made to recall defenseman, Julien Brouillette (10g, 16a, 26pts along with 19PIM and a plus-11 in 39 games with the Checkers) to take Sauer’s place in the lineup. Unconfirmed reports suggest that also returning to Hartford is goaltender Miika Wiikman. The Mariestad, Sweden native has been exceptionally solid in Charlotte. The 5’11” 180-pounder has a 2.77GAA and a .909 save percentage while posting a 9-2-1 record.

The start of the game was clearly the story of this loss, the third straight for Hartford and fourth without a win (0-3-1-0). The Pack were outshot 13-1 before getting a second shot on goal at 14:12.

Starting netminder Steve Valiquette was not sharp either. Valiquette (7 saves) surrendered an early power play goal allowing Nathan Perkovich to slide one between his legs. It was one of those goals that netminders will always say they wanted back. Valiquette then went down too early 3:26 later on Brad Mills’ shot from the right circle. The puck whizzed right over his glove and like that the Pack were down two goals.

Gernander had seen enough and after allowing two goals on nine shots, at 8:41 Matt Zaba (25 saves, 3-6-1) was brought in to tend to the Pack net.

“It’s hard battling back when you get down that quickly,” Wolf Pack captain Dane Byers said to reporters afterwards. “Getting a good start was addressed before the game, and it wasn’t Valiquette’s fault that we got behind so fast. He had to pay for the bad start. We nearly tied it up, but we couldn’t pull it out.”

“We don’t question the guys’ heart or character or ability to fight off the mat, but now we have to question the start and why we put ourselves behind the 8-ball,” Gernander said. “We got stronger as the game went on, had plenty of scoring chances and did some good things, but we paid the price for our start.

It’s often said that a good fight can wake a team up from it’s doldrums. While in terms of scraps, this one wasn’t much, but when Pack forward Justin Soryal dropped the gloves with defenseman Rob Davison behind the Devils net, it gave the Pack life.

“Everyone kind of built off (the fight),” Corey Locke said. “But it shouldn’t take until the 10-minute mark to get started.”

The team used that adrenaline boost wisely and got on the board with a power play goal at 15:10.  Tim Sestito of the Devils was sent to the penalty box on a tripping infraction at 13:47. It took Hartford just 25 seconds to capitalize as Byers beat Devils starter Mike McKenna (35 saves, 16-8-1). Kenny Roche was stationed in the slot and took a pass from  Locke. The recent Charlotte call-up fanned on a shot, but got enough of it that it found its way right to Byers stick. Byers then got it and put the puck under McKenna for his 13th of the season.

In the second period period, Soryal continued his strong play when he rang up his first of the season with an incredible redirection of a laser of a shot from the right side by Jared Nightingale that beat McKenna to the short side of the cage.

The score was even.

But it wasn’t to be as Mills scored his second of the contest when he deflected a Stephen Gionta shot after getting away from Jordan Owens in front of Zaba at 14:12 for what would prove to be the game winner.

It wasn’t like the Pack did not get their chances.

The Pack had three power play chances to tie it through the remainder of the contest, but just could not buy a goal.

“We had numerous chances on every power play,” Locke said. “One sits on the line, and even some of the shots from the point got tipped or just hit him. We just didn’t get the breaks.” The line shot mentioned by Locke came midway through the final frame when Brodie Dupont’s shot sat behind McKenna for what seemed like an eternity before the Devils’ netminder dove back to cover it.

“We need any number of things to turn the momentum, but collectively, everyone has to be better off the get-go.” He added.

“Our start cost us the game,” Locke said. “When you need to come back at home, it’s tough, especially when a lot of guys have to play a lot of minutes due to some injuries. But there were a lot of positives to come out of the game, other than the start.”

Bruce Berlet is on the scene and takes you inside the Pack’s locker room at Hartfordwolfpack.com.  Lowell’s story can only be found on their team website at LowellDevilsHockey.com. There’s also an interesting story about the Devils attendance woes at LowellSun.com.

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

STANDINGS

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA STK P 10 PIM
1. Monarchs 49 28 14 2 5 63 136 113 2-0-0-1 4-3-1-2 729
2. Sharks 46 29 14 1 2 61 149 140 1-0-0-0 6-3-0-1 701
3. Devils 49 28 17 3 1 60 156 128 1-0-0-0 6-3-0-1 918
4. Pirates 46 23 16 5 2 53 136 128 2-0-0-0 6-3-1-0 843
5.WOLF PACK 48 23 19 2 4 52 133 140 0-3-1-0 4-5-1-0 981
6. Sound Tigers 49 22 20 2 5 51 119 130 0-1-0-2 3-3-1-3 1126
7. Bruins 47 21 23 3 0 45 111 127 0-1-0-0 3-5-2-0 742
8. Falcons 50 16 24 8 2 42 123 171 1-0-0-0 5-4-1-0 1027

NOTES:

* Former Wolf Pack Enforcer Trevor Gillies will play in only his second NHL game of his career. The 6’3” 215-pounder has been recalled by the New York Islanders. He will play the Marty McSorley role to John Tavares’ Gretzky.

* Howlings has started something new. In addition to keeping you posted here on all major news stories, visit www.twitter.com/howlingstoday for in-game coverage of both the Pack and Checkers games. Please “Follow” us on Twitter.

* Chad Johnson ranks fifth among AHL netminders with a 14-8-2 record and 2.03GAA and a .930%

* Brodie Dupont, Evgeny Grachev and Corey Locke have played in EVERY game thus far for the Pack.

* The Pack’s record in 1-goal games drops to 11-7-2-4 and when they outshoot their opponents its 15-10-1-2.

