Tag Archives: Matt Zaba

FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

BY: Bruce Berlet

Matt Zaba didn’t particularly enjoy his last season playing goal in North America.

While the Hartford Wolf Pack, now Connecticut Whale, were missing the playoffs for the only time in the franchise’s 14 seasons in 2009-10, Zaba was battling injuries, bouncing around the AHL and ECHL and being an occasional backup with the New York Rangers after Steve Valiquette was demoted and eventually sidelined for the season with an injury.

“There were a lot of things that happened,” Zaba said during a break in workouts this week at the sixth annual Pete Asadourian Pro Hockey Camp at Champions Skating Center. “I got hurt early and Chad (Johnson) played so well, so I kind of lost my position. To be honest, I had a bad training camp in New York, didn’t have a good training camp in Hartford and then didn’t start off the season very well. So it seemed to take me a while to find my game that second year and got sent to Charlotte (in the ECHL). Then once I did find my game, I’d be back on the goalie carousel to New York.

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OPEN AND SHUT

Hartford Wolf Pack puck VERSUS Worcester Sharks

The Hartford Wolf Pack entered Wednesday night’s game with the Worcester Sharks in a desperate need of two points. Instead they got just two goals and were trounced by the first place Sharks 9-2 and remain five points behind the Bridgeport Sound Tigers with just three games remaining in the 2009-2010 season.

A visibly disappointed Wolf Pack head coach Ken Gernander addressed reporters after the game. “We didn’t help ourselves in any area of the game,” He said. “We made it easy for a good team. Right now, it’s the most discouraging loss of the season. They had puck possession, we didn’t finish our hits, we didn’t force their defense to move the puck, just let them skate up the ice, we didn’t front any shots, we didn’t box out, we didn’t eliminate sticks, we didn’t do much of anything. And we took penalties.”

This is the second time this season that the Pack have been so soundly trounced and by the same score. On December 6th, the Pack were on the road in Hershey where the AHL’s best team made it seem easy dismantling the Pack by the same score.

“I’m very frustrated because there were a lot of things that weren’t good. If it was one mistake that cost us the game or one bad bounce or something along those lines, but no. It was a lot of different things, so I’m quite frustrated.” Gernander said.

The Wolf Pack were going to need to play a tight defensive game in order to compensate for the lack of scoring they were going to have entering the contest. While they received the AHL’s third leading scorer in Corey Locke back from the parent NY Rangers, they lost forward Dale Weise who was on a seven game points streak with six goals and three assists in the span. They were also without their most offensive weapon, P.A. Parenteau who is also on recall. Given how well Parenteau has played with the Rangers since being called up on March 26th, scoring two goals and having two helpers, it’s unlikely the Hull, Quebec native will play for Hartford again. Parenteau will be an unrestricted free agent when the season ends.

Meanwhile in Hartford, it was a very poor start to the game, which has plagued this team all season long that cost them. “We had a poor start, and they came at us and didn’t let up,” Wolf Pack forward Brodie Dupont said.

After the Pack failed to covert on two golden opportunities just 40 ticks into the game, just under a  minute later, at 1:27, a missed assignment down low by Locke left Dan DaSilva wide open. Derek Joslin’s shot form the left point hit Wolf Pack starter Matt Zaba (21 saves, 6-12-0) but rebounded right to the Worcester forward’s stick in the right circle. DaSilva then took a step forward and buried the shot past the diving Zaba.

T.J. Trevelyan, who would be named the game’s First Star, got his first of two on the night when he buried a shot past Zaba through the five-hole after Corey Potter lost him in coverage and Dane Byers could not get to the puck first.

With just 1.2 seconds left in the first period, Worcester essentially erased the Pack’s hope of a thirteenth straight playoff appearance with, what would prove to be the game winner. Brandon Mashinter got his first of two, along with a helper, when he finished on the first of Justin Braun’s three assists, with past Zaba.

3-0 end of One…

Andres Ambϋhl was in the penalty box when Hartford did manage to pull the score back to within two.

If there’s been one area where the Wolf Pack have been among the best in the league it’s in converting shorthanded opportunities. Byers, who’s had a very solid first season as Pack captain, picked up a loose puck and travelled down the left wing side and drew Danny Groulx to him. Kris Newbury, who’d beaten Nick Schaus back through the slot, took a perfectly placed pass from Byers and redirected it past Alex Stalock (24 saves, 38-18-2). The goal was Newbury’s 14th of the year and the team’s seventeenth shortie of the season tying them for first overall with Binghamton and Hershey…is there anything those guys aren’t the best at?

But that didn’t last for long.

Jared Nightingale took a questionable Delay of the Game penalty at 14:36. That didn’t sit well with the Pack’s only goal scorer on the night. He fumed about it and twenty seconds after killing off the penalty, Newbury lost his cool with referee Terry Koharski. For his mental lapse, it cost the team a two minute Unsportsmanlike conduct minor, a ten minute major misconduct and a Game misconduct.

“I’m sure Newbury was upset, but what’s the difference?” Gernander said. “It’s the only missed call during the course of the game or throughout the course of the season?” The Pack head coach has higher discipline expectations of the veterans on his roster like Newbury. “You expect those guys to lead the way, and they didn’t.”

Ten seconds later the puck was in the back of the Wolf Pack net as Trevelyan tallied a second time when his shot from the left wing first hit Ryan Garlock’s stick, changed direction and hit Corey Potter’s skate and took a radical turn and flew past Zaba. It’s been that kind of a season for the Rangers top farm club.

One minute later, after a big hit by Julien Brouillette on ex-Pack Dwight “Dewey” Helminen, a series of fights broke out including Jared Nightingale being hit from Andrew Desjardins while he was on the bench. Interestingly though, after the smoke cleared the Pack only wound up with a two minute power play. It certainly seemed like more should have been called against Desjardins, but he didn’t even get called at all.

The third period was a complete disaster as the Pack surrendered five goals.

John McCarthy scored the first just 39 seconds into the period and then 48 seconds later James Marcou scored the first of his career after Ryan Vesce set him up by putting a shot on net that Zaba couldn’t contain. It was 6-1 and that was the end of the night for Zaba.

In came Cameron Talbot to make his AHL debut after signing with the Rangers on March 30th.

Worcester broke through on the new goaltender less than 4:30 minutes later when Jamie Quirk dove to reach a puck off the stick of Braun and it flipped up and over Talbot. Less than two minutes later the Sharks scored again as Mashinter redirected a Groulx shot from the left wing to make it 8-1.

Byers put in a shot from the crease after an Ilkka Heikkinen shot form the left circle was left on the doorstep by Stalock for his 23rd of the season.

Just to add insult to injury, Groulx tallied with just 6.3 seconds left on a shot from the point on the power play.

Dupont summed it up saying, “It wasn’t a very good effort on our part in the position that we are. Mathematically we’re still in it, but we’ve got to pray for some help around the league and do our part.”

He’s home from a well earned vacation in Vegas and back on the beat reporting on the  Hartfordwolfpack.com,  Bruce Berlet tells the sad story. On the other hand, Bill Ballou is all agog about his first place Worcester Sharks. Read his story at Telegram.com.


 

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

 

WOLF PACK TRAGIC NUMBER IS 2 (Two)

Any combination of Bridgeport or Lowell, who’s ever on top, getting points and the Pack not getting them reduces that number. Either Wilkes-Barre or Norfolk will make it and be either the three or four seed in their division. The top Atlantic team will be in and depending upon their points, be either the third of fourth seed in the East Division.

 

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.

* Newbury has points in eight straight games (1g, 10a). It’s the longest such streak since P.A. Parenteau’s run between October 23rd and December 18th (6g, 8a)

* The Evgeny Grachev watch is now 24 games and counting without a goal and only one in his last 34.

* The Pack’s last home game of the season on Saturday night against Springfield will feature a bevy of promotions as well as the shirts-off-our-backs give-away. Also, former coach John Paddock will be honored for his recent induction into the AHL Hall of Fame. Sunday will be the last game of the 2009-2010 season in Bridgeport against the Sound Tigers.

* Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the Wolf Pack have released forward Roman Horak from his Amateur Tryout (ATO) agreement.

Horak, who joined the Pack April 2 from the Chilliwack Bruins of the Western Hockey League, did not appear in any games for the Wolf Pack.  In 66 WHL contests with the Bruins this season, Horak, a fifth-round selection (127th overall) by the parent New York Rangers in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, scored 21 goals and added 26 assists for 47 points in 66 games, along with 39 penalty minutes. 

LINES:

Byers © – Newbury – Couture
Dupont – Locke – Grachev
Soryal – Crowder – McKelvie
Brashear – Garlock – Ambϋhl

Baldwin – Potter
Heikkinen – Sanguinetti
Brouillette – Nightingale

Zaba
Talbot

 

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

SCRATCHES:

P.A. Parenteau – Recall NY Rangers
Dale Weise – Recall NY Rangers
Anders Eriksson – Recall NY Rangers
Tysen Dowzak – Healthy Scratch
Devin DiDiomete – Healthy Scratch
Nigel Williams – Healthy Scratch
Chad Johnson – Healthy Scratch
Roman Horak – 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. WOR – T. Trevelyan
2. WOR – J. Braun
3. WOR – B. Mashinter

ON-ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Terry Koharski (10)

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

NEXT GAME:

Bob Crawford brings you the second of the back-to-back games between the Wolf Pack and the Sharks. Crawford comes on the air a half hour before the puck drops with the pre-game Friday night from Worcester.

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:

Worcester Sharks 9 At Hartford Wolf Pack 2 – Status: Final

Apr 7, 2010 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Worcester 3 1 5 – 9

Hartford 0 1 1 – 2

1st Period-1, Worcester, DaSilva 20 (Joslin, Braun), 1:27. 2, Worcester, Trevelyan 27 (Quirk), 7:32. 3, Worcester, Mashinter 20 (Braun, Marcou), 19:58. Penalties-Westgarth Wor (fighting), 2:31; Soryal Hfd (fighting), 2:31; McCarthy Wor (slashing), 9:02; Baldwin Hfd (tripping), 14:11.

2nd Period-4, Hartford, Newbury 14 (Byers), 4:00 (sh). 5, Worcester, Trevelyan 28 (Moore, Desjardins), 17:06 (pp). Penalties-Ambuhl Hfd (tripping), 3:47; Nightingale Hfd (hooking), 4:34; Nightingale Hfd (delay of game), 14:36; Newbury Hfd (unsportsmanlike conduct, misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct, game misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 16:56; served by Mashinter Wor (bench minor – interference), 18:07; Henderson Wor (roughing), 18:07; McLaren Wor (fighting), 18:07; Couture Hfd (roughing), 18:07; Nightingale Hfd (fighting), 18:07.

3rd Period-6, Worcester, McCarthy 15 (DaSilva), 0:39. 7, Worcester, Marcou 1 (Vesce, Mashinter), 1:27. 8, Worcester, Quirk 8 (Braun, Joslin), 6:48. 9, Worcester, Mashinter 21 (Groulx, Schaus), 8:37 (pp). 10, Hartford, Byers 23 (Couture, Heikkinen), 10:45 (pp). 11, Worcester, Groulx 12 (Vesce, Joslin), 19:53 (pp). Penalties-Soryal Hfd (boarding), 8:30; Moore Wor (interference), 10:10; Dupont Hfd (goaltender interference), 19:41.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 15-10-13-38. Hartford 10-7-9-26.

Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 3 of 7; Hartford 1 of 3.

Goalies-Worcester, Stalock 38-18-2 (26 shots-24 saves). Hartford, Zaba 6-12-2 (27 shots-21 saves); Talbot 0-0-0 (11 shots-8 saves).

A-1,961

MEANWHILE IN THE CHARLOTTE PLAYOFFS:

Charlotte Checkers VERSUS Toledo Walleye

CHECKERS REBOUND WITH 6-1 WIN OVER WALLEYE

Taylor Scores Two; Quarterfinal Series Evened at 1-1

The Charlotte Checkers scored five unanswered goals in the second half of the game to down Toledo, 6-1, and even the quarterfinal series at 1-1 on Wednesday evening.

Ryan Munce, who today was named ECHL Goaltender of the Month for March, stopped 28 of 29 shots while Mike Taylor notched two goals. Daniel Tkaczuk was activated off playoff reserve earlier in the day and scored the game winner.

The win gives Charlotte a split on the road and they will now return home for the next two and, if necessary, three games in the best-of-five series.

The Checkers opened the scoring just 24 seconds into the game when Steve Ward held the puck in at the blueline and fed Andrew Carroll in the slot. Carroll made no mistake and beat Toledo goaltender Jordan Pearce with a wrist shot for his second goal of the series.

The Walleye responded with a goal of their own, eight minutes later, when Adam Keefe stuffed home the rebound from a point shot for his fourth of the series. Keefe has now doubled his offensive output for the entire season in just two playoff games.

Just minutes later, Toledo forward Chris Robertson skated in on a breakaway but Munce was there to shut the door and keep the score knotted at 1-1.

Early in the second, Aaron Slattengren tried his best to break the tie but was stopped by Pearce on a breakaway.

Then, with less than four minutes to play in the second, Tkaczuk broke down the left wing boards and let a shot go from a sharp angle that trickled in between the legs of Pearce. The goal was assisted by Slattengren and Randy Rowe and came at the 16:38 mark of the second period.

The Checkers were outshot 21-16 in the first 40 minutes but held a 2-1 lead going into the third period.

Nine minutes into the third and final frame, Charlotte took a two-goal lead on a somewhat fluky goal by Kenny Roche. Roche let a shot go that deflected off Pearce and sailed up into the air and defenseman Sebastien Piche accidentally gloved it into his own net.

Taylor would make it a 4-1 game, with less than six minutes to play, when he took a nice pass off the wall from Slattengren, broke in alone and let go a backhand shot on the short side that found the back of the net.

The Checkers continued the onslaught just 24 seconds later as Trevor Hendrikx one-timed a pass from Roche off the post and in.

