The last time the Hartford Wolf Pack won two straight games (Oct. 16-17) they followed it up with a slide into near oblivion going 1-9-2-2 over he next 14 games.
For Coach Ken Gernander’s sake hopefully this one doesn’t start a streak like that one as once again, the Wolf Pack failed to put a full 60-minute effort together and were beaten 4-3 to the Hershey Bears Sunday afternoon in front of 10,799 at the Giant Center.
Hershey’s Chocolate World is located next door to the Giant Center and it’s about the closest thing you’ll ever find to Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Based upon the way their disappearance in the second period, you would have thought that Oopma Loopas were going to come out of the locker room and sing a tale about the Wolf Pack at center ice. Gernander’s troops did their best impression of Augustus Gloop and slipped into a Sea of Chocolate. After playing well in the first period, the Wolf Pack allowed two goals to Mathieu Perreault and four overall in the period all on 16 shots. They put together a valiant effort in the third frame but it was once again, too little too late.
Just 17 seconds into the second period, Evgeny Grachev tried to make a fancy pass from inside his own zone. Perreault picked it off just outside the blue line and rushed up the right wing side of the slot chased by Wade Redden. Perreault make a dandy fake and Wolf Pack starter Cam Talbot (30 saves, 1-2-1) bit hard on it. The Hershey centerman backhanded the puck past the outstretched leg of the fallen Wolf Pack netminder.
All season long, the Wolf Pack have allowed bad plays like that to shake their collective confidence and they have repeatedly found ways to make a bad situation worse by going into a funk. They did it again as just 1:13 later, while on a delayed penalty situation, the one-time Pack defenseman fired a long shot through traffic that Talbot never saw and deposited it into the twine behind him.
Seconds later Talbot made perhaps his best save of the game. Jay Beagle charged hard up the ice after another Wolf Pack giveaway and Talbot got the pad on it.
Gernander sensing the game was getting away from his troops, wisely called for a timeout.
After the timeout ended, Fahey was called for a trip and went to the box at 4:03. 14 seconds later defenseman Sean Collins joined him in the sin bin and gave the Wolf Pack a golden opportunity, 1:46 of 5-on-3 power play time and they took advantage of it.
Redden ripped a blast from the left point. It really demonstrated what he used to do so effectively as a member of the Ottawa Senators and the reason the NY Rangers wanted him when they signed him in July 2008 to a 6-year $39 million contract. Mats Zuccarello was in front of Semyon Varlamov (19 saves, 2-1-0) and redirected Redden’s shot past the Washington Capitals’ goaltender (in Hershey on a conditioning stint) at 5:12.
3:26 later, Perreault got a little bit of luck when Jyri Niemi went to block, what very well may have been a centering pass from the left wing side, only to have it redirect up and over Talbot’s glove. It was 3-1.
Thirteen year pro, Brian Willsie scored what proved to be the game winner with just 54.7 seconds remaining in the period.
With 2:08 remaining in the second period Grachev and Kyle Greentree got into it with one another in front of the Hershey net and both were sent off for roughing putting the sides four-on-four for the two minutes.
But nine seconds later, Tim Kennedy was called for slashing and set up a four-on-three and gave Hershey, the best power play team in the AHL, it’s third power play.
Ex-Pack defenseman Lawrence Nycholat and Willsie played hot potato with the puck at the top of the circles. After a couple of back-and-fourths, Willsie tattooed the puck from the left side right over Talbot’s glove and just under the crossbar for his tenth of the season.
To their credit, the Wolf Pack did not run and hide. They came out in the third period loaded for bear…pardon the pun.
Justin Williams took back to back penalties at 3:42 for Tripping and then at 6:12 for Slashing.
After coming out of the box Williams got involved in a 3-on-2 odd man rush up the ice. He fed Chad Kolarik at the left wing side of the slot. Kolarik then drew a defender and Varlamov to the left side and teed up the puck for Jared Nightingale who was trailing on the play and he deposited it into the empty net for his first goal of the season. The goal came at 8:29.
1:19 later, Dale Weise, with Nycholat all over him, redirected a Pavel Valentenko shot form the left point and put it over Varlamov for his third of the season.
The Wolf Pack battled back, but just could not find an equalizer even after Talbot was pulled for an extra attacker with 1:01 to go.
Bob Crawford called the game and wrote up the story for CTWhale.com. For the Hershey perspective you can read Tim Leone at PennLive.com.
GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET
* Past Wolf Pack connections were in this contest. Lawrence Nycholat, Boyd Kane and Brian Fahey
* The Wolf Pack announced before the game that radio listeners throughout the State of Connecticut will be treated to a Connecticut Whale “Radio Roadblock”, featuring the Whale’s iconic “Brass Bonanza”, at 8:25 AM this Monday, November 22. This media “greenout” is in celebration of the return of The Whale to Connecticut Saturday, November 27, when the newly-rebranded team takes on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the XL Center at 7:00 PM, and Sunday, November 28, when the Adirondack Phantoms and former Wolf Pack head coach, and AHL Hall of Famer, John Paddock visit the XL Center for a 5:00 game. The voiceover talent for the Radio Roadblock is also memorable—legendary Whalers radio play-by-play man Chuck Kaiton. Connecticut hockey fans are encouraged to set their watches to 8:25 AM on Monday, and tune into one of the following participating radio stations: WDRC-FM, WHCN-FM, WKSS-FM, WMRQ-FM, ESPN Radio 1410 WPOP-AM, ESPN Radio 1300 WAVZ-AM, WWYZ-FM, WELI-AM, WKCI-FM, WPLR-FM, WCCC-FM, WTIC Newstalk 1080, 96.5 TIC FM and LITE 100.5 FM.
* Weise has two goals and two assists in the three games he’s played since missing a month recovering from wrist surgery.
* Redden has a three game points streak and Kennedy is at four games. Both have the same output at 1g, 4a, 5pts.
* Ryan McDonagh, Nigel Williams and Niemi are the only Pack players not to have scored a goal and played in at least 12 games. Tyler Donati (8 games) and Lee Baldwin (9 games) also have not scored.
* Justin Williams has 5g and 2a in the last 5 games.
* Zuccarello has 2g and 3a in the last three games.
* For you Grachev fans, the Russian forward has 1g and 1a in 12 games this season. Overall he has 3 goals in his last 50 at the AHL level. Add in the fact that he didn’t score in the 6 he played in New York, that’s 3g in his last 56 games.
* NHL veteran Sheldon Souray was a healthy scratch.
* Ex-Pack and current Hershey Bear Lawrence Nycholat and Redden were teammates on the Ottawa Senators in 2006-08.
Grachev – Newbury – J. Williams
Zuccarello – Kennedy – Weise
DiDiomete – Tessier – Kolarik
Soryal – Garlock
Redden – Nightingale
Valentenko – Niemi
McDonagh – Kundratek
(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)
Brodie Dupont – Leg Laceration – Day-to-Day
Tyler Donati – Healthy Scratch
Nigel Williams – Healthy Scratch
Chris McKelvie – Healthy Scratch
1. HER – M. Perreault
2. HER – B. Fahey
3. HFD – C. Kolarik
ON ICE OFFICIALS:
Chris Cozzan (18)
David Banfield (44)
Bob Goodman (90)
Matt MacPherson (94)
The Wolf Pack are off until Friday night when they travel to the Arena at Harbor Yard to play their final game as the Hartford Wolf Pack in Bridgeport against the Sound Tigers. It’s also the start of a home-and-home as the next day they play their first game as the rebranded Connecticut Whale. Bob Crawford will have the pregame at 6:30pm.
To watch the game live, you can purchased it for $6.99 at AHL-live.
For Ticket information call (860) 548-2000.
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.
Hartford Wolf Pack 3 at Hershey Bears 4 – Status: Final
Sunday, November 21, 2010 – Giant Center
Hartford 0 1 2 – 3
Hershey 0 4 0 – 4
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Miskovic Her (tripping), 2:49; DiDiomete Hfd (slashing), 15:35; Kolarik Hfd (interference), 16:53.
2nd Period-1, Hershey, Perreault 3 0:17. 2, Hershey, Fahey 2 (Rome, Wellar), 1:30. 3, Hartford, Zuccarello 8 (Redden, Williams), 5:12 (PP). 4, Hershey, Perreault 4 (Greentree, Fahey), 8:38. 5, Hershey, Willsie 10 (Nycholat, Gordon), 19:05 (PP). Penalties-Fahey Her (tripping), 4:03; Collins Her (high-sticking), 4:17; McDonagh Hfd (tripping), 11:45; Grachev Hfd (roughing), 17:52; Greentree Her (roughing), 17:52; Kennedy Hfd (slashing), 18:01.
3rd Period-6, Hartford, Nightingale 1 (Kolarik, Williams), 8:29. 7, Hartford, Weise 3 (Valentenko, Kennedy), 9:48. Penalties-Williams Hfd (tripping), 3:42; Williams Hfd (slashing), 6:12.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 8-6-8-22. Hershey 12-16-6-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 1 / 3; Hershey 1 / 6.
Goalies-Hartford, Talbot 1-1-1 (34 shots-30 saves). Hershey, Varlamov 1-1-0 (22 shots-19 saves).
Referees-Chris Cozzan (18), David Banfield (44).
Linesmen-Bob Goodman (90), Matt MacPherson (94).