LINES:

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

Urquhart – Sauer
Williams – Nightingale
Heikkinen – Schaeffer

Valiquette
Zaba

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

SCRATCHES:

Devin DiDiomete – Healthy Scratch
Bobby Sanguinetti – Lower Body – Day-to-Day
Corey Potter – Concussion – Indefinite
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. LOW – B. Mills
2. LOW – S. Gionta
3. HFD – D. Byers

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Shaun Davis (31)

Linesmen:
Luke Galvin (2)
David Spannaus (8)

NEXT GAME:

The Norfolk Admirals and AHL All-Star Blair Jones, with ex-Ranger Adam Hall and ex-Pack Mitch Fritz continue their northern states visit when they steam into the XL Center for a battle on the ice with the Wolf Pack Wednesday night. One could say this one would be a sea battle since the Admirals embrace the Navy and the Wolf Pack are named after a fleet of submarines. Bob Crawford will have the pre-game at 6:30 and then the call of the contest starting at 7:05

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:

Lowell Devils 3 At Hartford Wolf Pack 2 – Status: Final

Jan 29, 2010 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Lowell 2 1 0 – 3

Hartford 1 1 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Lowell, Perkovich 12 (Swift, Eckford), 5:15 (pp). 2, Lowell, Mills 6 (Gionta, Murphy), 8:41. 3, Hartford, Byers 13 (Roche, Locke), 15:10 (pp). Penalties-Roche Hfd (hooking), 4:49; Davison Low (fighting), 10:28; Soryal Hfd (fighting), 10:28; Sestito Low (tripping), 13:47.

2nd Period-4, Hartford, Soryal 1 (Nightingale, Williams), 9:10. 5, Lowell, Mills 7 (Gionta, Murphy), 14:12. Penalties-Swift Low (fighting), 1:35; Nightingale Hfd (fighting), 1:35; Locke Hfd (roughing), 2:43; Sestito Low (slashing), 4:15; Weise Hfd (boarding), 4:54; Robitaille Low (boarding, fighting), 9:29; Byers Hfd (fighting), 9:29; Eckford Low (tripping), 14:59; Couture Hfd (high-sticking), 18:08; Urquhart Hfd (hooking), 19:36.

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Murphy Low (cross-checking), 3:09; Robitaille Low (misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 6:02; Soryal Hfd (misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 6:02; Murphy Low (slashing), 8:19.

Shots on Goal-Lowell 14-10-11-35. Hartford 8-10-19-37.

Power Play Opportunities-Lowell 1 of 5; Hartford 1 of 6.

Goalies-Lowell, McKenna 16-8-1 (37 shots-35 saves). Hartford, Valiquette 4-5-1 (9 shots-7 saves); Zaba 3-6-1 (26 shots-25 saves).

A-4,162

MEANWHILE BACK IN CHARLOTTE

Charlotte Checkers VERSUS      Johnstown Chiefs

CHECKERS STORM BACK FOR 5-2 VICTORY OVER CHIEFS

Carroll Adds Another Two; Charlotte Undefeated Against Chiefs, East Division

The Charlotte Checkers spotted the Johnstown Chiefs two goals and stormed back for the 5-2 win on Friday night in Western Pennsylvania. With the win, the Checkers improve to 3-0-0 against the Chiefs and 6-0-0 against East Division teams this season.

Andrew Carroll led the charge with two goals, including the game-winner while Tyler Doig, who was returned from Hartford (AHL) earlier in the day, added a goal and two assists. Miika Wiikman stopped 28 of 30 shots for his ninth win of the season. The Swedish netminder has only one regulation loss in his last 13 starts.

Johnstown drew first blood, just over two minutes into the contest, on a fluky goal from 100 feet out. Chiefs defenseman Jonathan Ralph let go a slap shot from the red line that fooled Wiikman and dipped just under the crossbar for the 1-0 lead.

The Chiefs would take a two-goal lead near the end of the period when Connor Shields, stationed in the slot, took a pass from Bryan Marshall and lifted the puck past Wiikman on the blocker side for the shorthanded tally.

For the second game in a row, the Checkers headed to the locker room after 20 minutes down by two goals and came out in the second period looking to turn the tide.

Midway through the second period, David Marshall notched his second goal in as many games to cut the Johnstown lead to 2-1. Defenseman Ethan Graham threw a bomb of a pass to Marshall, who then snuck past the opposing defenders and skated in alone on Chiefs goaltender John Murray. Marshall then slipped the puck between the legs of Murray for his 10th of the season.

Charlotte then tied the game, with less than three minutes to play in the period, when Aaron Slattengren banged home a rebound from a Matt Schepke wrist shot.

The Checkers did not stop there and took their first lead of the game with 38 seconds to play in the frame. Michel Leveille dished a pretty pass over to Carroll who beat an out-of-position Murray for his team-leading 19th of the season.

Charlotte held the 3-2 lead for the first three quarters of the third period before Carroll added another. Doig centered a pass from the wing that was redirected by Carroll past the blocker of Murray, putting the Checkers ahead 4-2 and giving Carroll the third-highest goal total among all ECHL rookies.

Doig then added some insurance, with less than two minutes left, when he fired a slap shot over the shoulder of the Johnstown netminder.

The Checkers killed a late penalty and cruised to a 5-2 victory, their first of the season north of Charlotte.

The Checkers (23-14-5) will continue their northern road trip in Reading tomorrow before returning home on Thursday, Feb. 4 to host the Florida Everblades 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 48 30 11 3 4 67 169 150 0-2-1-0 5-3-2-0 693
2. Florida Everblades 45 23 16 2 4 52 144 131 1-0-0-0 6-3-0-1 872
3. Charlotte Checkers 42 23 14 3 2 51 157 144 1-0-0-0 5-4-0-1 880
4. Gwinnett Gladiators 42 19 18 3 2 43 149 162 0-1-0-0 4-5-1-0 736

NOTES:

* The Chiefs are owned and coached by Neil Smith. Yes Rangers fans, that Neil Smith.