Taylor then added his second of the game with less than 90 seconds to play as Charlotte walked away with a 6-1 victory and evened the American Conference quarterfinal series at 1-1. The two teams will meet again Friday in Charlotte for game 3.

Charlotte (1-1) will host Toledo for game 3 on Friday (7 p.m.) and game 4 on Sunday (2 p.m.). Ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com/playoffs.

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

NOTES:

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

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

* Mike Taylor leads the Checkers with three playoff goals while Adam Keefe leads the Walleye with four

* Charlotte is 16-3-1 in its last 20 home games and 12-1-1 in the last 14 overall heading into the playoffs

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

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

LINES:

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

Urquhart – Schaeffer
Ward – Reynolds
Hendrikx – (Bartlett)

Munce
Zemlak

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

SCRATCHES:
Mike Berube – Healthy Scratch
Tyler Doig – Healthy Scratch
Brock Bradford – Healthy Scratch
Jean-Philipp Chabot – Healthy Scratch
Tysen Dowzak – Recall in Hartford
Matt Ford – Recall in Lake Erie
Julien Brouillette – Recall in Hartford
Ethan Graham – Recall in Texas
Chris Snavely – Wrist Surgery – Season over
Trevor Glass – Back Surgery – Season over
Codey Burki – Undisclosed – Season over
Chris Chappell – Shoulder Surgery – Season over

THREE STARS

1. CHR – D. Tkaczuk
2. CHR – K. Roche
3. CHR – A. Carroll

ON-ICE OFFICALS:
 

Referee:
JM McNulty (21)

Linesmen:
Ray King (39)
Jim Scarpace (50)

 

NEXT GAME:

Ah, home sweet home. The Checkers return to Charlotte with a mission accomplished…they got a split in Toledo. Now they come back home needing to win two of three in the Time Warner Cable Arena. Akim Aliu should be back for Toledo in game three Friday night at 7pm and then game four comes your way on Sunday at 2. Jason Shaya will have all the action with the irrepressible Chris Snavely along side of him.

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 6 At Toledo Walleye 1 – Status: Final

Apr 7, 2010 – Lucas County Arena

Charlotte 1 1 4 – 6

Toledo 1 0 0 – 1

1st Period-1, Charlotte, Carroll 2 (Ward, Roche), 0:24. 2, Toledo, Keefe 4 (Danis-Pepin, Piche), 8:56. Penalties-Stefanishion Chr (high-sticking), 0:33; Leveille Chr (cross-checking), 11:07.

2nd Period-3, Charlotte, Tkaczuk 1 (Slattengren, Rowe), 16:38. Penalties-Stefanishion Chr (boarding), 3:30; Schaeffer Chr (interference), 6:46; Reynolds Chr (roughing), 12:24; Hedden Tol (tripping), 18:04.

3rd Period-4, Charlotte, Roche 1 (Reynolds), 8:59. 5, Charlotte, Taylor 2 (Slattengren), 14:45. 6, Charlotte, Hendrikx 1 (Roche, Bartlett), 15:09. 7, Charlotte, Taylor 3 (Leveille, Slattengren), 18:38. Penalties-Roche Chr (high-sticking), 0:58; Hendrikx Chr (kneeing), 18:56.

Shots on Goal-Charlotte 6-10-9-25. Toledo 9-12-8-29.

Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 0 of 1; Toledo 0 of 7.

Goalies-Charlotte, Munce 1-1-0-0 (29 shots-28 saves). Toledo, Pearce 1-1-0-0 (25 shots-19 saves).

A-4,297

GOALTENDER IN THE MIST

New York R The Rangers have announced that they have signed goaltender Cameron Talbot out of the University of Alabama-Huntsville. I would expect that the organization will look at one or two other netminders before the start of training camp next fall. Chad Johnson  uah-hockey-talbotjpg-1ea0972fbd9127d2_largehas had his ups and downs this season and while no one has said it, there has to be some concern about Johnson’s struggles this season. He has been very good and very bad at times. One issue that is out there for sure is the number of rebounds that he does leave out there on the ice.

The other concern is over Matt Zaba. There is no doubt at all that Zaba has talent. But the Pack backup has had more than his share of struggles this season. The consistency of solid performance between the pipes, what has been the key to the Pack’s success these past 13 years with minders like Jason LaBarbera, Al Montoya, Steve Valiquette et al, has not even remotely been there this season.

Howlings spoke with Danton Cole, Cameron’s head coach at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

In the first clip, Coach Cole gives a general assessment of Talbot:

In the second clip, Cole speaks about the way that Cole plays in the net.

In this third clip, the UAH coach discusses Talbot’s ability to handle the puck.

In this clip, Cole talks about the teams that were interested in Talbot.

Finally, Cole talks about the plans for what Talbot is going to be doing.

Here’s the official release from the Rangers:

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with free agent goaltender Cameron Talbot.

Talbot, 22, was named the 2010 College Hockey America (CHA) tournament MVP and selected to the CHA All Tournament Team after backstopping the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers to their second CHA tournament championship.  Talbot appeared in 33 games with the Chargers (CHA) this past season, posting a 12-18-3 record, along with a 2.60 goals against average, a .925 save percentage and one shutout.  He established career-highs in games played, wins, goals against average and save percentage this season.  His .925 save percentage led all CHA goaltenders and tied for sixth overall in the NCAA, while he ranked second in the conference in wins and goals against average.  He recorded a 29-save shutout against Robert Morris in the first round of the CHA conference tournament on March 12, his second career collegiate shutout.  Talbot registered five 40-plus save performances this season, including a season-high 46 saves in a 2-2 tie on December 4 at Robert Morris.  In addition, he recorded a career-high four-game winning streak from January 30 vs. Niagara to February 20 vs. Robert Morris, posting a 2.25 goals against average and a .926 save percentage over the span.

The 6-3, 185-pounder appeared in 70 career NCAA games with the Chargers, posting a record of 15-44-6, along with a 3.10 goals against average, a .907 save percentage and two shutouts.  Talbot registered his first collegiate shutout with a 33-save effort in a 1-0 win at Yale on November 21, 2008.  Prior to making his collegiate debut in 2007-08, he appeared in 82 OJHL games with the Hamilton Red Wings, registering a 40-18-0 record with a 2.38 goals against average and a .912 save percentage.

 

(Photo courtesy of al.com)

IT AIN’T OVER TILL THE FAT LADY SINGS…

Hartford Wolf Pack puck VERSUS Springfield Falcons

There’s an old cliché every sports fan knows…“it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.” For the Hartford Wolf Pack, while they aren’t mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, after Saturday night’s 4-3 loss to the last place Springfield Falcons at the XL Center, if you listen carefully you can hear her warming up in the wings.

Since we’re on the subject of clichés, it was “déjà vu all over again.” This game became a microcosm of all that has plagued the Hartford Wolf Pack this entire 2009 – 2010 season; whether it was playing from behind, inopportune turnovers, erratic and inconsistent play between the pipes, an ineffective power play and a lack of any kind of timely scoring.

“You hit the nail right on the head,” the always candid Wolf Pack right wing Dale Weise said when presented that theory. We tied it up 2-2 in the second and then they score and make it 3-2 on the next shift. That’s one of the biggest times in the game where we have to bear down: the last minute (of a period) and shifts after goals. We just didn’t do that, and that’s exactly the way it’s been all year.”

Matt Zaba started between the pipes for the home team and had a rough first period. Zaba allowed two goals on just seven shots and was relieved at the end of the first period.

“We were outshooting them for a large portion of the period,” Head Coach Ken Gernander said in his post game press conference. “We controlled play and we were down 2-0 so we needed to make a change.”

At 10:02 Springfield did what the majority of teams have done to Hartford all season long. They scored first.

Colton Fretter brought the puck into the Pack zone and fired a shot from the left circle. The puck rebounded off Zaba (5 saves) and slid out tot he crease. Liam Reddox beat Ryan Garlock to the puck and the Falcon left winger attempted to pass the puck back to Rob Hisey. The puck went through Garlock’s legs and hit the left skate of Jared Nightingale who stood between Hisey and Zaba and went into the far corner of the net.

Nightingale nearly redeemed himself with 2:47 left when he spotted Pack captain Dane Byers getting ahead of ex-Pack defenseman, and current Springfield assistant captain, Jake Taylor, in close to the net and put the puck right on the left winger’s stick.

Springfield netminder Bryan Pitton (33 saves, 2-2-0) held his ground and stopped Byers in front. Taylor tackling his former teammate certainly helped negate Byers getting much on his shot. Even bigger than that was referee Mark Lemelin not making a call on a blatantly obvious penalty.

The lack of a call became even bigger when with just 22.4 ticks of the clock remaining in the period, another ex-Pack, Dean Arsene blasted a shot from the left point hit Zaba’s pad and went into the net. It appeared on the replay that Zaba never saw the shot as there was lots of traffic in front of him.

So despite outshooting Springfield 17-7, the Pack entered the second trailing by two goals.

Chad Johnson (10 saves, 16-16-2) came into the game in relief to start the second period.

The Pack turned up the pressure to start the second period. Colin McDonald bloodied the lip of Anders Eriksson just 47 seconds into the period and gave the Pack four minutes of power play time on a high sticking call.

For most of the power play the few shots that the power play units did generate all missed the net. That was until there were only 7 seconds left in the four minute advantage. The American League’s third leading scorer, Corey Locke took a pass along the right wing half boards from recent Charlotte call-up Julien Brouillette. Locke put a move on Matt Nickerson and created space for himself in the slot. The Toronto native fired a hard rising shot that beat Pitton high to the glove side for his team leading 29th of the season cutting the Springfield lead in half.

1:17 later, at 5:51, the Pack knotted the score when Derek Couture’s backhander beat Pitton after following up on the rebound of his own shot. Garlock got the assist.

But Johnson could not keep his opponents off the scoreboard.

After starting off very hot and getting time in New York with the Rangers where he went 1-2-1, Johnson has struggled. The rookie netminder from Calgary, who the Rangers acquired from Pittsburgh for a fifth round draft pick before the season, set a team record losing seven consecutive starts before finally ending the streak by beating these same Falcons on March 12th, looked shaky again and gave up a goal just 21 seconds later.

Charles Linglet followed up a shot that a wide open Jordan Eberle fired right past Johnson.

Eberle was a hero for the Canadian National team in the World Junior Championship held earlier this year. In just two games played since his juniors’ season ended at Regina of the Western Hockey League, Eberle has five points (2g, 3a). The Pack had no answer for him all game long.

Eberle would assist on what would prove to be the game winner by another ex-Pack in this game. Chad Wiseman, a teammate of Gernander’s, scored a goal that should never have gotten past Johnson but did. Johnson was squared up to Wiseman on the right wing circle, but just plain missed the wrist shot form the veteran winger.

It wasn’t like the Pack didn’t have their chances to score goals.

Much like it has all season, the Pack power play let them down with a one-for-seven performance. Lemelin gave the Wolf Pack four power play opportunities in the third period and the Pack came up empty on all of them.

“What more can you ask for?” Weise said. “We just got to capitalize. Our power play has been hot at times and it’s really been really cold at times. We needed to score and we didn’t. What else can you say?”

“We had some good chances on the power play,” Gernander said. “Maybe we could have used a little more screening than tipping, we had some good deflections that just missed” He said. “There were some good chances generated. We did have one power play goal tonight.”

That’s been pretty symptomatic of the Pack’s entire season as well. Blown opportunities off ineffective man advantages.

The Pack made it interesting…much as they’ve done all year…When Brodie Dupont took a sweet cross ice feed from Garlock and redirected it past Pitton for his 16th of the year

One last great opportunity was afforded the Pack with less than a minute to go to get the equalizer, but Locke could not handle a solid cross ice pass from P.A. Parenteau and flubbed his shot which gave Pitton time to cover it.

“Shots were pretty good in our favor (36-19), and we controlled play for large portions of the game,” Gernander said. “I don’t know which portion of the game we were clearly outplayed.” said the clearly exasperated Pack head Coach.

Weise tipped his hat to the Springfield netminder. “I thought we had enough chances to win, but I thought their goalie played great. Just on me alone, I thought he made three saves on which I should have scored. There were a couple breakdowns that led to goals, and they aren’t really the goalie’s fault a couple of mistakes led to the goals. We gave them opportunities.”

With Wilkes-Barre defeating Rochester 5-4, that leaves the Wolf Pack ten points out of a playoff berth with just 11 games to play for the final spot in the Eastern Conference.

It’s sure looking like the team streak of twelve consecutive playoff appearances is going to come to an end.

When it’s all done, the Tune that the Fat Lady sings will probably be off of the Led Zeppelin album, “The Song Remains the Same” because it’s been the same things over and over all season long.

Bruce Berlet’s story can be read at Hartfordwolfpack.com. Dan Hickling was in the XL Center and he takes you inside the winner’s locker room at MassLive.com.

Bob Crawford has a nice profile of the Pack’s P.A. Parenteau at TheAHL.com.

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA STK P 10 PIM
1. Sharks 68 42 21 2 3 89 236 206 1-0-0-0 6-4-0-0 1096
2. Pirates 70 38 22 6 4 86 214 192 2-0-1-1 4-4-1-1 1261
3. Monarchs 69 35 25 3 6 79 180 174 1-0-0-1 3-5-1-1 1040
4. Devils 70 35 26 4 5 79 205 195 1-0-0-0 4-4-0-2 1279
5. Sound Tigers 70 33 27 4 6 76 175 195 6-0-1-0 6-3-1-0 1569
6. Bruins 71 33 34 3 1 70 189 199 0-1-0-0 3-6-0-1 1081
7. WOLF PACK 69 28 30 6 5 67 190 215 0-2-0-0 2-4-3-1 1373
8. Falcons 71 24 34 10 3 61 183 258 3-0-1-0 6-3-1-0 1490

LAST PLAYOFF SPOT STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS
1. Penguins 70 36 29 2 3 77
2. Sound Tigers 70 33 27 4 6 76
3. Bruins 71 33 34 3 1 70
4. WOLF PACK 69 28 30 6 5 67

SCHEDULE:

Sunday will see Bridgeport hosting Springfield. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has the night off. It’s the Pack’s game-in-hand

In other Atlantic division action, Portland and Manchester will be playing at the Androscoggin Bank Coliseum. Worcester and Lowell meet up at the Tsongas Arena. Across the AHL it’s Abbotsford visiting Toronto. Binghamton travels to the Times Union Center to take on Albany. The Moose and Grand Rapids lock horns in Manitoba. Chicago and San Antonio mix it up at the Allstate Arena. Peoria and Texas do battle while Houston and Milwaukee tango at the Toyota and Hershey is likely to steamroll Adirondack at the Giant Center.