* Charlotte is 13-3-1 in its last 17 home games

* The Checkers are 6-0-0 against East Division opponents this season

* Andrew Carroll has nine goals and six assists in his last 11 games and his five game-winning goals are the second highest total in the entire ECHL

* Tyler Doig ranks fourth in ECHL scoring with 51 points (12g, 39a) while Leveille ranks tied for 11th with 43 points (14g, 29a)

* Julien Brouillette has eight points (4g, 4a) in his last nine games and ranks seventh among all ECHL defensemen with 26 points (10g, 16a)

* T.J. Reynolds leads all ECHL defensemen with 174 penalty minutes, and is fourth in overall plus-minus with a +17 rating

* Derek Couture, Tyler Doig, Kenny Roche and Kevin Schaeffer are with Hartford (AHL) while Matt Ford and Randy Rowe are with Lake Erie (AHL)

* Trevor Glass, Chris Snavely and Chris Chappell are on the 21-day injured reserve.

LINES:

Carroll –Leveille © – Doig
Slattengren – Tkaczuk – Schepke
Chabot – Taylor – Marshall
Burki

Berube – Reynolds
Graham – Ward
Brouillette – Dowzak

Wiikman
Munce

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

SCRATCHES:

Chris Snavely – 21-day IR
Trevor Glass – Close to returning
Chris Chappell – Season ending injury

THREE STARS:

1. CHR – A. Carroll
2. CHR – T. Doig
3. CHR – M. Wiikman

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Geno Binda (15)

Linesmen:
Paul Carnathan (93)
Zach Roberts (77)

NEXT GAME:

The Checkers leave Johnstown to head to Reading for a 7pm faceoff with the East Division leading Royals. Then it’s back on the bus and a return trip to finish what they started with the Chiefs for a Sunday tilt at 5:30.

You can 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 5 At Johnstown Chiefs 2 – Status: Final

Jan 29, 2010 – Cambria County War Memorial Arena

Charlotte 0 3 2 – 5

Johnstown 2 0 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Johnstown, Ralph 2 (Murray), 2:33. 2, Johnstown, Shields 16 (Marshall, Zarb), 18:29 (sh). Penalties-Berube Chr (fighting – major), 5:25; Schwab Jhn (fighting – major), 5:25; Myers Jhn (interference), 7:09; Doig Chr (slashing ), 10:37; Hendrikx Jhn (slashing ), 10:37; Reynolds Chr (roughing), 14:55; Ralph Jhn (hooking), 17:18; Chabot Chr (fighting – major), 20:00; Hendrikx Jhn (cross-checking, fighting – major), 20:00.

2nd Period-3, Charlotte, Marshall 10 (Graham, Wiikman), 11:06. 4, Charlotte, Slattengren 10 (Schepke, Tkaczuk), 17:46. 5, Charlotte, Carroll 19 (Doig, Leveille), 19:22. Penalties-Dowzak Chr (hooking), 6:39; Myers Jhn (roughing), 8:43; Schwab Jhn (slashing ), 12:50.

3rd Period-6, Charlotte, Carroll 20 (Doig), 14:29. 7, Charlotte, Doig 12   18:39. Penalties-Zarb Jhn (delay of game), 3:10; Dowzak Chr (hooking), 15:41; Berube Chr (delay of game), 18:49.

Shots on Goal-Charlotte 11-13-8-32. Johnstown 12-11-7-30.

Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 0 of 6; Johnstown 0 of 4.

Goalies-Charlotte, Wiikman 9-2-1-2 (30 shots-28 saves). Johnstown, Murray 3-10-2-0 (32 shots-27 saves).

A-2,208

Here’s the official release on Brouillette coming to Hartford:

WOLF PACK SIGN DEFENSEMAN JULIEN BROUILLETTE TO PTO
* * * *
Was Leading Scorer Among ECHL Charlotte’s Defensemen

Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the team has signed defenseman Julien Brouillette to a Professional Tryout (PTO) agreement.

Brouillette, currently in his third year of pro hockey, is the leading point, goal and assist-producer among defensemen for the Wolf Pack’s ECHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, with 10 goals and 16 assists for 26 points in 38 games. Brouillette is also tied for second among all ECHL defensemen in goals, and tied for sixth among league blueliners in points.

The 5-11, 185-pound St. Esprit, Quebec native has also played three AHL games this year for the Providence Bruins, registering one assist. Last season Brouillette topped all Charlotte defensemen in points and goals, and finished tied for fifth overall on the Checker team in points, with 11-18-29 in 70 games.

In 175 career ECHL games with Charlotte and the Columbia Inferno, the 23-year old Brouillette has totaled 27 goals and 45 assists for 72 points, along with 141 penalty minutes. Prior to turning pro, he played four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, amassing 27 goals and 96 assists for 123 points, plus 206 PIM, in 227 career games.

Here is the Wiikman press release:

GOALTENDER MIIKA WIIKMAN RE-JOINS WOLF PACK

* * * *

Had 9-3-2 Record in 16 Games with ECHL Charlotte

Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the parent New York Rangers have reassigned goaltender Miika Wiikman to the Wolf Pack from the team’s ECHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.

Prior to being assigned to the Checkers October 31, Wiikman appeared in four games with the Wolf Pack, going 2-2-0 with a 3.27 goals-against average and an 88.8% save percentage. In 16 ECHL games with Charlotte, the 5-11, 187-pound native of Mariestad Sweden has compiled a 9-3-2 slate, with a 2.77 GAA, a 90.9% save percentage and one shutout. His 2.77 goals-against average ranks seventh among ECHL netminders.

Wiikman, who is in his third year of North American pro hockey, has played in 79 career AHL games with the Wolf Pack and has gone 44-28-7, with a 2.56 GAA, a 91.0% save percentage and four shutouts. In 20 career ECHL contests with Charlotte, Wiikman is 10-4-2 with a 2.68 GAA and a 91.2% save percentage.

Wiikman signed as a free agent with the Rangers April 24, 2008.

The Wolf Pack are back in action tonight at the XL Center, hosting the Atlantic Division-leading Manchester Monarchs in a 7:00 PM game

PEAKS AND VALI

Pack Puck Standing     VERSUS      Devils

The Hartford Wolf Pack scored two goals within 3:28 to erase a third period deficit but Nick Palmieri’s second goal of the game with just 59.3 seconds remaining as Lowell beat the New York Ranger’s top farm club 3-2 in a special contest held at the Devils parent’s arena, the Prudential Center in Newark New Jersey, Wednesday night.

Tim Sestito fed Palmieri as he entered the offensive zone. Evgeny Grachev forced Palmieri wide and deep into the right side of the face off circle. The Devils right-winger unloaded a shot from a near impossible angle. Steve Valiquette, who had a solid game up to that moment, went down to one knee while hugging the post facing Palmieri. When he split his legs like that it created a five-hole opening that almost miraculously, Palmieri’s shot found it’s way through.

In the first period, the Pack played the game evenly with their host, but played with no spark.

Brodie Dupont took a holding call 2:13 into the second period and put the league’s best power play unit on the ice against their 21stranked penalty kill. The old adage about a good defense would beat a good offense…well, it didn’t quite apply.

Just 24 seconds into their man advantage, defenseman Matt Taormina launched a hard shot from the high slot with plenty of traffic in front of Valiquette (23 saves, 4-4-1). The shot appeared to hit a Pack player as it clearly redirected past the Pack netminder. Ben Walter and Vladimir Zharkov put assists onto their stat sheets on the play.

3:54 later the Pack hole grew just a bit deeper as Palmieri tallied his first of the game and 13th of the season when Valiquette was victimized by another weird goal. Palmieri was high at the right point. Corey Potter charged up at the Utica, NY native who fired a shot on goal. It’s hard to tell, but it appeared as if Valiquette was screened as the shot flew right past him into the net. The Pack had surrendered two goals on three shots.

As he did in the previous game, Devin DiDiomete sparked his teammates out of another poor performance. Against Syracuse he did it with his fists. In this one he did it with his body and his hands. DiDiomete broke in on Devils netminder Jeff Frazee (28 saves, 9-7-0) and almost tallied his first of the season, but a nice save by the Edina, Minnesota native kept the Pack off the board, but woke them from their slumber.

Valiquette made a magnificent save at 16:50 when a shot by Zharkov bounced off the Pack goaltender into the crease and Nathan Perkovich jumped all over it and went to raise it into the top corner. Valiquette flashed the glove and robbed him from deep in the red zone. It was Valiquette’s best save since being sent down by the Rangers to Hartford in early December.

The Pack broke through for their first goal at 3:15 of the third period. Ilkka Heikkinen, playing his most noticeable game of the season, fired a shot from the right point that went right on net into a crowd. Derek Couture then slid the puck over to Paul Crowder who fired the puck past Frazee for his eighth of the season.

Heikkinen then made a great move to get around left winger Alexander Vasyunov at the right point. While the puck is on the way to the net, Dale Weise got away from Taormina in front and deflected it past Frazee from right in front of the net. The goal was Weise’s eleventh and third point in the last three games (2g, 1a).

Attendance was for the game was 3,276. While that draw might seem miniscule by most team’s standards, the Devils are the lowest drawing team in the American League averaging only 1,850 a contest. In the NHL, the parent Devils average 15,049 good for 23rd out of 30 teams. If you’re interested, the Rangers are 12th overall averaging 18,200 (a sell out).

Bob Crawford had yet another real strong game on the microphone calling the action and then before boarding the bus for home filed this report at Hartfordwolfpack.com.  For the Lowell perspective read about it at lowelldevilshockey.com.

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

 

STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA STK P 10 PIM
1. Monarchs 39 24 11 1 3 52 108 86 1-0-0-1 5-4-0-1 546
2. Devils 39 22 14 3 0 47 129 109 2-0-0-0 7-3-0-0 717
3. Sharks 36 22 12 0 2 46 111 104 6-0-0-0 8-2-0-0 565
4. WOLF PACK 38 19 14 1 4 43 110 110 0-1-0-0 6-2-0-2 771
5. Pirates 37 18 13 4 2 42 108 104 2-0-0-0 6-2-1-1 690
6. Sound Tigers 39 19 17 1 2 41 97 101 0-3-0-0 5-4-1-0 932
7. Bruins 38 18 19 1 0 37 94 105 0-2-0-0 3-7-0-0 637
8. Falcons 40 11 20 7 2 31 94 142 0-2-0-0 1-6-3-0 900

 

NOTES:

* This game was the first for Wolf Pack in the home of a current NHL team since December 20, 1998, when they defeated the Fredericton Canadiens, 4-1, at what is now the Bell Centre in Montreal.

* The Pack lost ended their season high streak of 4-0-0-1 and a 2-0 record against the second place Lowell Devils.

* After winning two come from behind games, the Pack almost pulled it off a third time.

* The Pack are 8-5-1-4 in one goal games and 12-7-1-2 in games when they outshoot their opponents.