SCOREBOARD:

Saturday night was a big blow for the New York Rangers top developmental team. About the only good result was that Providence lost to Worcester 2-1 at the DCU Center. Other than that just about all the pieces went awry for the Boys in the red, white and blue. Bridgeport lost to Manchester, but they picked up a point by bringing the game into OT. Worst of all, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton won their game as five different Penguins scored and overcame two goals by ex-Pack Jeff Taffe and beat Rochester 5-4.

In other AHL action, in he Atlantic Division it was Lowell in overtime knocking off Portland. Michael Swift had two goals for the winners. Chris Holt’s scoring streak stopped at one game, but he only surrendered a single tally and Jonathan Cheechoo’s shorthanded goal was the difference as Binghamton won 2-1 over Albany. Holt improved his stats to a record of 15-14-1 with a 2.94GAA and a .906%.

In other games Toronto won in a shootout over Hamilton 4-3. Norfolk tripled up Adirondack 3-1. Lake Erie got two markers, including the game winner, from captain Brian Willsie and knocked off Abbotsford 3-2. Hershey continues to be the best team in the AHL and got two goals from Andrew Gordon and trounced Syracuse 6-2. Chicago doubled up on San Antonio 6-3. Kevin Doell had two goals for the President’s hometown team. Texas shutout Rockford 2-0. Brent Krahn had his fourth shutout of the season and ran his record to 14-2 with a microscopic GAA of 1.62 and an insane .950 save percentage. Ex-Pack Hugh Jessiman had his 19th goal of the season, a career high, and with his 19 helpers has 38 points on the season as his Milwaukee Admirals beat the Houston Aeros (try saying those two names together ten times fast).

In the ECHL, of concern to Charlotte fans, Gwinnett beat Trenton 6-4. And Florida knocked off South Carolina 5-3. Charlotte has three games in hand on South Carolina. They’re tied in wins and trail by five points. If the Checkers can continue to play the way they’ve been playing, it is not inconceivable that they could win the East Division. The Checkers have seven games left on their schedule. Five of them are at home. They play two series with Florida; a pair in Charlotte next week and then finish the season in Florida. They have a pair with Reading and a solo game against Gwinnett. The Checkers have won seven in a row. If they can string a few more together…and the way the team has been playing that’s a possibility, they could be playing for the division crown the first weekend in April.

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 Hartford Wolf Pack have never been two games below .500 this late in the season in their 13 year history.

* In games where the Pack outshoot their opponents, they are 18-13-2-3. When they’re outshot, the Pack are 10-17-4-2

* Games decided by one goal has the Pack at 12-10-6-5

* Here’s more good news. In games trailing after one period they are 4-17-2-3 and after two they are 2-26-1-2

* Locke leads the AHL with 18 power play goals.

* Jake Taylor, who was plagued each year of his time with the Wolf Pack with serious injuries that prohibited him from playing a full season, told Howlings at the Pack’s last game in Springfield that he was hopeful that this would be his first year without serious injury. Well, that changed for the new father of a new baby when he was hit by a shot in the third period and then hospitalized after the game with either a concussion or fracture in his face. Exact details were not released.

* Bruce Landon spoke to reporters before the game and said that he has been in negotiations to bring another NHL affiliate to Springfield. He told reporters he expects to finalize a deal this coming week. Rumors are circulating that team is going to be the Columbus Blue Jackets as they will be leaving the Syracuse Crunch behind and move to the Pack’s I-91 rival city. That will leave Syracuse and Albany without affiliates for next season. Any rumors of the Wolf Pack moving somewhere else are pretty much 100% dead. Rumors also have the Sound Tigers moving on and possibly an ECHL team moving into Bridgeport.

LINES:

Dupont – Locke – Parenteau
Byers © – Newbury – Weise
Soryal – Crowder – Grachev
Brashear – Garlock – Couture

Eriksson – Sanguinetti
Brouillette – Potter
Heikkinen – Nightingale

Zaba
Johnson

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

SCRATCHES:

Andres Ambϋhl – Healthy Scratch
Nigel Williams – Undisclosed Injury – Day-to-Day
Steven Valiquette – Hand Injury – Season over
Michael Sauer – Shoulder – Season over
Mike Hoffman – Shoulder – Season over
Brent Henley – Knee – Season over

THREE STARS:

1. SPR – J. Eberle
2. SPR – C. Linglet
3. HFD – R. Garlock

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Mark Lemelin (84)

Linesmen:
Luke Galvin (2)
Brent Colby (7)

NEXT GAME:

While the Pack are not mathematically eliminated, for all intents and purposes they’re just playing out the string. Providence is the next opponent Sunday afternoon. Ironically both the Rangers and the Wolf Pack face elimination on the same day against the same franchise. Bob Crawford will have the Pre-Game show at 2:30 with the puck dropping at 3:00.

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:

Springfield Falcons 4 At Hartford Wolf Pack 3 – Status: Final

Mar 20, 2010 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Springfield 2 2 0 – 4

Hartford 0 2 1 – 3

1st Period-1, Springfield, Reddox 17 (Fretter, Bendfeld), 10:02. 2, Springfield, Arsene 2 (Linglet, Eberle), 19:37. Penalties-Byers Hfd (high-sticking), 12:44.

2nd Period-3, Hartford, Locke 29 (Brouillette), 4:34 (pp). 4, Hartford, Couture 9 (Garlock, Soryal), 5:51. 5, Springfield, Eberle 2 (Linglet), 6:12. 6, Springfield, Wiseman 21 (Eberle, David), 12:42. Penalties-McDonald Spr (double minor – high-sticking), 0:47; Trukhno Spr (hooking), 6:38; Locke Hfd (interference), 8:06; Dupont Hfd (hooking), 14:07; Newbury Hfd (high-sticking), 16:38.

3rd Period-7, Hartford, Dupont 16 (Garlock, Eriksson), 15:53. Penalties-MacMurchy Spr (tripping), 4:15; Trukhno Spr (tripping), 8:37; served by Fretter Spr (bench minor – too many men), 12:55; Arsene Spr (slashing), 15:39; Newbury Hfd (slashing), 15:39; served by Fretter Spr (bench minor – too many men), 17:37; Eriksson Hfd (interference), 19:16.

Shots on Goal-Springfield 7-8-4-19. Hartford 17-9-10-36.

Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 0 of 5; Hartford 1 of 7.

Goalies-Springfield, Pitton 2-2-0 (36 shots-33 saves). Hartford, Zaba 6-11-2 (7 shots-5 saves); Johnson 16-16-2 (12 shots-10 saves).

A-4,694

RUNNING ON EMPTY

Hartford Wolf Pack     VERSUS      Worcester Sharks

Wednesday night, the Hartford Wolf Pack dropped a game they REALLY needed to win to the first place Sharks 6-4 at the DCU Center in Worcester. The loss brings them one step further away from seeing their AHL record thirteenth consecutive playoff appearance come to fruition.

This entire season can best be summed up in the phrase, “if it’s not one thing, then it’s another.”

Injuries have beset the Wolf Pack all season long, yet entering this game, for the most part they’re healthy. Wednesday night, the team’s best player, P.A. Parenteau, returned after missing the past couple of games with flu-like symptoms, so at least for this game, injuries weren’t a factor.  The New York Ranger’s top development team has struggled all season long to score goals. Wednesday they put four in the net behind Worcester starter Frank Doyle (34 saves, 2-1-0) who has spent much of the season in the ECHL, part of that time with the Charlotte Checkers. Four goals on most nights should be enough to win. That is of course assuming that the team is able to defend in it’s own end, which Wednesday night the Pack struggled to do all night long.

But in looking at this game the one consistency that has plagued this team all season long and reared it’s ugly head again Wednesday night was the absence of anything approaching an effective power play and penalty killing that is just atrocious. The Pack were 0-for-4 on the man advantage and surrendered three goals on six times short handed, the last being an empty netter with just one second left in the contest. Even without that two goals on five times shorthanded is nothing to be excited about either. It has been the single largest area of problem for Head Coach Ken Gernander’s troops all year long.

On the plus side, the Wolf Pack defenseman Corey Potter had an outstanding night. The Michigan native duplicated his last, and only other, two goal game performance from last February 13th, 2009 when he also had a two and one assist game in a 6-2 home win against the Lake Erie Monsters. Hartford also got goals from Brodie Dupont and Dale Weise, who inched that much closer to his season goal of putting 25 in the net with his 21st of the season.

The Pack had to be confident as they entered this game as they had won the last two times they visited the DCU Center and were 4-0-0 overall against their division leading opponents. This contest was extra critical because it was the game-in-hand they had against sixth place Providence and one of the two they had against fifth place Bridgeport, both of whom they are chasing for the final playoff spot.

Ultimately though, the team was not able to play any sort of containment defense and allowed T.J. Trevelyan two goals, including the game winner and Danny Groulx and Ryan Vesce a goal and an assist each.

For only the fifth time in the last twenty-one games, the Pack scored first. At 5:54, Worcester’s Nick Petrecki sent the puck up the boards on a clearing attempt only there were no Sharks anywhere in the neighborhood. The only one who was there was Potter. The Pack defenseman just threw the puck at the net form the right point and it hit Doyle’s glove and went into the net for the 1-0 lead.

Donald Brashear then took a lazy hooking call at 7:46 which put the leagues fifth best power play unit on the ice against the Pack’s last placed penalty killers. 

1:22 later, Derek Joslin put a puck on net that starter Matt Zaba, (20 saves, 6-11-2) was unable to freeze and it bounced in front of him in the crease. Steven Zalewski whacked at the puck and knocked it through the legs of the Pack netminder for his twenty-first of the season and the game was tied.

The Pack regained the lead at 2-1 when on a delayed tripping call from a Shark defender to Parenteau in the offensive zone, Corey Locke retrieved the puck along the left side and fed it around to the right to Dupont. On this line Dupont was back at his more familiar left wing slot and fed Potter who was just inside the blue line in the high slot and he uncorked a  missile of a shot that blew right past Doyle who was WAY outside his crease.

The Pack doubled their lead at 10:21 of the second period.

Mike Moore turned over the puck on great forecheck pressure by Parenteau, who got his stick down and intercepted a pass from the Shark defenseman. The puck slid over to Locke behind the net on the left wing side. Locke then fed the puck into the slot just outside the crease area where a crashing Dupont blasted it past Doyle for his thirteenth of the season.

bilde But the Pack put themselves behind the eight-ball again by taking too many penalties.

First it was Ilkka Heikkinen who was forced to take a hooking call on Benn Ferriero who had broken through the defense and was heading for the net unencumbered by any defense at all. Then 1:30 later, Potter took a very obvious cross-checking call that might have sent Gernander to an apoplectic state. The Pack would be short handed five-on-three for :30 seconds and given the Sharks 3:30 of power play time. The Pack managed to kill off the two-man advantage, but just six seconds after Ferriero got the puck to Vesce behind the net to Zaba’s right, Vesce brought the puck in and the Pack netminder could not get his glove on the loose biscuit and one of Vesce’s attempts sent the puck around Zaba, hit newcomer Anders Eriksson in the skate and went over the line for the second power play goal in four tries.

In terms of effort, the Pack outshot Worcester in the period 18-8 and 28-19 to that point in the contest and given their record of 20-1-2-1 when leading after two periods, it looked like the momentum had swung, but that the Pack should be able to come away with the two points.

But they play sixty minutes for a reason and as has been an issue all season long, the Pack seemed to forget that in the early part of the final period.

At 7:26, and with the Sharks putting lots of forecheck pressure on and the Pack unable to advance the puck with any sort of consistency, Dan DaSilva was chased into the left corner by both Paul Crowder and Bobby Sanguinetti which left Andrew Desjardins completely alone. DaSilva saw that and fed him the puck and the Shark centerman beat Zaba with a hard shot from inside the slot and the game was tied at three.

2:04 later, with the Pack forwards caught up ice, Worcester seized the lead for the first time in the contest when Trevelyan put the puck past Zaba. He and Kevin Henderson came up the ice on a two-on-one odd man rush against Eriksson. Locke skated hard to get back and dove to the ice to try and intercept the set up pass from Henderson, but it was too late and Trevelyan had his first of the game and twentieth of the season.

Unlike many other games this season where the Pack would scramble around and not get anything on the board, this time they answered back with hard work and were rewarded with a tally.

At 13:03, Potter, again from the right point, just threw the puck at the net and Wiese made a great redirect knocking the puck out of midair and fooling Doyle knotting the score again, this time at four.

The game winner came as no one challenged Logan Couture in the right corner. Couture surveyed the landscape and saw Brett Westgarth, who just returned to the Sharks after spending much of this season with Bridgeport, and Trevelyan in front of the net. He sent the puck right into the crease where it appeared as if the puck deflected off of Westgarth and right to Trevelyan who put what would prove to be the game winner right into the twine.

Hartford took a too many men on the ice call, that sent Gernander into a fit of anger against referee Mark Lemelin as the puck hit Zaba as he was trying to get off the ice. That forced the Pack to keep him on the ice longer and took any chance of the Pack getting a man advantage in the closing minute. Danny Groulx found the back of the empty net just as time was expiring for the games final score.

The Pack finish their five game road trip Friday night in a must win game against last place Springfield. Hartford is winless in a season high seven games (0-3-3-1) and have only won three times in their last twenty-one (3-12-5-1).