* Devin DiDiomete leads the team in PIM with 78

 

LINES:

Byers © – Locke – Parenteau 
Grachev – Dupont – Weise
DiDiomete – Crowder – Couture
Ambϋhl – Tkaczuk – Nightingale

Heikkinen – Sanguinetti 
PotterWilliams  
Urquhart – Sauer

Valiquette 
Zaba

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

SCRATCHES:

Justin Soryal – Facial Injury – Day-to-Day
Ryan Garlock – Upper Body Injury – Undisclosed
Mike Hoffman – Undisclosed injury – Day-to-Day
Chad Johnson – On recall with the NY Rangers
Mathieu Dandenault – Lower Body – Three – Four weeks
Jordan Owens – Facial Injury – Indefinite
Brent Henley – Knee  – Season

 

THREE STARS:

1. LOW – N. Palmieri
2. LOW – T. Sestito
3. HFD – I. Heikkinen

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Ryan Fraser (14)

Linesmen:
Leo Boylan (97)
Matt McNulty (26)

 

NEXT GAME:

The Wolf Pack will take their four game winning streak on the road for the next four games where they have struggled. On the road, the Pack are 6-10-0-2. The team’s last road game was a

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 2 At Lowell Devils 3 – Status: Final

Jan 6, 2010 – Prudential Center

Hartford 0 0 2 – 2

Lowell 0 2 1 – 3

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Swift Low (slashing), 2:47; Couture Hfd (elbowing), 8:38; DiDiomete Hfd (fighting), 12:02; Robitaille Low (interference, fighting), 12:02; Corrente Low (boarding), 15:36.

2nd Period-1, Lowell, Taormina 8 (Walter, Zharkov), 2:37 (pp). 2, Lowell, Palmieri 13 (Corrente, Sestito), 6:31. Penalties-Dupont Hfd (holding), 2:13; DiDiomete Hfd (roughing), 7:30; Sauer Hfd (roughing, fighting, misconduct – instigating), 7:30; Robitaille Low (fighting), 7:30; Stoesz Low (roughing), 7:30; Davison Low (slashing), 12:49; Davison Low (high-sticking), 19:32.

3rd Period-3, Hartford, Crowder 8 (Couture, Heikkinen), 3:15. 4, Hartford, Weise 11 (Heikkinen), 6:43. 5, Lowell, Palmieri 14 (Sestito, Murphy), 19:00. Penalties-Sanguinetti Hfd (holding), 7:34; Dupont Hfd (roughing), 8:50; Palmieri Low (roughing), 8:50; Davis Low (holding the stick), 10:59; Corrente Low (delay of game), 19:54; Parenteau Hfd (roughing), 20:00; Frazee Low (roughing), 20:00.

Shots on Goal-Hartford 7-10-13-30. Lowell 6-12-8-26.

Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 of 7; Lowell 1 of 4.

Goalies-Hartford, Valiquette 4-4-1 (26 shots-23 saves). Lowell, Frazee 9-7-0 (30 shots-28 saves).

A-3,276

 MEANWHILE BACK IN CHARLOTTE

 Charlotte Checkers      VERSUS      South Carolina Stingrays

CHECKERS STING RAYS

Carroll & Wiikman lead Checkers to Victory over ECHL’s best

The Charlotte Checkers battled the South Carolina Stingrays once again and came out on top beating the division-leaders, 5-4, in a shootout on Wednesday evening at Time Warner Cable Arena. The victory now gives the Checkers a three-game win streak as they prepare for their first northern road trip of the season.

Andrew Carroll notched a goal and an assist while Miika Wiikman turned aside 27 of 31 shots for the win. Defenseman T.J. Reynolds picked up an assist and now has six points in his last five games.

Just under five minutes into the game, the Stingrays drew first blood as Michael Dubuc took the puck off the faceoff and beat Wiikman low on the blocker side. The goal was unassisted and was Dubuc’s sixth of the season.

The Checkers then went on the attack and threw 17 shots on the South Carolina net before the end of the period. Ex-Checker, and current Stingrays goaltender Parker Van Buskirk, however, turned them all aside helping South Carolina keep the one-goal lead heading to the locker room.

Early in the second, it was all Charlotte as they scored three quick goals in a span of 3:40.

Michel Leveille took a shot at Van Buskirk, collected his own rebound and fired it into the top corner for his 12th of the season. The goal was assisted by Steve Ward and Tyler Doig and came at the 3:27 mark of the period.

Just two minutes later, Carroll, doing an imitation of Leveille on the last goal, let a shot go on Van Buskirk and banged home his own rebound for his 12th of the season. Matt Schepke and Reynolds picked up assists on the play.

The Checkers then took a two-goal lead just over a minute later on a great individual effort by defenseman Julien Brouillette. Brouillette carried the puck down low, cut to the net and tapped a backhand shot past South Carolina’s netminder. Carroll added an assist on the play and the goal came at 7:07 of the second frame.

Charlotte held a 33-19 shot advantage through two periods of play.

South Carolina then cut the Checkers’ lead to one, only 50 seconds into the third period, on a fluky goal by Trent Campbell. Jake Hauswirth took a shot toward the Charlotte net and the puck bounced off a Checkers defender onto the stick of Campbell who beat a sprawling Wiikman for his eighth of the year.

The Stingrays would tie the game midway through the third on a turnover down low in the Checkers’ end. Matt Scherer took a pass from Rob Ricci and made no mistake, firing it home and setting the stage for an interesting final eight minutes.

With less than two minutes to play, Checkers forward Aaron Slattengren broke the tie as he circled the South Carolina net and took a backhand shot from a near-impossible angle that beat Van Buskirk between the legs.

The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as Dylan Yeo took a shot through traffic that made its way to the back of the Charlotte net. The goal came with 41 seconds to play in the game and the teams headed to overtime.

After a scoreless overtime, the Zamboni cleaned the surface and paved the way for a shootout. After four rounds of shooters, Andrew Carroll had a chance to seal the win for the Checkers and made no mistake as he faked Van Buskirk and beat him with a wrist shot on the blocker side.

(Carroll’s shot in the shootout photo courtesy of gocheckers.com)

 

SHOOT-OUT RESULTS:
(Charlotte elected to have South Carolina shoot first)

 

Round Shooter (Team) Result
Round 1 Johnson (SC) Goal
Round 1 Slattengren (CHR) Goal
Round 2 Campbell (SC) No Goal
Round 2 Leveille (CHR) No Goal
Round 3 Dubuc (SC) Goal
Round 3 Marshall (CHR) Goal
Round 4 Ricci (SC) No Goal
Round 4 Burki (CHR) Goal
Round 5 Yeo (SC) Goal
Round 5 Carroll (CHR) Goal

 

Checkers win shootout 4-3 

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 37 24 8 1 4 53 128 113 1-0-0-1 7-2-0-1 543
2. Charlotte Checkers 32 18 10 3 1 40 116 104 3-0-0-0 5-4-1-0 684
3. Florida Everblades 35 17 13 2 3 39 113 102 1-0-0-0 5-4-1-0 695
4. Gwinnett Gladiators 31 15 12 2 2 34 110 111 0-2-0-1 4-5-0-1 565

 

NOTES:

* Ryan Munce (.922) ranks 2nd  in save percentage among all ECHL goaltenders…

* Tyler Doig ranks 5th in ECHL scoring with 38 points (9g, 29a)…

* Miika Wiikman has only one regulation loss in 11 games this season (7-1-2)…

* T.J. Reynolds has six points in his last five games, leads all ECHL defensemen with 137 penalty minutes, and is second in overall ECHL plus-minus with a +20 rating…

* The Checkers are 10-3-1 in their last 14 home games…

* Charlotte has only one regulation loss in 17 tries when scoring first (12-1-4)…

* Trevor Glass and Chris Chappell are on the 21-day injured reserve.

 

LINES:

Doig – Leveille ©Slattengren 
Burki – Harder – Schepke
Chabot – Taylor – Carroll
Marshall

Graham -Ward
Berube – Reynolds
Brouillette – Schaeffer

Wiikman
Munce

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

THREE STARS;

1. CHR – A. Carroll
2. CHR – A. Slattengren
3. CHR – T. Doig

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Paul Depuydt

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

 

NEXT GAME:

Off to the road for back-to-back games Friday and Saturday night with the Kalamazoo Wings (Second place, 19-9-4-0) and then on to Ohio Sunday to face the Toledo Walleye (Third place, 17-13-1-3).

You can 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:

South Carolina Stingrays 4 At Charlotte Checkers 5 (SO) – Status: Final SO

Jan 6, 2010 – Time Warner Cable Arena

South Carolina 1 0 3 0 – 4

Charlotte 0 3 1 0 – 5

1st Period-1, South Carolina, Dubuc 6   4:55. Penalties-Cascalenda Sc (interference), 2:33.

2nd Period-2, Charlotte, Leveille 12 (Ward, Doig), 3:27. 3, Charlotte, Carroll 12 (Schepke, Reynolds), 5:32. 4, Charlotte, Brouillette 6 (Carroll), 7:07. Penalties-Brouillette Chr (cross-checking), 12:56.

3rd Period-5, South Carolina, Campbell 8 (Hauswirth, Kiser), 0:50. 6, South Carolina, Scherer 10 (Ricci, Farrell), 12:33. 7, Charlotte, Slattengren 3 (Doig), 18:13. 8, South Carolina, Yeo 6   19:39. Penalties-Bruess Sc (hooking), 2:09; Brouillette Chr (hooking), 6:36.

OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties

Shootout – South Carolina 3 (Johnson G, Campbell NG, Dubuc G, Ricci NG, Yeo G), Charlotte 4 (Slattengren G, Leveille NG, Marshall G, Burki G, Carroll G).

Shots on Goal-South Carolina 8-10-10-3-0-31. Charlotte 17-16-13-4-1-51.

Power Play Opportunities-South Carolina 0 of 2; Charlotte 0 of 2.

Goalies-South Carolina, Van Buskirk 5-8-1-1 (50 shots-46 saves). Charlotte, Wiikman 7-1-1-1 (31 shots-27 saves).

A-4,017

PACK GIVE LOWELL “DEVIL” OF A TIME

 Pack Puck Standing     VERSUS     Devils

This Thanksgiving the Pack will have a lot to be thankful for.

Wednesday night the Pack got excellent goaltending again from rookie Chad Johnson, two goals from Dale Weise and two assists apiece from the AHL’s overall points leader, Corey Locke and points from a defenseman, Bobby Sanguinetti, as the Wolf Pack came from behind on the road and knocked off the Lowell Devils 4-1.

The Pack fell behind midway through the first period when on the power play, with Derek Couture in the box on a tripping rap, Patrick Davis took a pass from defenseman Matt Taormina and bolted up the left wing boards beating Mathieu Dandenault turning in and beating Johnson (22 saves, 9-5-1) under the pads.

One of the signs that this team is beginning to come together is that they did not panic when down on the road. Just 33 seconds later the Pack responded with an outstanding team effort that resulted in an Evgeny Grachev lamp lighter. Sanguinetti (6g, 16a in 21 games) fed Brodie Dupont along the right wing. Dupont put a low hard shot that hit Devils starter Mike McKenna (27 saves, 7-4-0) in the pads and deflected over to the left side where Grachev was there to punch it in past the St. Louis, Missouri native.

Play was completely controlled by the third place Wolf Pack (12-8-0-1, 25 points) against their franchise rivals. But they would not have entered the intermission with the lead had Johnson not come up huge between the pipes. With just ten seconds remaining in the first, Corey Potter was stripped of the puck along the right wing boards by Brad Mills. There was nothing but air and ice between he and linemate Nick Palmieri in the way to the net. Mills approached and Johnson did his best to cut off the angle to the twine. As he got close to the net, Mills fed Palmieri and Johnson stayed right with it and forced the right winger to shoot the puck wide of the net. With a 1-0 lead on the board and a 12-6 shots advantage in the scorer’s sheet, the Pack went to the locker room.