(pictured: Anders Eriksson and ex-Pack Dwight “Dewey” Helminen battle for the puck. Photo courtesy of telegram.com)

Hartfordwolfpack.com is where Bob Crawford recounts what he saw from the broadcast booth for Wolf Pack fans. Bill Ballou will have the Worcester story at Telegram.com . TheAHL.com also has a brief recount of the game.

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET 

 

STANDINGS

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA STK P 10 PIM
1. Sharks 64 39 20 2 3 83 219 194 2-0-0-0 5-4-0-1 1048
2. Pirates 64 35 21 5 3 78 193 170 0-2-0-0 5-4-0-1 1114
3. Monarchs 65 34 23 3 5 76 173 161 0-1-1-0 3-6-0-1 953
4. Devils 65 33 24 4 4 74 193 179 1-0-0-0 4-4-0-2 1179
5. Sound Tigers 66 30 27 3 6 69 163 185 3-0-0-0 6-4-0-0 1519
6. Bruins 65 31 30 3 1 66 174 180 0-2-0-1 4-5-0-1 1019
7. WOLF PACK 65 26 28 6 5 63 175 203 0-3-3-1 1-5-3-1 1314
8. Falcons 66 21 33 9 3 54 163 238 1-0-0-0 4-5-0-1 1408

 

  

SCOREBOARD:

Not much in the way of action for a Wednesday night in the American League. Ex-Pack goaltender Chris Holt evened up his record at 12-12-1 as the Binghamton Senators got two goals and an assist from Josh Hennessy on their way to a 5-3 win over Manchester. Nick Johnson has a goal in regulation and then the shootout winner for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton despite a pair of tallies from Albany’s Jerome Samson as the Penguins beat the River Rats 4-3. Texas knocked off Peoria 3-2 and Mike Santorelli had two goals, ex-Pack Hugh Jessiman had an assist as the Admirals crushed the Lake Erie Monsters 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.

* The Wolf Pack signed the injured Mike Hoffman to a full AHL contract. Hoffman had been on a Professional Try-out deal. This is probably a move designed more for next season than this one. Here’s the official release:

WOLF PACK SIGN MIKE HOFFMAN TO AHL CONTRACT

*           *           *           *

Veteran Winger had been on PTO with Pack

*           *           *           *

Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the Wolf Pack have signed forward Mike Hoffman to an American Hockey League contract.

Hoffman has played in seven games with the Wolf Pack since signing a Professional Tryout (PTO) agreement December 10, scoring one goal and registering 19 penalty minutes.  The seventh-year pro has been out of action since December 30 due to injury.

Hoffman, a 29-year-old, 6-5, 248-pound native of Weymouth, MA, is an ex-UConn Husky, having played a total of 31 games in a UConn uniform in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons.  Prior to going to UConn, Hoffman attended prep school at Loomis Chaffee in Windsor, CT.  He is the first-ever UConn product to play with the Wolf Pack.

Before joining the Wolf Pack, Hoffman was with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL, for whom he had played 12 games, registering one assist and 31 penalty minutes.  Hoffman played in the AHL last season for the Chicago Wolves, skating in 61 games and scoring two goals and two assists for four points, while serving 89 minutes in penalties. 

Hoffman has played in 289 career AHL contests with the Worcester IceCats, Cleveland Barons, Toronto Marlies, Manchester Monarchs, Portland Pirates, Chicago Wolves and the Wolf Pack, totaling 21 goals, 29 assists, 50 points and 621 PIM.

* Also in the news is the clear day list for the team should they make the playoffs. Some interesting things to note in terms of names on and off the list. The “Clear Day list” consists of a maximum of 22 players that can play in the playoffs should the Pack somehow manage to make it that far. Here’s the list: Chad Johnson and Matt Zaba in the net. Donald Brashear, Dane Byers, Paul Crowder, Brodie Dupont, Anders Eriksson, Ryan Garlock, Evgeny Grachev, Ilkka Heikkinen, Corey Locke, Kris Newbury, Jared Nightingale, P.A. Parenteau, Corey Potter, Bobby Sanguinetti, Justin Soryal, Dale Weise. No surprises there, but also on the list are Brent Henley, Mike Hoffman, Nigel Williams and Michael Sauer who are all injured and were thought to be done for the season. Notice also that Olympian Andres Ambϋhl and David Urquhart are not on that list.  Ambϋhl’s absence is puzzling. While he’s not exactly dynamic by any stretch, Ambϋhl has been a good soldier all season long and was good enough to play for his nation’s Olympic team, but not the AHL playoffs? Derek Couture is also not on the list and will probably head to Charlotte for their run to win the Kelly Cup as will Julien Brouillette. Urquhart being off the list is surprising to say the least given the defenseman has had a decent season defensively and there was another thing too…oh yeah,  HE’S NOT HURT.

Teams may also add signed junior players or players on amateur tryout contracts after their respective junior or college seasons are complete.

* The start time for the Tuesday, March 16 contest between the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden is set for 7:30 pm.  It was originally scheduled for 7:00 pm.  The matchup will be nationally televised on Versus.

 

 

LINES:

Byers © – Newbury – Weise
Dupont – Locke – Parenteau
Brashear – Garlock – Couture
Soryal – Crowder – Grachev

Heikkinen – Nightingale  
Brouillette – Potter
Eriksson – Sanguinetti

Zaba
Johnson

 

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized) 

 

SCRATCHES:

Dave Urquhart – Healthy Scratch
Andres Ambϋhl – Healthy Scratch
Nigel Williams – Undisclosed Injury – Day-to-Day
Steven Valiquette – Hand Injury – Season over
Michael Sauer – Shoulder – Season over
Mike Hoffman – Shoulder – Season over
Brent Henley – Knee – Season over

 

THREE STARS:

1. WOR – T. Trevelyan
2. HFD – C. Potter
3. WOR – R. Vesce

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Mark Lemelin (84)

Linesmen:
Mark Messier (12)
Bob Paquette (18)

 

NEXT GAME:

For the Pack to even have a remote chance of getting into the race for the last playoff spot, Friday night’s game against the Springfield Falcons is a must win game. Game time is 7:30 so Bob Crawford will be on the air with the Pre-Game show at 7.

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 4 At Worcester Sharks 6 – Status: Final

Mar 10, 2010 – DCU Center

Hartford 2 1 1 – 4

Worcester 1 1 4 – 6

1st Period-1, Hartford, Potter 3   5:54. 2, Worcester, Zalewski 21 (Joslin), 9:08 (pp). 3, Hartford, Potter 4 (Dupont, Locke), 14:16. Penalties-Brashear Hfd (hooking), 7:46; Doyle Wor (delay of game – restricted area), 14:29; served by Brashear Hfd (bench minor – too many men), 17:05.

2nd Period-4, Hartford, Dupont 13 (Locke, Parenteau), 10:21. 5, Worcester, Vesce 12 (Ferriero, Groulx), 14:32 (pp). Penalties-Soryal Hfd (fighting), 4:31; Petrecki Wor (fighting), 4:31; Nightingale Hfd (fighting), 6:21; Henderson Wor (kneeing, fighting), 6:21; Westgarth Wor (interference), 10:45; Heikkinen Hfd (hooking), 12:26; Potter Hfd (cross-checking), 13:56.

3rd Period-6, Worcester, Desjardins 14 (McCarthy, DaSilva), 7:26. 7, Worcester, Trevelyan 20 (Doyle, Henderson), 9:30. 8, Hartford, Weise 21 (Potter, Newbury), 13:03. 9, Worcester, Trevelyan 21 (Westgarth, Couture), 18:15. 10, Worcester, Groulx 9 (Demers, Vesce), 19:59 (pp en). Penalties-Joslin Wor (boarding), 0:19; Garlock Hfd (hooking), 3:56; served by Soryal Hfd (bench minor – too many men), 19:00.

Shots on Goal-Hartford 10-18-10-38. Worcester 11-8-7-26.

Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 of 4; Worcester 3 of 6.

Goalies-Hartford, Zaba 6-11-2 (25 shots-20 saves). Worcester, Doyle 2-1-0 (38 shots-34 saves).

A-2,306

 

MEANWHILE IN CHARLOTTE

Charlotte Checkers
CHECKERS, DIAMONDS DIRECT TO GIVE AWAY ONE-KARAT DIAMOND

Estimated Value of $4,000; Giveaway To Take Place Saturday At “Pink In The Rink”
One lucky lady will enter Time Warner Cable Arena on Saturday evening to watch a hockey game and leave with a one-karat diamond courtesy of Diamonds Direct of South Park.

On Saturday, Mar. 13, during the Checkers fourth annual “Pink in the Rink”, the first 1,000 ladies that register at the Diamonds Direct concourse area table will be handed an envelope that may contain a real one Karat diamond with an estimated value of $4,000. In order to verify if the “diamond” handed out is genuine, ladies will have to make their way to the Diamonds Direct location in South Park at 4521 Sharon Road in order to verify if their envelope contains the special prize or a cubic zirconium.

In the past three seasons, the Checkers have raised over $72,200 through jersey auctions, ticket fundraising and merchandise sales for “Pink in the Rink”-related charities, including Carolina Breast Friends, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the American Cancer Society.

During the event, the Checkers will don special pink jerseys that will be auctioned off live after the game. The Checkers will also raise money through fundraising tickets and merchandise sales.

The funds raised from the “Pink in the Rink” game will be used for the design and construction of the “Pink House”, a “one-stop-shop” where breast cancer survivors have the opportunity to meet with each other in a comfortable, inviting atmosphere. They will participate in monthly educational/social meetings as well as fitness/yoga training, nutritional education, wig/scarf boutique and other counseling and creative workshops.

The Checkers (32-20-7) will host the Gwinnett Gladiators on Thursday, Mar. 11 for “Hockey for Haiti”. Season tickets are now on sale for the inaugural AHL season in 2010-11 and 40-game packages start as low as $200. Visit www.gocheckers.com or call 704-342-4ICE for more information.

0-for-3

Hartford Wolf Pack puck     VERSUS      Hamilton Bulldogs

It was not a good night for any of the New York Ranger’s teams or affiliates. First the Rangers lost to the Alex Ovechkin led Washington Capitals 2-0 while in Toledo the Charlotte Checkers came back from a two goal deficit, then blew one of their own and got a goal late to go to overtime but lost with just six seconds remaining in overtime. Then to finish it all off, the Hartford Wolf Pack came back from a two-goal deficit themselves only to see it all go for naught when they couldn’t slip a single tally past the AHL’s best netminder, Hamilton Bulldogs starter, Cedrick Desjardins in the shootout and lost 3-2.

As Led Zeppelin once wrote, “The Song Remains The Same.” An injury to a key player leaves the team shorthanded in a skill position and then a poor start where the team has to dig themselves out of a hole. That’s been the common theme through almost all of this 2009-2010 Hartford Wolf Pack season.

The player in this case was P.A. Parenteau, who must have been injured in Friday morning’s skate because he was fine after Thursday morning’s practice, missed this game with an undisclosed ailment. Wolf Pack head coach Ken Gernander had the Hull, Quebec native lined up with opposite Brodie Dupont with Corey Locke in the middle in practice Thursday morning. It was a grouping that had shown some potential against Lowell and gave Parenteau his second hat trick of the season, the only two the Pack have had all season, but again, Gernander had to go back to the drawing board. Gernander’s decision was to slide Evgeny Grachev into Parenteau’s spot.

The other Pack ailment that still can’t seem to respond to treatment, is slow starts to games.

Take away the first five minutes of this contest and the Pack win the game. Unfortunately for Hartford, games are sixty minutes and not fifty-five.

Just 36 seconds into the contest, Max Pacioretty went to center the puck but it hit Aaron Palushaj then pin-balled off the goalpost where Ryan White got to it first, despite having Pack players right there and blasted it between the pipes. Pack starter Matt Zaba (25 saves, 6-10-2) valiantly tried to get across the crease but was there a moment late and White had his 15th of the year.

Hamilton elevated their game and were more like sharks than Bulldogs. They smelled blood in the water and went for it. It only took them 4:07 to double their advantage.

Alex Henry took a shot from the left point that was stopped by Zaba. The rebound went into the slot where it was retrieved by Mike Glumac. The Bulldog right winger fired on the net an hit the crossbar. The puck went behind Zaba and Grant Stevenson tapped it into the empty net.

4:42 into the contest and the Pack already found themselves down a deuce.

The Bulldogs had troubles of their own as two of their better players, Pacioretty and Greg Stewart left the bench area with injuries. It seemed to be a shoulder problem for Pacioretty while Greg Stewart reportedly hurt his back. Neither returned to the game.

But unlike other games where they simply fade away, this time they fought back…literally

Since referee Jeff Smith essentially shows up to get his check and seems like he doesn’t want to be bothered to actually call anything, it was up to the players to police themselves, and that they did. 2:12 after the goal by Stevenson, Dupont had had enough of getting whacked and tore a new one into Palushaj and spent the next five minutes to dwell on it.

From that moment on, the Wolf Pack took control of the game and made the most of it.

The second period was perhaps the best played period of the season by Hartford and paid late dividends.

1:19 remained on the home clock when Jared Nightingale rocketed a blast from the left side that wound up into the front corner left side of the net. The goal was Nightingale’s third of the season. Helpers went to Corey Locke and Grachev.

It only took the Pack 19 seconds to tie the game with beautiful play that newcomer Kris Newbury played a big part of in earning his first point since being acquired in the deal that sent Jordan Owens to Grand Rapids at the trade deadline on Wednesday.

Newbury fought through traffic and got the puck to Corey Potter on the right point. Potter fired a wrister on net that hit Desjardins (30 saves, 24-7-2) and bounced to the left where Weise was waiting to help escort the puck to it’s seat at the back of the net. The goal for Weise was his twentieth of the season. Weise set a goal for himself before the season of scoring twenty-five goals and it’s looking like he just might get it as he only needs five more in the next seventeen to get there.

The score remained tied throughout the third period and through overtime.