They didn’t let up when the two teams returned to the ice. The Devils tried to elevate their game, but the Pack made their rivals look like they were full of tryptophan from too much turkey a day early. The Pack came out determined to make this one stick. At 3:13, Devin DiDiomete, in his first game of the season after having broken his arm in training camp and a six game stay in Charlotte, proved his arm is healed when he and Louis Robitaille dropped the mitts. While it wasn’t much of a fight, DiDiomete got the victory in his first major of the season by landing far better shots. Robitaille did win the wrestling section of the contest as he brought the Pack forward to the ice.

But the Pack resolve was reinvigorated and they capitalized 2:27 later.

Jordan Owens took a Corey Potter feed and rushed with abandon up the right wing boards. Owens bull rushed past defender Rob Davison and with the Devils defender draped on him like paparazzi to Britney Spears, came in hard on McKenna. Owens, a Toronto native, stuffed the puck past McKenna and was run into the goal by Davison forcing the cage to become dislodged from it’s moorings. The goal judge immediately turned on the light and referee Terry Koharski made no signal. But after discussing the play with linesman Chris Aughe and then confirming the call with the goal judge the light once again was turned on and the Pack had a lead they would not relinquish.

The Pack doubled up their lead to two just less than ten minutes later on some terrific play from the team’s new first line of Dane Byers on the left, Locke in center and Dale Weise on the right. The trio played with what seemed like a good chemistry all night long. But after some nifty netminding and a huge stop on Robitaille from Johnson as the Devils buzzed the Pack net, the Rangers’ top prospects broke out of their zone with a three-on-two odd man rush. On a delayed penalty, Locke had the puck along the right side boards and made a sweet cross ice pass to Byers. The left winger made a beautiful feed just past McKenna and right on the tape of Weise’s stick who put the puck to bed in the back of the Devils’ net.

Weise would get his fourth multi-point game of the season with just 43.1 seconds remaining in the contest when he took a Sanguinetti feed just inside the right wing side of the Devils’ blue line. With a defender all over him, Weise fired a laser into the upper left corner of the vacated Lowell net for what would be the final score of the night.

The Devils announced 1,189 for this Atlantic Division attendance. That number clearly was an extremely generous announcement, as the building appeared to be almost totally empty.

Bob Crawford recaps the contest at Hartfordwolfpack.com. For the Lowell perspective, the only place to find it is at lowelldevilshockey.com.

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

 

NOTES:

* From the mixed bag department comes news that Wade Redden was injured in Wednesday night contest between the parent New York Rangers and the Florida Panthers. The team is not saying what the injury is, when do they ever, but based upon the way it looked, it appeared to be a shoulder injury. Redden went to make a play and had his arm extended before taking a very hard hit on the exposed shoulder into the glass by Victor Oreskovich. Redden went down to the ice where he stayed for several seconds before getting up and getting back to the bench. Redden went right into the locker room and didn’t return. You can bet your bottom dollar that the call will be made to the Sanguinetti household telling Bobby to prepare for his NHL debut Friday night in Tampa Bay. While the team hasn’t said it yet, the Rangers/Wolf Pack have a history of promoting whoever is playing best at the time. Not only is Sanguinetti playing the best of any Pack defender you can make the case right now that he might be the best defenseman in the AHL. Sanguinetti has 6g, 16a for 22pts in 21 games. Enjoy the Sunshine State Bobby…

* Speaking of Pack players that have been called up to “The Show,” if any Wolf Pack fans are counting on seeing number 17, P.A. Parenteau, wearing a Pack sweater again, it’s pretty safe to say that isn’t going to happen. Parenteau has graduated. He had another outstanding performance in his seventh game with the Rangers against the Florida Panthers Wednesday night. Not only was he all over the ice playing well defensively, but for the second consecutive game it was his shootout attempt that won the game for the Rangers. This time he beat Tomas Vokoun drawing the Karlovy Vary, Czech netminder to the left before firing it back past his glove the other way. Should the Rangers for some reason decide to send Parenteau back to Hartford, he would have to pass through waivers before he can return to Connecticut’s capitol. Given the way the Hull, Quebec native has played in this stretch in New York, you can bet your bottom dollar that if the Rangers try putting him through waivers that given his low cap hit and proof that he can be productive at the NHL level, that one a multitude of cash strapped and offense hungry teams will take the chance and claim him off the waiver wire. So congratulations to our friend P.A. Parenteau… This Thanksgiving you can add a new NHL career to the list of things to be thankful for… On our list is a gratitude that we got to see you grow both as a person and as a player while you were here.

* Lowell entered the game red hot losing only once in their last eight games. They also had a five game home winning streak.

* Weise has his first three game point streak of the season (3g, 2a). The Winnipeg, Manitoba native had a four game streak between October 9th and October 16th (2g, 3a) earlier in the season. Weise has CLEARLY earned the promotion to the Packs’ top unit. We’ve said it all season long, Weise is making a strong case for himself to be the next forward to get a call up should one develop with New York.

* The second period assist for Byers put him back on the scorer’s sheet since having his seven game scoring streak snapped in Syracuse. Byers has points in five of six games since being sent back to Hartford after a six game run in The Big Apple. (2g, 4a).

* Chad Johnson is quietly putting up some rather impressive numbers. The Calgary, Alberta native is 8th overall in wins with 9, is 10th in GAA with a 1.99 and 9th with a 929 save percentage. Johnson also has 3 shutouts which ties him for second with Brent Krahn of the Texas Stars and only one behind Anton Khudobin of the Houston Aeros who has 4.

* Inside the Numbers:

  – Pack are now 7-0-0-0 when leading after one period

  – 10-1-0-0 when leading after two

  – 3-1-0-0 in goals decided by three goals

  – They also evened their record in games they have outshot their opponents 6-6-0-0.

* The Pack Penalty Killers continue to improve. They were putrid for a while and ranked 28th out of 29. But have since raised themselves up to 21st with an 80.2% efficiency rating.

* On the Power Play, the Pack continue to have the league’s best with a 25.7% rate of success.

* The Pack announced Wednesday morning a very interesting promotion if you’re looking for stocking stuffer for a friend or two…They’ve announced a Holiday Pack that includes two flexible game vouchers, good to be exchanged for tickets to any regular-season Wolf Pack home game, a Wolf Pack souvenir and a Chuck-a-Puck voucher.  The cost of the Holiday Pack package is $32 for adults, and packages for kids 16 or younger can be purchased for $22, with the purchase of at least one adult package (service charges, facility and handling fees may apply). If you’re interested, Wolf Pack Holiday Packs can be ordered from the Wolf Pack ticket office, at (860) 548-2000, and on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com.

THANKFUL ON THANKSGIVING:

You’ve all heard it said on Thanksgiving a million times before; So, tell me…what are you thankful for on Thanksgiving? Well, as much as propagating clichés goes against my best judgment, I do have plenty to be thankful for.

First, I have an amazing family. I’m supported in this endeavor by a wife who considers herself a “Hockey Widow” and yet at the same time believes in what I’m doing here despite the fact this costs us quite a bit of money to do it. I also have two amazing little boys, Ross 7 and Tory, 5 who are my biggest fans and always asking me questions and are developing a great passion for the game.

I’m extremely thankful to the voice of the Wolf Pack, Bob Crawford. I can’t even begin to list the amount of help that Bob has given me. Bob stuck with us and has supported us in just about every way imaginable, He fought to get us credibility even when we made some pretty big blunders in terms of professionalism when we were getting started.  I’m also grateful to the rest of the Wolf Pack staff, both past and present, for all their help along the way.

None of the coverage of the Checkers would be possible if it weren’t for one of the greatest guys in sports, Derek Wilkinson. The GM/Head Coach of the Checkers has never said, “No” to a single request. He should be in the NHL and will someday.

Jess Rubenstein of The Prospect Park has been invaluable not only for his encyclopedia-like knowledge of the youngsters in juniors but for his advice and counsel.

Early on, I learned so much about the technical aspects of hockey from The Hockey Rodent. He’d hate to have me say this publicly given his ornery reputation, but he’s a good guy.

I’m exceptionally grateful to the New York beat reporters (Steve Zipay, Andrew Gross, Larry BrooksRich Carpiniello and Mike Obernauer) who’ve all been so helpful in terms of advice and support but who’ve also respected me and treated this site as a credible source for information on the Wolf Pack.

In Harford George Dalek, and especially Gerry Cantelon, have been amazing in helping me go from being a completely clueless loud-mouth comedian into a loud mouth somewhat less clueless hockey reporter.

As far as help and support though, everyone pales in comparison to the friendship, support, advice, and encouragement than I’ve been fortunate enough to receive from one of the most talented writers I’ve ever known, Bruce Berlet. Bruce has become like a big brother to me and I wouldn’t even be doing this if it weren’t for him.

One other person that I am extremely grateful for knowing is Dubi Silverstein. None of this would have ever been possible had he not given me the opportunity and the freedom to grow this site in the first place. I wish him nothing but the best in his retirement from publishing.

Last but not least, there’s you…the readers of this mess blog. You’ve been great in terms of encouragement to press on and hungry for more and more coverage. Keep Howling my friends…

MEANWHILE DOWN IN CHARLOTTE:

Checkers have the night off…

LINES:

ByersLocke – Weise

Grachev – Dupont – Owens

Soryal – Garlock – Couture

DiDiomete – Ambϋhl

Heikkinen – Dandenault

Potter – Sanguinetti

SauerUrquhart

Williams

Johnson

(Assistant Captains Italicized)

SCRATCHES:

Paul Crowder – Illness, Day-to-Day

Chris Chappell – Healthy (With DiDiomete back, expect him to be sent back to Charlotte)

Brent Henley – Undisclosed Injury – Day-To-Day

THREE STARS:

1. HFD – J. Owens
2. HFD – D. Weise
3. HFD – D. Byers

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Terry Koharski (10)

Linesmen:
Chris Aughe (74)
Joe Ross (92)

NEXT GAME:

Hartford head coach hopes his players aren’t hung-over with tryptophan as Kevin Dineen leads his Buffalo Sabre prospects from Portland, Maine (7th place 9-10-2) into the XL Center for a battle with the Wolf Pack.

SCORE-SHEET:

Hartford 1 2 1 – 4

Lowell 1 0 0 – 1

1st Period-1, Lowell, Davis 4 (Taormina, McKenna), 9:30 (pp). 2, Hartford, Grachev 6 (Dupont, Sanguinetti), 10:03. Penalties-Murray Low (boarding), 1:47; Couture Hfd (tripping), 8:24; Sauer Hfd (interference), 10:14.

2nd Period-3, Hartford, Owens 3 (Potter), 5:40. 4, Hartford, Weise 6 (Byers, Locke), 15:25. Penalties-DiDiomete Hfd (fighting), 3:13; Robitaille Low (fighting), 3:13.

3rd Period-5, Hartford, Weise 7 (Sanguinetti, Locke), 19:16 (en). Penalties-Dupont Hfd (tripping), 4:03; Couture Hfd (double minor – high-sticking), 11:26.

Shots on Goal-Hartford 12-14-5-31. Lowell 6-8-9-23.

Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 of 1; Lowell 1 of 5.

Goalies-Hartford, Johnson 9-5-1 (23 shots-22 saves). Lowell, McKenna 7-4-0 (30 shots-27 saves).

A-1,189