In terms of scoring chances, the Pack’s best opportunity came in the third period when Grachev was robbed in front of the Hamilton net and in overtime, Zaba was Godzilla-huge in keeping the puck out of the Hartford net.

In the shootout, the Pack were unable to solve Desjardins at all and looked completely overmatched.

Coming back the other way, P.K. Subban made the same move in his shootout attempt that was the same as the one he used at the All-Star game. The shot, where he comes up short and stops and then puts in the puck, upset Gernander and Zaba and they both protested the move as being illegal. Obviously that protest fell on deaf ears.

Brock Trotter also scored for Hamilton to ice the game.

Hartfordwolfpack.com has Bob Crawford’s game summary. We’re talking Canada so of course there’s coverage of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Garry McKay has the story in the Hamilton Spectator.

 

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET 

 

SHOOTOUT
Hamilton shoots first for each round.
Hartford Hamilton
# Shooter Score
84 Corey Locke No
23 Dale Weise No
11 Kris Newbury No
19 Evgeny Grachev No
Score # Shooter
Yes 76 P.K. Subban
Yes 19 Brock Trotter
No 20 Ryan Russell
No 28 Aaron Palushaj
 
Totals: 0 2  

 

STANDINGS

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA STK P 10 PIM
1. Sharks 63 38 20 2 3 81 213 190 1-0-0-0 5-4-0-1 1030
2. Pirates 63 35 29 5 3 78 193 170 0-2-0-0 5-4-0-1 1114
3. Monarchs 63 34 22 2 5 75 169 154 1-0-0-0 5-5-0-0 933
4. Devils 64 32 24 4 4 72 190 177 0-2-0-0 3-5-0-2 1164
5. Sound Tigers 65 29 27 3 6 67 161 184 2-0-0-0 5-5-0-0 1517
6. Bruins 64 31 30 3 0 65 172 177 0-2-0-0 4-6-0-0 1008
7. WOLF PACK 63 26 27 5 5 62 169 194 0-2-2-1 1-6-2-1 1284
8. Falcons 66 21 33 9 3 54 163 238 1-0-0-0 4-5-0-1 1408

  

SCOREBOARD:

The Sound Tigers won their second straight and beat Providence 4-1. Sean Bentivoglio and Jeremy Reich each had two goals in the win at the Arena at Harbor Yard. Hershey did what they do best and won big knocking off Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4-0. As usual, ex-Pack Alex Giroux had a goal. Rochester got a goal from ex-Pack and NY Ranger Mike York in the first and that was it, 1-0 over the Pack’s next opponent, Toronto. Binghamton only needed to spot ex-Pack Chris Holt a goal and he did the rest stopping all 25 shots he faced and gave the Senators a 1-0 win over Adirondack. Manitoba doubled up Grand Rapids 2-1. Grand Rapids was 0-for-7 on the power play at Van Andel Arena. Someone break up the Falcons…oh wait hey did…Falcons get a rare win defeating Lowell 7-5 on two goals from Chris Minard. Albany doubled up Norfolk 4-2. Portland scored three times in the third but it wasn’t enough. Brendan Bell had two tallies to lead Syracuse to a 4-3 win. Greg Moore had an assist. Chicago got past Milwaukee 2-1. Derek Armstrong was one of three who scored as Peoria beat Lake Erie 3-1. Miika Wiikman came in to relive Josh Tordjman after he gave up two goals on nine shots and the e-Pack and Checker stopped 25 of 27 shots but the damage was done as Rockford beat the Rampage 4-1. Duncan Malloy put two past Anton Khudobin as Texas defeated Houston 4-3. Last but not least, the first place Sharks beat Abbotsford on a Dan DaSilva goal with just 3:28 remaining and the Sharks defeated the Heat 2-1.

 

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.

* Brodie Dupont, Corey Locke and Evgeny Grachev are the only Pack players to be in the lineup for all 63 games this season.

* The Pack are 12-9-5-5 in one-goal games and 16-11-2-3 when they outshoot their opponents.

* Of the remaining 17 games in the Wolf Pack season, only six are against teams with a losing record (Toronto –1, Springfield –4, Adirondack –1). They have first place Worcester twice (both on the road), Lowell twice (both home), Providence twice (both home), Bridgeport twice (one home, one, the last game of the season, in Bridgeport) and Portland once (on the road).

* Of the last 17 games 10 are at home and seven on the road.

 

LINES:

Byers © – Newbury – Weise
Soryal – Crowder – Couture
Ambϋhl – Garlock – Brashear
Dupont – Locke – Grachev

Eriksson – Sanguinetti 
Heikkinen – Nightingale
Brouillette – Potter

Zaba
Johnson

 

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

SCRATCHES:

Dave Urquhart – Healthy Scratch
Nigel Williams – Undisclosed Injury – Day-to-Day
P.A. Parenteau – Undisclosed Injury – Day-to-Day
Steven Valiquette – Hand Injury – Season over
Michael Sauer – Shoulder – Season over
Mike Hoffman – Shoulder – Season over
Brent Henley – Knee – Season over

 

THREE STARS:

1. HAM – P. Subban
2. HAM – M. Glumac
3. HFD – D. Weise

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Jeff Smith (49)

Linesmen:
Ryan Lachine (83)
Jesse Wilmot (19)

 

NEXT GAME:

The Pack are just about in a must win game now every night and they haven’t been able to pull it off. Getting into the playoffs in their own division is pretty much over. They still have a chance at getting in the East, but they are going to have to get hot in a hurry if they’re going to make a real run at it. Tonight against the sixth place Toronto Marlies is a game they should win…if they can get goals which lately has not been easy and now with P.A. Parenteau not well, that job just got that much harder. Bob Crawford is on the air at 3:30 and game time is at 4:00.

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 2 At Hamilton Bulldogs 3 (SO) – Status: Final SO

Mar 6, 2010 – Copps Coliseum

Hartford 0 2 0 0 – 2

Hamilton 2 0 0 0 – 3

1st Period-1, Hamilton, White 15 (Palushaj, Pacioretty), 0:36. 2, Hamilton, Stevenson 6 (Glumac, Henry), 4:43. Penalties-Dupont Hfd (roughing), 6:55; Stewart Ham (slashing), 11:17.

2nd Period-3, Hartford, Nightingale 3 (Locke, Grachev), 18:41. 4, Hartford, Weise 20 (Potter, Newbury), 19:00. Penalties-No Penalties

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties

OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties

Shootout – Hartford 0 (Locke NG, Weise NG, Newbury NG, Grachev NG), Hamilton 2 (Subban G, Trotter G, Russell NG, Palushaj NG).

Shots on Goal-Hartford 7-18-6-1-0-32. Hamilton 10-9-4-4-1-28.

Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 of 1; Hamilton 0 of 1.

Goalies-Hartford, Zaba 6-10-2 (27 shots-25 saves). Hamilton, Desjardins 24-7-2 (32 shots-30 saves).

A-3,667

MEANWHILE IN CHARLOTTE

Charlotte Checkers     VERSUS       Toledo Walleye       

CHECKERS EDGED IN OVERTIME BATTLE WITH TOLEDO
Leveille Records Career-High Five Points

The Charlotte Checkers forced overtime with a late third period goal but were edged, 6-5, in the extra frame by the Toledo Walleye on Saturday evening.

Michelle Leveille led the way offensively with a career-high five points and his four assists fell one shy of a Checkers single-game record. Leveille now has nine points on a current four-game streak. Ryan Munce outperformed his Toledo counterpart with 45 saves but was unable to get the win.

Munce was solid in the first frame stopping all 16 Toledo shots, including a flurry of scoring chances late in the period.

Early in the second, Toledo opened the scoring on a goal by Akim Aliu who was sent down by Rockford (AHL) earlier in the day. Akiu let go a wrist shot from the left side that trickled in just over the goal line for the 1-0 lead.

The Walleye went ahead by two, 44 seconds later, when Mike Hedden wrapped the puck around the net, picked up his own rebound and stuffed it home for his 15th of the season.

Charlotte would then break out with four goals in an 11-minute span beginning with a tally by defenseman T.J. Reynolds. Leveille broke in alone, was stopped by Pearce but managed to pass the puck back to Reynolds, who one-timed it into the back of the net for his fifth of the year.

Four minutes later, defenseman Ryan Crane took a pass from Leveille in the high slot, stepped around a Toledo defender and fired the puck low on the glove side for his fifth.

The Checkers then took their first lead of the game with less than four minutes to play in the period. Leveille took advantage of a Toledo miscue at the blueline and made a nifty move before dishing the puck to Aaron Slattengren. Slattengren let a shot go and Matt Schepke was on the doorstep to bang home the rebound.

Charlotte went ahead by two with 29 seconds left in the period when Leveille beat a Walleye defender 1-on-1 with a toe drag and let a shot go that was stopped by the Toledo goaltender. Andrew Carroll, who scored the shootout-winning goal the night before, was parked in the crease and stuffed home the rebound for his team-leading 24th of the season.

Early in the third period, Toledo scored two goals 20 seconds apart before taking a 5-4 lead on Aliu’s second of the game with only three minutes to play in the game.

With time winding down, Leveille picked up the rebound off a Matt Stefanishion shot and beat Pearce between the legs for his second goal in as many nights and fifth point of the game. The goal came with just 41 seconds to play and set the stage for overtime.

In the overtime period, the Checkers had a chance to win, however a Toledo defenseman swiped the puck out of the crease as it was rolling toward the goal line. Then, with six seconds to play, Chris Robertson broke in alone on Munce and beat him on the blocker side for the overtime game-winner.

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

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

 

STANDINGS:

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA STK P 10 PIM
1. South Carolina Sting Rays 62 35 16 5 6 81 215 193 0-1-1-1 4-3-1-2 848
2. Florida Everblades 61 32 20 4 5 73 202 187 0-1-0-0 7-3-1-0 1136
3. Charlotte Checkers 58 31 20 4 3 69 205 192 1-0-1-0 4-5-1-0 1243
4. Gwinnett Gladiators 59 27 26 4 2 60 207 227 1-0-0-0 4-5-1-0 953

 

SCOREBOARD:

Gwinnett scored three times and Florida answered with two in a wild first period of action at Germain Arena. Gwinnett hung on for a 4-3 win. It was Reading over the Johnstown Chiefs 6-4. Oliver Labelle had two goals for Reading, Sean Berkstresser had two for Johnstown. Kalamazoo scored in all three periods and knocked off Elmira 4-1. Trenton doubled up Wheeling 6-3 at WestBanco Arena. Idaho was lead by a five point night from Mark Derlago (2g, 3a) and got a two goal night from Tyler Spurgeon as the Steelheads put a whooping on Bakersfield 7-3. Ontario needed a shootout to get by Las Vegas 4-3 and Stockton got goals from seven different Thunder  players as they knocked off Victoria 7-3.

 

NOTES:

* Michelle Leveille is currently on a four-game point streak (2g, 7a)

* Andrew Carroll leads the team with 24 goals and ranks tied for first among all ECHL players with three shootout-winning goals

* T.J. Reynolds leads the ECHL with 239 penalty minutes and leads the Checkers with a +18 rating

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

 

LINES:

SlattengrenLeveille © – Taylor
Schepke – Tkaczuk – Stefanishion
Chabot  Carroll – Marshall
Marshall

Berube– Reynolds
Dowzak – Schaeffer
Ward – Crane

Munce
LaGrand

 

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

SCRATCHES:

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

 

THREE STARS:

1. TOL – C. Robertson
2. CHR – M. Leveille
3. TOL – A. Aliu

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Keith Kaval (20)

Linesmen:
Cilint Evans (32)
Ray King (39)

 

NEXT GAME:

By the end of Saturday night’s game with Toledo, tempers were running hot on both sides of the benches. Expect a barnburner with the Walleye Sunday afternoon.  The Checkers then get on the bus for a ride home to Charlotte where they have three extremely important games against last place Gwinnett. The Checkers really need to win all three. Jason Shaya will be on the air at 4pm.

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 5 At Toledo Walleye 6 (OT) – Status: Final OT

Mar 6, 2010 – Lucas County Arena

Charlotte 0 4 1 0 – 5

Toledo 0 2 3 1 – 6

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Slattengren Chr (roughing), 7:27; Rankin Tol (interference on the goalkeeper), 7:43; Taylor Chr (tripping), 7:56; Danis-Pepin Tol (boarding), 11:07; Stefanishion Chr (holding), 13:04; Peralta Tol (interference on the goalkeeper), 13:52; Smith Tol (cross-checking), 15:49; Reynolds Chr (hooking), 18:34; Peralta Tol (interference), 19:39.

2nd Period-1, Toledo, Aliu 1 (Robertson, Piche), 1:47. 2, Toledo, Hedden 15 (Keefe, MacMillan), 2:31. 3, Charlotte, Reynolds 5 (Leveille, Taylor), 8:50. 4, Charlotte, Crane 5 (Leveille, Slattengren), 12:41. 5, Charlotte, Schepke 21 (Schaeffer, Leveille), 16:31. 6, Charlotte, Carroll 24 (Leveille, Slattengren), 19:31. Penalties-DiDiomete Chr (fighting – major), 6:19; Danis-Pepin Tol (fighting – major), 6:19; MacMillan Tol (hooking), 6:53; Marshall Chr (holding the stick), 8:05; Carroll Chr (roughing, roughing), 20:00; Robertson Tol (roughing, roughing), 20:00.

3rd Period-7, Toledo, Tanguay 22 (Smith, Sawyer), 6:57 (pp). 8, Toledo, Keefe 1 (MacMillan, Hedden), 7:17. 9, Toledo, Aliu 2 (Danis-Pepin, Smith), 16:57 (pp). 10, Charlotte, Leveille 16 (Stefanishion, Slattengren), 19:19. Penalties-Schepke Chr (hooking), 5:23; Chabot Chr (fighting – major), 13:46; Piche Tol (fighting – major), 13:46; DiDiomete Chr (unsportsmanlike conduct, unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:29.

OT Period-11, Toledo, Robertson 14 (Aliu), 4:54. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Charlotte 8-9-9-2-28. Toledo 16-12-17-6-51.

Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 0 of 6; Toledo 2 of 7.

Goalies-Charlotte, Munce 16-13-2-1 (51 shots-45 saves). Toledo, Pearce 12-13-1-0 (28 shots-23 saves).

A-8,000

AND WHAT OF VALIQUETTE?

As we wrote Friday night based upon the sources we spoke to, the Checkers have been assigned Miika Wiikman and the Rangers have a new backup netminder in New York in Alex Auld.

It appears now, for the time being anyway that all of the Rangers goaltending jobs are filled. Auld provides a legitimate NHL backup. With Wiikman off to Charlotte to at least sharing the playing time with Ryan Munce and Matt Zaba and Chad Johnson as the co number ones it would seen that the apparent odd man is Steve Valiquette.

Valiquette originally came to the Rangers organization, along with current Worcester Shark, Dwight “Dewey” Helminen, and a 2004 second round draft choice, as part of the deal with Edmonton for Petr Nedved and Jussi Markkanen on March 3rd, 2004.

That 2004 second round draft choice turned out to be 2010 Hartford Wolf Pack captain, Dane Byers.

The 6’6” 220 pound goaltender from Etobicoke, Ontario (just outside of Toronto) is injured with a busted up hand. According to the rules of the league nothing can happen to him in terms of being released etc., as long as he’s hurt. Once he does heal from his injury, it will be interesting to see how the organization handles a good standup person who has been a good soldier for the past six years, the last four of which riding shotgun for Henrik Lundqvist in New York.

Valiquette is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. It’s extremely unlikely that he will get another NHL team to give him a one-way contract given how his play between the pipes has deteriorated this season. It’s an even safer bet that he won’t be back in Hartford.

Valiquette was originally selected by the Los Angeles Kings round 8 (#190 overall) in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. He will turn 33 on August 20th.

Here are Valiquette’s career statistics:

Here is the official release on Wiikman’s move back to Charlotte:

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that goaltender Miika Wiikman has been assigned to the Charlotte Checkers of the ECHL.
Wiikman, 25, returns to Charlotte where he has posted a record of 9-2-1-2, along with a 2.77 goals against average, a .909 save percentage and one shutout in 16 games this season.  He leads the Checkers in goals against average, is tied for first on the team in save percentage and shutouts, and ranks second in wins.  Wiikman recorded his first career ECHL shutout, stopping all 36 shots faced in a 7-0 win vs. South Carolina on November 18.  He also posted an ECHL career-high four-game winning streak from December 20 vs. South Carolina to January 6 vs. South Carolina.  Wiikman has also appeared in seven games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL) this season, posting a 2-4-0 record with a 4.20 goals against average and an .869 save percentage.  He posted back-to-back wins on October 24 vs. Lowell (5-2) and October 25 vs. Worcester (4-3), registering a 2.50 goals against average and stopping 66-of-71 shots for a .930 save percentage over the span.
The Mariestad, Sweden native was signed by the Rangers as a free agent on April 24, 2008.

(Valiquette photo courtesy of sover.net)

FALCON CREST

Hartford Wolf Pack puck     VERSUS     Springfield Falcons

The Hartford Wolf Pack have been among the American Hockey League’s most successful teams in the past 12 years. They hold the AHL record for playoff success from inception with 12 straight appearances in the post-season. However in 2009-2010 it’s been a major struggle for the New York Rangers top farm team to get anything approaching the type of consistency necessary to be a playoff contender. There’ve been two root causes for Head Coach Ken Gernander’s troops all season; long term injuries to the team’s best players, and a serious inability to consistently find the back of the net particularly at key points in the game.

Currently the Pack find themselves entrenched in seventh place in the Atlantic Division seventeen points out of first place, nine out of the last playoff spot in their division and three behind Bridgeport to sneak into the fourth spot in the East for the right to get smoked by Hershey.

Friday night the stars were aligned for the Wolf Pack to start a late season push and catapult themselves back into the playoffs. Unfortunately, not even the return of two of the Wolf Pack’s top tier players from injury were enough to ignite their stalled offense as Hartford dropped a heartbreaking 2-1 decision just 12 seconds into overtime to the last place Springfield Falcons at the XL Center.

Two Quebec natives, P.A. Parenteau, out the past 16 games (concussion) and 13 year NHL veteran and three time Stanley Cup Champion defenseman Mathieu Dandenault, out the past 36 games (groin) made their return to the Pack lineup.

Starting the extra session, Rob Hisey won the opening faceoff from AHL All-Star Corey Locke. The Falcon center drew it back to Chris Armstrong. The Falcon defenseman in turn sent a pass along to winger Charles Linglet on the left side. Linglet saw and returned the puck to his centerman, free on the right side. Hisey ripped a one-timer from the faceoff circle that hit the glove of Pack Starter Matt Zaba (29 saves, 6-10-1) and went into the net behind him.

“I read the play, was there in plenty of time, and knew he was going to take a one-timer,” Zaba said. “It was just kind of a fluke. It hit my glove and went up and over. I don’t know, but it might have missed the net.”

It’s been that kind of a season for the Wolf Pack.

“We’re having trouble scoring goals,” Zaba said. “So if we’re only going to score one goal, we have to do anything we can to win 1-0. We definitely had some chances, but for whatever reason, we just couldn’t get the job done the last two games. I guess if there’s a positive we got a point out of it, but it’s kind of discouraging not to get two (points).”

After a first period where the Pack decidedly controlled play and outshot their guests 15-7, they finally broke through in the second.

A delayed penalty was in play for what appeared to be a high stick by Linglet on Corey Potter behind the goal line in the Pack zone. Jordan Owens retrieved the puck and fed Ryan Garlock who rushed the puck up ice and into the Falcon zone. The Pack brought out the extra attacker in Parenteau. Garlock found Jared Nightingale open in the slot for a hard shot. The puck rebounded into the right wing corner. Garlock retrieved the puck and fed it back to Nightingale along the half-boards. Nightingale in turn slid the puck over to Parenteau at the right point. Parenteau brought the puck over to the left side and drew Linglet and Chris Minard with him to the left point. Potter and the Hull, Quebec native changed places as Parenteau spun and made a quick pass back to the defenseman. Potter went back to the right point and drew ex-Pack center Chad Wiseman with him which opened up the middle of the ice. Garlock rotated out and found the open ice in the slot. The Pack center corralled the puck off the Potter feed, turned and used Chris Armstrong, who’d come out to try and block the shot, as a screen and wristed a hard low shot. Between Armstrong going down to get the shot and the traffic in front of the Falcon net, as both Owens and Nightingale kept defenseman Taylor Chorney tied up in Devan Dubnyk’s (32 saves, 12-17-2) line of sight. Garlock’s shot slid under the Falcon netminder at 7:36.

But after that, the Pack could not generate good scoring chances and the ones they did were all turned aside by Dubnyk who was incredible.

“(Dubnyk) had some turning point saves, for sure,” Zaba said. “If we had got up two or three (goals) the way we were playing, I think the game probably would have been over. But they just kind of hung around and hung around and got a couple of breaks and ended up winning.”

After a good scoring chance by Evgeny Grachev that was turned aside by Dubnyk that went out of play with 8:45 to go in the game, there came an offensive zone faceoff for the Pack. Ryan O’Marra beat Paul Crowder. The puck wound up on the stick of Colin McDonald who rushed the puck up the right wing boards. McDonald put a shot on net that Zaba deflected into the left wing corner. The puck slid up the boards where ex-Pack Dean Arsene controlled it and slipped it to Ryan MacMurchy. The Falcon right winger saw O’Marra free in the center as Donald Brashear was slow to get over to pick him up. O’Marra who wristed a seeing eye puck over the glove of Zaba knotting the score with just 8:30 left to play.

“We did a lot of good things, but when it’s 1-0, you have to have even more sense of urgency to try to build on your lead,” Wolf Pack coach Ken Gernander said. “Then we gave them some life and they kept coming and coming. And Dubnyk played very well. He’s a big part of their team. He gets the sure shots on goal and usually stands pretty tall for them. But that’s part of the equation. You’ve got to overcome, and you have to do what it takes.”

Saturday will see the return of Andres Ambϋhl to the Wolf Pack lineup strengthening the team further and removing their last excuse of a weakened lineup. If the Wolf Pack cannot start putting pucks in the net as they did early in the season and shoring up their goaltending they will end their record of consecutive playoff appearances at twelve.

The ever incredible Bruce Berlet is on hand in Hartford and tells the tale at Hartfordwolfpack.com. Gerry Cantelon saw the action and has his story for his European audience at Eurohockey.net.  The Springfield perspective can be seen at MassLive.com 

 

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET 

 

STANDINGS

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA STK P 10 PIM
1. Sharks 58 36 17 2 3 77 198 175 1-0-0-1 6-3-0-1 926
2. Pirates 59 33 18 5 3 74 180 158 0-2-0-0 7-2-0-1 1014
3. Monarchs 61 33 21 2 5 73 165 148 0-1-0-0 4-6-0-0 894
4. Devils 60 31 22 4 3 69 178 160 1-0-0-0 2-5-1-2 1108
5. Sound Tigers 61 27 25 3 6 63 147 164 0-1-0-0 5-4-1-0 1428
6. Bruins 59 29 27 3 0 61 162 161 1-0-0-0 6-4-0-0 967
7. WOLF PACK 60 26 26 4 4 60 163 185 0-1-1-0 2-6-2-0 1223
8. Falcons 63 19 32 9 3 50 151 227 1-0-0-0 3-5-1-1 1360

  

SCOREBOARD:

A busy night for the AHL with 22 of the 30 teams in action. In games directly affecting the Rangers top farm club, Albany doubled up Portland 4-2, Providence got a hat trick from John Lammers and defeated Binghamton 6-4. Lowell got two goals in the third period to beat Manchester 3-2. Norfolk lost to Adirondack and Syracuse knocked off Lake Erie by the same 3-2 score. Abbotsford beat Worcester 5-4 in a shootout. Rochester knocked off Grand Rapids 5-3. San Antonio dismembered Manitoba 4-0 while Peoria and Texas both won 3-2 over Chicago and Houston respectively.

 

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.

* It hasn’t really been written anywhere that we’ve seen, but former NY Ranger, Michael Nylander has been moved from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins to Jokerit Helsinki joining former Carolina Hurricane Bates Battaglia on the same squad.

* Andres Ambϋhl is back from his two week stay in Vancouver with his native Swiss Olympic team. While Ambϋhl did not score in the five games he played in, he was exceptionally solid defensively and played center as well. He’s expected to be in the lineup for Saturday’s game against Portland. In all likelihood it will Justin Soryal that joins Devin DiDiomete, Dave Urquhart and Kenny Roche in the press box.

* A solid source told us that the NY Rangers had acquired another goaltender and that Miika Wiikman would be sent back to Charlotte on Monday. We shared that information with a couple of other reporters including Larry Brooks in New York. Brooks, being perhaps the most tied in hockey reporter anywhere, this morning reported in the NY Post that the Rangers might claim Alex Auld off re-entry waivers from Dallas. It’s since happened proving both us and our source correct.

This is good news, not just in making us just that much more of a credible reporting source, but for Chad Johnson and Matt Zaba. They can focus on their respective games and not sitting and rotting on the bench watching Henrik Lundqvist. Johnson has struggled the last few games posting an 0-4 record with a 6.85 GAA and a .780 save percentage. Meanwhile, while he hasn’t winning games right now, (mostly to the lack of scoring in front of him) Zaba overall has been quite good and very steady, but has faltered on a couple of occasions on shots that have beaten him that probably shouldn’t have, i.e. Friday night’s game winner. While not spectacular, Zaba has been the best that the Wolf Pack have had between the pipes and should stay the number one goaltender the rest of the way.

* Potter’s assist on Garlock’s goal ended a six game pointless drought.  Kenny Roche, a healthy scratch has points in seven of his fourteen games (4g, 4a). Evgeny Grachev has one goal in his last 18 games while Jordan Owens has no goals in 17, but has 4 helpers over that span. Dane Byers is pointless in three games. Nigel Williams has been the Pack’s most offensively productive defenseman. Over the last 18 games, Williams has 12 points (3g, 9a). Corey Locke ended a three game goal scoring streak.

 

LINES:

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

Heikkinen – Sanguinetti
Potter – Nightingale
Williams – Dandenault 

Zaba
Johnson

 

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

SCRATCHES:

Miika Wiikman – Recall with NY Rangers
Devin DiDiomete – Healthy Scratch
Andres Ambϋhl – Healthy Scratch
David Urquhart – Healthy Scratch
Kenny Roche – Healthy Scratch
Steven Valiquette – Hand Injury – Day-to-Day
Michael Sauer – Shoulder – Season over
Mike Hoffman – Shoulder – Season over
Brent Henley – Knee – Season over

 

THREE STARS:

1. SPR – R. Hisey
2. SPR – D. Dubnyk
3. HFD – M. Zaba

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
David Banfield (44)

Linesmen:
Derek Wahl (46)
Brent Colby (7)

 

NEXT GAME:

This was a game that the Wolf Pack needed because coming into the XL Center Saturday night are the Portland Pirates. While they’ve lost two straight they just came off an eleven game winning streak. The Pack find themselves nine points out of the final playoff spot in the Atlantic and if they can finish above Bridgeport and Providence in their division and have more than Wilkes-Barre /Scranton they could get in as the fourth team in the East Division. They trail Bridgeport by three points and have a game in hand. Bob Crawford takes to the air with the pre-game show at 6:30pm.

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

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

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

 

SCORE-SHEET:

Springfield Falcons 2 (OT) At Hartford Wolf Pack 1 – Status: Final OT

Feb 26, 2010 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Springfield 0 0 1 1 – 2

Hartford 0 1 0 0 – 1

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Wiseman Spr (hooking), 3:12; Fretter Spr (holding), 7:18; Garlock Hfd (hooking), 18:46.

2nd Period-1, Hartford, Garlock 4 (Potter, Parenteau), 7:36. Penalties-Peckham Spr (goaltender interference), 4:20; Weise Hfd (slashing), 5:34; Taylor Spr (holding), 15:05.

3rd Period-2, Springfield, O’Marra 10 (MacMurchy, Arsene), 11:30. Penalties-Nickerson Spr (misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:02; Soryal Hfd (misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:02.

OT Period-3, Springfield, Hisey 8 (Linglet, Armstrong), 0:12. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Springfield 7-11-12-1-31. Hartford 15-13-5-0-33.

Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 0 of 2; Hartford 0 of 4.

Goalies-Springfield, Dubnyk 12-17-2 (33 shots-32 saves). Hartford, Zaba 6-10-1 (31 shots-29 saves).

A-4,201

 

MEANWHILE DOWN IN CHARLOTTE

Charlotte Checkers     VERSUS       Cincinatti Cyclones   

MUNCE SOLID AS CHECKERS EDGE CYCLONES 2-1
Charlotte Netminder Makes Several Key Saves To De-Rail Red-Hot Cincinnati

Goaltender Ryan Munce turned aside 30 shots, including several game-saving stops late in the third, and the Charlotte Checkers edged the Cincinnati Cyclones, 2-1, on Friday evening in Ohio.

Munce is now 7-3-1 in 11 games since taking over lone goaltending duties for the Checkers after Miika Wiikman was recalled to Hartford (AHL). Cincinnati came into the game undefeated in regulation in its last 11 games (9-0-2) and the Checkers were looking to avenge a 4-1 loss on Jan. 27, the only other meeting between the two teams this year.

Cincinnati and Charlotte traded scoring chances early on but were each unable to capitalize. Midway through the first period, Jean-Philipp Chabot centered a pass to Aaron Slattengren and Cyclones goaltender Jeremy Smith made an impressive save to keep the score knotted at 0-0.

Not to be outdone by his Cincinnati counterpart, Munce then made several excellent saves on a flurry of shots with three minutes left in the period.

The game remained scoreless after 20 minutes with the Cyclones holding a 9-8 shot advantage.

Early in the second period, Charlotte turned the puck over at the blueline and Cincinnati forward Dustin Sproat skated in alone on Munce. He faked left and let a shot go but the Checkers goaltender shut the door.

Cincinnati then opened the scoring at the midway point of the period. Centerman Mark Van Guilder won an offensive zone faceoff back to Scott Marchesi who immediately fired a wrist shot from the high slot. The shot deflected off a Checkers defender and past Munce for the 1-0 lead.

The Checkers answered with a goal of their own just six minutes later while on the penalty kill. Mike Taylor fed a beautiful backhand saucer pass over to Kevin Schaeffer who beat Smith between the legs to tie the game at 1-1.

With five seconds left in the period, Van Guilder was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a hit on Tyler Doig. The penalty would prove costly as Charlotte took its first lead of the game early in the following frame on the ensuing power play. Matt Schepke took a shot from the point that was tipped home in front by Julien Brouillette for the 2-1 lead. The goal was Brouillette’s 13th of the season and proved to be the game-winner.

With 1:22 left to play in the contest, Charlotte was assessed an interference penalty and Cincinnati went to work on the power play with a 6-on-4 man advantage. The Cyclones threw all they could at Munce, however the Checkers’ netminder made several point blank saves to preserve the victory and give Charlotte its 30th win on the season.

The Checkers (30-17-6) will continue on their three-game northern road trip before returning 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 59 35 15 4 5 79 207 181 3-0-0-0 5-4-0-1 819
2. Charlotte Checkers 56 30 17 3 3 66 190 170 2-0-0-0 7-2-0-1 1104
3. Florida Everblades 56 28 19 4 5 65 180 169 2-0-1-0 5-2-2-1 1022
4. Gwinnett Gladiators 55 25 24 4 2 56 189 209 0-3-1-0 4-5-1-0 872

 

SCOREBOARD:

Toledo beat former Ranger GM’s Neil Smith’s Johnstown Chiefs, 5-2. In a shootout it was Reading over Wheeling. Kalamazoo knocked off Gwinnett 4-3 while Trenton tripled up Elmira 3-1. Out west it was Idaho crushing Alaska 4-1.  Ex-Pack right winger Alex Bourret scored a goal and had two helpers for the Las Vegas Wranglers as they went on to a 5-2 over Stockton. Ontario rode a Greg Hogeboom hat trick, had two goals from Tony Voce and a four goal third period on their way to a 7-3 win at home against Utah.

NOTES:

* Charlotte is 4-1-0 in its last five road games

* Matt Schepke has six goals and two assists in his last eight games

* Ryan Munce is 7-2-1 in his last 10 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 fourth among all ECHL rookies

* T.J. Reynolds ranks second in the ECHL with 220 penalty minutes and second in overall plus-minus with a +23 rating

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

LINES:

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

Brouillette – Schaeffer
Berube– Reynolds
Ward – Crane

Munce
Willerding

 

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

SCRATCHES:

Tysen Dowzak – Healthy Scratch
Trevor Glass – Lower Body – Early March
Chris Snavely – Upper Body – 2-3 weeks
Codey Burki – Undisclosed – Season over
Chris Chappell – Shoulder Surgery – Season over

THREE STARS:

1. CHR – M. Schepke
2. CHR – R. Munce
3. CIN – S. Marchesi

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
David Lewis (16)

Linesmen:
Mike Hamilton (80)
Brad Phillips (66)

 

NEXT GAME:

After a big win Friday night in Cincinnati over the Cyclones, it’s onto the bus for a five hour ride . They will then play back-back games in Kalamazoo again the Wings on Saturday and Sunday.

You’ll find in live in-game coverage 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 Cincinnati Cyclones 1 – Status: Final

Feb 26, 2010 – US Bank Arena

Charlotte 0 1 1 – 2

Cincinnati 0 1 0 – 1

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-served by Marshall Chr (bench – too many men), 2:16; Reynolds Chr (elbowing), 14:44.

2nd Period-1, Cincinnati, Marchesi 3 (Van Guilder), 10:07. 2, Charlotte, Schaeffer 3 (Taylor), 16:06 (sh). Penalties-Reynolds Chr (fighting – major), 11:16; Benson Cin (fighting – major), 11:16; Schepke Chr (slashing ), 14:29; Benson Cin (unsportsmanlike conduct), 16:44; Stefanishion Chr (roughing, fighting – major), 19:27; Motherwell Cin (fighting – major), 19:27; Chabot Chr (roughing), 19:55; Sproat Cin (interference on the goalkeeper), 19:55; Van Guilder Cin (boarding – major, game misconduct), 19:55.

3rd Period-3, Charlotte, Brouillette 13 (Schepke, Doig), 3:26 (pp). Penalties-O’Hanley Cin (cross-checking), 13:38; Slattengren Chr (interference), 18:38.

Shots on Goal-Charlotte 8-4-3-15. Cincinnati 9-13-9-31.

Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 1 of 4; Cincinnati 0 of 5.

Goalies-Charlotte, Munce 15-11-1-1 (31 shots-30 saves). Cincinnati, Smith 18-11-0-2 (15 shots-13 saves).

A-6,164

YOU KNOW THE OLYMPICS ARE ALMOST OVER WHEN…

Hartford Wolf Pack CT Lottery The goalie shuffle between the New York Rangers and the Hartford Wolf Pack begins…and it’s begun today.

The Rangers have sent Steve Valiquette and his broken finger back to the Wolf Pack and recalled Chad Johnson.

Sending Johnson and not Matt Zaba makes sense. Zaba is playing exceptionally well and having him sit and get cold…pardon the pun…on the bench in New York makes no sense whatsoever. Meanwhile, Chad Johnson is struggling mightily to recover his game. He has been awful in his games since being sent down prior to the end of the Olympic break. Having him in New York at the Rangers Training Center to work much closer with goaltending guru Benoit Allaire is the prescription for fixing whatever has caused the lapse in Johnson’s game.

It will be interesting to see what the time with Allaire will do in getting Johnson straightened out when he plays his next game with the Wolf Pack.

For the time being anyway, with Valiquette still injured, Miika Wiikman will remain in Hartford to back up Zaba. If and when Valiquette is able to go it will be interesting to see how this whole four goalie rotation plays itself out. Frankly, of the four netminders, Valiquette has shown the weakest play and should be the odd person out. The greatest likelihood is that Wiikman will be sent back to Charlotte.

Here’s the official release:

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that goaltender Chad Johnson has been recalled from the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL), and goaltender Steve Valiquette has been assigned to Hartford.

Johnson, 23, has appeared in 30 games with Hartford this season, posting a 14-11-2 record with a 2.45 goals against average, a .915 save percentage and three shutouts.  He ranks 12th in the AHL in goals against average, 16th in save percentage, and is tied for sixth in shutouts.  Johnson returns to the Rangers where he has posted a record of 1-2-1, along with a 2.35 goals against average, a .919 save percentage and one assist in five appearances this season.  He notched his first career NHL win, while starting in consecutive games for the first time in his career, with a 34-save effort in a 3-1 win at Colorado on January 31.  On January 7 at Atlanta, he became the first NHL goalie to register an assist in his first career start since Alex Auld on January 23, 2002.  He made his NHL debut with 17 saves on December 30 vs. Philadelphia, and has dressed as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup in 22 games this season.  In Hartford, Johnson registered a season-high four-game winning streak, beginning with his first career AHL shutout on October 31 against Providence to November 7 at Bridgeport.  He also notched back-to-back shutouts on November 13 vs. Manchester (26 saves) and November 14 at Worcester (35 saves).  The AHL rookie made his debut with Hartford on October 9 at Providence, and recorded his first AHL win the following game on October 10 against Springfield.

The Calgary, Alberta native was acquired by the Rangers on June 27, 2009, in exchange for a fifth round selection (Andy Bathgate) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Valiquette, 32, has posted a record of 4-5-1, along with a 3.73 goals against average and an .877 save percentage in 11 appearances with Hartford this season.  Valiquette posted a 4-1-1 mark, with a 2.29 goals against average and a .919 save percentage in a six-game stretch from December 12 vs. Bridgeport to December 30 vs. Springfield, including back-to-back wins on December 12 vs. Bridgeport (2-1) and December 18 vs. Toronto (6-1) where he registered a 0.99 goals against average and a .960 save percentage in the two contests.

The Etobicoke, Ontario native was signed by the Rangers as a free agent on July 1, 2006.

“ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK…”

Hartford Wolf Pack puck     VERSUS     Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Frustration, Head Coach Ken Gernander agreed, would be the best word to describe how he feels after watching his troops play a hard fought game but come up short for the 33rd time in 59 games (26-26-3-4) as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers beat the Hartford Wolf Pack for the second time in three days 2-1 in front of 7,985 at the Arena at Harbor Yard Sunday afternoon.

“Last night (against first place Worcester, a 4-2 win) was a good game, a good effort,” Gernander said. “Tonight (Sunday) poor decisions, poor judgment. We can’t keep going up one step forward, two steps back. We gotta start making some progress and winning some games.”

The poor decision and poor judgment Gernander is likely referring too came on the game winner by NHL veteran Brendan Witt with just 8:07 remaining in the third.

Dale Weise, who was the first star of the game in Saturday night’s contest was the goat in this one.

“We’ve been stressing since day one that we want to enter the zone wide , challenge to the outside, don’t bring pucks to the middle of the ice.” Gernander said.

Weise did just that. On a break out during a four-on-four situation, Weise tried to come up the middle of the neutral zone only to see it go very wrong.

“You could see it develop in the neutral zone.” Witt said. “We had their guys caught and had a three-on-two. I just took the puck off Weise and ‘Flooder’ (Mark Flood) stepped up to give it to Mauldie (Greg Mauldin) and we transitioned real well.” The veteran of 14 NHL seasons said. “We had a good odd-man rush. I just jumped in the play and Greg (Mauldin) made a great pass to me and I just finished it. It’s always good to be able to contribute.”

Matt Zaba (28 saves, 6-8-1) was between the pipes for the New York Rangers top farm team. “It went over my pad and under my glove.” He said of the winning shot. “I thought I had it with my pad, but I should have just caught it I think. (Witt) made a good shot. It was a three-on-two odd-man rush so it was a good play by them. We got kind of caught, but that’s four-on-four hockey.”

“The ‘D’ always scores the big goals.” Sound Tigers head coach Jack Capuano, a former defenseman joked.

For the Pack, this one was no laughing matter. Once again, it came down to the Pack just taking too many penalties that changed the nature of their game.

“Discipline was a big issue,” Gernander said. “You can’t generate (offense) when your short handed. “I’m disappointed to only get two points (out of five games in the last seven days).”

“I thought some of the calls were bad.” Pack captain Dane Byers said. “I’m not going to make excuses and blame everything on the penalties, but a lot of the times it changes the momentum of the game.” He said. “We just took too many bad penalties.”

As you might imagine, Capuano didn’t see it quite the same way. “Some of the penalties that we got, we deserved them; same on the other side. You just concentrate and tell (The players) to stay disciplined and keep the shifts short you can stay disciplined in all areas of your game.”

As the first period came to a close the Pack began to bury themselves in a sea of bad penalties.

First Nigel Williams went off for a hooking call at 18:15. 1:32 later, Byers was sent to join Williams in the sin bin and gave the Tigers a 28 second five-on-three to close the period.

The Pack kept the Tigers off the score board as the first expired, but they were outshot 9-3 and did not look sharp.

As they came out to start the second period, the Pack still had 14 seconds to kill of a two-man disadvantage, but at 44 ticks of the clock in, Jordan Owens got called for a High Stick and put the Pack behind the eight-ball for 1:03 of being two-players down.

This time they wouldn’t get so lucky.

“(Matt) Martin was standing in front of me.” Zaba said. “I saw (Mauldin) shoot it but I didn’t see where the puck went after that so I just went down and tried to be big. (Mauldin) made a good shot. it was a good five-on-three goal for them. They made a good play.”

“You can’t give any team in this league that many five-on-three opportunities, especially after you just killed one off and you then you go right again after.” The Pack’s netminder added. “It’s taxing on our penalty killers. It definitely affects you for the rest of the game. We did a good job killing them off. That should have given us some momentum. I thought in the third period we really came out and took it to them. They got the one break that they needed and they capitalized on it.”

The Pack scored their only goal of the game with just 1:41 remaining on the clock in the second period.

Martin went to the penalty box to serve two minutes for a slashing call. It created a short four-on-four that bore no fruit for either squad, but when the Pack got on the ice for their fourth power play of the game, they would finally light the lamp behind the glass.

Bobby Sanguinetti, playing in just his third game after missing a month with a high ankle sprain, heeded the call of his co point man, Williams. The defenseman then blasted a shot/pass the missed the net wide left from the left point position. The angle caused a perfect bounce of the back boards that came to Locke on the right doorstep. Locke collected the puck and fired a backhanded shot over Lawson who tried to get back to cover the open side, but it was too late.

In order to try and generate some offense, Gernander switched up his lines to start the third period. It didn’t help.

“For four games in five nights I thought both teams played extremely well,” Capuano said. “It was a hard fought game; a lot of special teams; a lot of top guys from both teams played a lot of minutes because of the special teams situations so, I thought they were a little bit tired there at the end with their power play because they were playing so many minutes, but I thought it was a good hockey game.”

“We’ve got 21 games left till the start of the playoffs so we gotta get on a roll,” Byers said and then summed it up perfectly for his team. “Every game now obviously, everyone knows its a huge game. Every game now till the end of the year has to be the biggest game of the year so it’s like the playoffs right now for us. We gotta flight and claw for every point.”

Bob Crawford called it and then wrote it up at Hartfordwolfpack.com. Gerry Cantelon has his version at Eurohockey.net.  Not only a great guy, but a great writer, Mike Fornabaio has the Bridgeport perspective at CTPost.com 

 

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET 

 

STANDINGS

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA STK P 10 PIM
1. Sharks 56 35 17 2 2 74 191 169 0-1-0-0 6-3-1-0 911
2. Pirates 56 32 16 5 3 72 175 150 11-0-0-1 9-0-0-1 963
3. Monarchs 59 32 20 2 5 71 158 143 0-1-0-0 4-6-0-0 867
4. Devils 59 30 22 4 3 67 175 158 0-1-0-0 2-5-1-2 1101
5. Sound Tigers 60 27 24 3 6 63 145 161 1-0-0-0 5-3-1-1 1401
6. Bruins 58 28 27 3 0 59 156 157 0-2-0-0 6-4-0-0 955
7. WOLF PACK 59 26 26 3 4 59 162 183 0-1-0-0 3-6-1-0 1209
8. Falcons 61 18 31 9 3 48 147 221 0-2-0-1 2-6-1-1 1307

  

SCOREBOARD:

Hamilton got two goals from ex-Pack Tommy Pyatt en route to destroying Adirondack 5-0. W-B/Scranton doubled up Manchester 4-2 who got both of their goals from Justin Azevedo, Two ex-Ranger organization players, Jeff Taffe and Mike York had goals for the Rochester Americans as they won in a shootout ending Portland’s 11 game winning streak.  Defenseman Paul Postma had a hat trick as Chicago beat San Antonio 7-4. Grand Rapids knocked off Texas 5-4 while Abbotsford easily handled Providence 5-2. Hershey continues to just run over the rest of the AHL beating Albany 5-3 and Milwaukee and Houston both won 4-1 over Rockford and Peoria respectively.

 

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.

* P.A. Parenteau should be in the lineup next Friday night Springfield at home in the XL Center. Don’t be surprised if Mathieu Dandenault and Andres Ambϋhl are back in the lineup. If, as expected those players return to the lineup, it’s likely that Dave Urquhart will go to the press box, while Devin DiDiomete and either Justin Soryal or Derek Couture (the more likely candidate) head to Charlotte. Once the Rangers return to play the goaltender shuffle is likely to happen again. Steven Valiquette has a pretty bad hand injury so he is going to be sent back…on paper..from the Rangers. Miika Wiikman is likely to stay as the backup to Zaba and Chad Johnson who will do the back-and-forth in New York to back-up Henrik Lundqvist.

* Brendan Witt’s goal was his first in the AHL in 13 years.

* This time it wasn’t the penalty kill that doomed the team in red, white & blue. The penalty killers stopped Bridgeport seven-of-eight times in this one. No, this time the game was lost by the powerless power play that went one-for-six. Over the four games in five nights stench, stretch they played this week, the power play was an embarrassing 2 for 23 or 8.6%. The Pack have gone from a dominating team with the man advantage (which they lead the AHL with for nearly two full months) and dropped to 17th of 30 overall at 17.2%. For the record, the penalty killers are answering the bell at a 79.5% clip which is still last in the American League. On the bright side though, they still lead the league in shorthanded tallies with 15. Hershey is second with 12.

 

LINES:

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

Williams – Nightingale
Urquhart – Potter
Heikkinen – Sanguinetti 

Zaba
Johnson

 

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

SCRATCHES:

Miika Wiikman – Healthy Scratch
Devin DiDiomete – Healthy Scratch
Andres Ambϋhl – Reassigned to Swiss National Team – Two weeks
Steven Valiquette – Hand Injury – Day-to-Day (Technically on recall with the NY Rangers)
Mathieu Dandenault – Lower Body – Day-to-Day
P.A. Parenteau – Concussion – Day-to-Day
Michael Sauer – Shoulder Surgery – Season over
Brent Henley – Knee  – Season over
Mike Hoffman – Shoulder – Season over

 

THREE STARS:

1. BRI – G. Mauldin

2. BRI – B. Witt

3. HFD – M. Zaba

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:

Shaun Davis (31)

Linesmen:

Derek Wahl (46)

Paul Simeon (66)

 

NEXT GAME:

After a big win, the Pack will look to build on that and take it right to Bridgeport for a battle with the Sound Tigers. Bob Crawford is on the air with the pre-game show at 2:30.

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

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

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

 

SCORE-SHEET:

Hartford Wolf Pack 1 At Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2 – Status: Final

Feb 21, 2010 – Arena at Harbor Yard

Hartford 0 1 0 – 1

Bridgeport 0 1 1 – 2

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Nightingale Hfd (fighting), 0:43; Reich Bri (fighting), 0:43; Williams Hfd (roughing), 4:53; Joensuu Bri (roughing), 4:53; Dupont Hfd (tripping), 6:03; served by Figren Bri (bench minor – too many men), 9:26; Haley Bri (roughing), 13:13; Williams Hfd (hooking), 18:15; Byers Hfd (roughing), 19:46.

2nd Period-1, Bridgeport, Mauldin 20 (Flood, Moore), 1:23 (pp). 2, Hartford, Locke 24 (Williams, Sanguinetti), 18:19 (pp). Penalties-Owens Hfd (high-sticking), 0:44; Williams Hfd (delay of game), 3:31; DiBenedetto Bri (hooking), 3:56; Couture Hfd (roughing, fighting), 7:06; Martin Bri (roughing, fighting), 7:06; Soryal Hfd (fighting), 8:27; Haley Bri (fighting), 8:27; Dupont Hfd (holding), 13:58; Byers Hfd (goaltender interference), 15:18; Martin Bri (slashing), 16:45.

3rd Period-3, Bridgeport, Witt 1 (Mauldin, Flood), 11:53. Penalties-Soryal Hfd (misconduct), 3:29; Morency Bri (misconduct), 3:29; Reich Bri (hooking), 11:27; Byers Hfd (tripping), 11:35; Bentivoglio Bri (holding), 16:03.

Shots on Goal-Hartford 3-10-9-22. Bridgeport 9-11-10-30.

Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 1 of 6; Bridgeport 1 of 8.

Goalies-Hartford, Zaba 6-9-1 (30 shots-28 saves). Bridgeport, Lawson 11-11-3 (22 shots-21 saves).

A-7,985

MEANWHILE DOWN IN CHARLOTTE

 

Charlotte Checkers     VERSUS       Toledo Walleye  

CHECKERS AVENGE FRIDAY’S LOSS WITH BLOWOUT OF THEIR OWN 

Schepke Records Second Hat Trick In 7-2 Triumph Over Gwinnett
The Charlotte Checkers followed up Friday’s lopsided loss to Toledo with a 7-2 blowout of their own over the Gwinnett Gladiators on Sunday afternoon.
Matt Schepke led the charge with his second hat trick of the season while Matt Stefanishion recorded four assists. Ryan Munce stopped 19 of 21 shots for some redemption after allowing seven goals to Toledo on Friday morning. Munce is now 6-3-1 since Miika Wiikman, the other half of the Checkers’ goaltending tandem, was called up to Hartford in late January.

With the win, the Checkers opened up a nine-point lead over the Gladiators in the South Division standings and pulled within one point of second-place Florida.

Kevin Schaeffer, who was returned to the team from Hartford (AHL) earlier in the day, opened the scoring for the Checkers with a one-timer in the slot off a pass from Stefanishion. The goal was Schaeffer’s second of the season and came at the 7:19 mark of the first period.

Shortly after the opening tally Munce made several key saves to keep the one-goal lead, including a beautiful kick save on a wraparound attempt by Gwinnett forward Tim Miller.

Charlotte would then take a two-goal lead, five minutes later, when Andrew Carroll, who was also returned from the Wolf Pack today, scored on a 2-on-1 with Michel Leveille. Leveille fed a pass through the Gwinnett defender and Carroll made no mistake, burying his team-leading 22nd of the season.

Early in the second frame, Schepke scored his first of three to give the Checkers a 3-0 advantage. On the odd-man rush, Stefanishion dished a pass to Schepke who beat Gwinnett goaltender David Brown low on the blocker side.

Charlotte then went ahead by four, just two and a half minutes later, when Tyler Doig beat Brown from the left point on the power play. Leveille and Julien Brouillette picked up assists on the goal.

Gwinnett forward Mike McLean was assessed a high-sticking penalty a minute after the goal by Doig and the Checkers went to the work on the power play once again. Doig took a pass from Brouillette and put a shot on net which was redirected by Carroll between the post and the arm of Brown for the 5-0 lead.

With less than five minutes to play in the period, Jean-Philipp Chabot centered a pass to Schepke who converted for his second of the game to put the Checkers up by six goals.

The Gladiators got on the board early in the third on the power play before Schepke completed the hat trick when he redirected a pass from Steve Ward to regain the six-goal lead.

Gwinnett scored a late goal but it wasn’t enough as the Checkers triumphed, 7-2, to get back in the win column and maintain sole possession of fifth place in the American Conference.

The Checkers (29-17-6) will embark on a three-game northern road trip before returning on Wednesday, Mar. 3. 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 59 35 15 4 5 79 207 181 3-0-0-0 5-4-0-1 819
2. Florida Everblades 56 28 19 4 5 65 180 169 2-0-1-0 5-2-2-1 1017
3. Charlotte Checkers 52 29 17 3 3 64 188 169 1-0-0-0 6-3-0-1 1082
4. Gwinnett Gladiators 53 25 23 3 2 55 183 291 0-2-0-0 6-4-0-0 852

 

NOTES:

* Charlotte is 8-1-1 in its last 10 home games…

* Matt Schepke has the Checkers’ only two hat tricks this season…

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

* T.J. Reynolds leads the ECHL with 213 penalty minutes and is second in overall plus-minus with a +23 rating…

* Derek Couture and Kenny Roche remain with Hartford (AHL), Ethan Graham is with Texas (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:

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

Brouillette – Schaeffer
Dowzak – Reynolds
Crane

Munce
Willerding

 

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

SCRATCHES:

Mike Berube – Healthy Scratch
Trevor Glass – Lower Body – Early March
Chris Snavely – Upper Body – 2-3 weeks
Chris Chappell – Shoulder Surgery – Season Over

 

THREE STARS:

1. CHR – M. Schepke

2. CHR – M. Stefanishion

3. GWT – M. Francis

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:

JM McNulty (21)

Linesmen:

Mathieu Chenier (71)

Ben Shiley (92)

 

NEXT GAME:

Another long respite for the Checkers. They are off until Friday night when they travel to Cincinnati to take on the Cyclones. They then will play back-back games in Kalamazoo again the Wings on Saturday and Sunday.

You’ll find in live in-game coverage 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 7 At Gwinnett Gladiators 2 – Status: Final

Feb 21, 2010 – The Arena at Gwinnett Center

Charlotte 2 4 1 – 7

Gwinnett 0 0 2 – 2

1st Period-1, Charlotte, Schaeffer 1 (Stefanishion), 7:19. 2, Charlotte, Carroll 1 (Leveille), 12:28. Penalties-Roberts Gwt (boarding), 3:46.

2nd Period-3, Charlotte, Schepke 17 (Stefanishion), 4:55. 4, Charlotte, Doig 15 (Brouillette, Leveille), 7:33 (pp). 5, Charlotte, Carroll 2 (Doig, Brouillette), 9:52 (pp). 6, Charlotte, Schepke 18 (Chabot, Stefanishion), 15:47. Penalties-Reynolds Chr (tripping), 1:27; Filangieri Gwt (slashing ), 7:02; McLean Gwt (high-sticking), 9:35.

3rd Period-7, Gwinnett, Francis 7 (Lawrence, Denny), 2:25 (pp). 8, Charlotte, Schepke 19 (Ward, Stefanishion), 6:57. 9, Gwinnett, Francis 8 (Denny, McLean), 14:08 (pp). Penalties-Reynolds Chr (slashing ), 2:20; Slattengren Chr (tripping), 11:38; Crane Chr (high-sticking), 13:23.

Shots on Goal-Charlotte 9-9-3-21. Gwinnett 9-5-12-26.

Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 2 of 3; Gwinnett 2 of 4.

Goalies-Charlotte, Munce 14-11-1-1 (26 shots-24 saves). Gwinnett, Brown 8-11-2-0 (18 shots-12 saves); Taylor 14-11-1-2 (3 shots-2 saves).

A-4,571