Tag Archives: Nigel Williams

SPOTLIGHT: BICKEL STU – A RANGER SPECIALTY

Bruce BerletBY: Bruce Berlet

When it comes to feel-good stories in the NHL this season, you’d be hard-pressed to find one better than New York Rangers defenseman Stu Bickel, who began the season playing on Asylum Street in Hartford.

Though Bickel will never be confused with elusive Hall of Famers Bobby Orr or Cheshire-bred Brian Leetch, he has proven to be one of the NHL’s all-time steals since being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 23, 2010 for disgruntled Hartford Wolf Pack defenseman Nigel Williams.

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FROM THE CREASE with Bruce Berlet

bruce mug shot 1By Bruce Berlet

With their top four centers missing and their leading scorer and No. 1 offensive defenseman injured before the game was 25 minutes old, the Connecticut Whale desperately needed help from new sources Wednesday night against the Springfield Falcons.

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FROM THE CREASE with Bruce Berlet

bruce mug shot 1By Bruce Berlet

CROMWELL, CT. – As Jeremy Williams lay motionless on the XL Center ice for what seemed an eternity Wednesday night, the Connecticut Whale’s All-Star right wing had flashbacks to 11 years ago and a car accident in his tiny hometown of Glenavon, Saskatchewan.

In that mishap, Williams broke the C6 vertebrae in his neck, which was severely jarred when he was hit in the head from behind by the shoulder of Springfield Falcons’ wing Kyle Neuber as he tried to escape an entanglement with Steven Goertzen while in a vulnerable position in the corner.

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WINNING!!!

Connecticut-Whale_thumb4_thumb_thumb VERSUS Springfield

Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

The Connecticut Whale looked like they had given away a standings point to the visiting Springfield Falcons after surrendering a Tomas Kubalik game-tying, power play goal with  just 41.7 left in regulation.

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RANGERS/WOLF PACK/WHALE ACQUIRE DEFENSEMAN STU BICKEL

Connecticut WhaleHartford Wolf Pack CT LotteryThe Wolf Pack today eliminated one player that CLEARLY didn’t want to be there and was playing that way. The New York Rangers sent Nigel Williams to the Anaheim Ducks fir defenseman Stu Bickel.

What does this say about Williams, a former second round pick for a guy who has been up and down between the AHL and the ECHL who really hasn’t done much? I think it says that the team was looking for addition by subtraction and that’s exactly what they accomplished. Williams has been scratched the past several games even with the Pack running with seven defenseman. Bickel is likely to be given a good look, but will likely be a depth defenseman. Either he or Lee Baldwin will likely head out to Greenville to play with the Road Warriors.

Here’s the official release:

New York sends defenseman Nigel Williams to Anaheim

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has acquired defenseman Stu Bickel from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for defenseman Nigel Williams.

Bickel, 24, has registered three assists and 14 penalty minutes in six games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League (AHL) this season.  He currently ranks third among team defensemen in penalty minutes.  Bickel has recorded an assist in each of his last two games, on November 20 vs. Springfield and November 21 at Rochester.  Prior to joining the Crunch, Bickel skated in one ECHL game with the Elmira Jackals.

The 6-4, 218-pounder has skated in 63 career AHL contests with the Iowa Chops, San Antonio Rampage and Syracuse Crunch, registering two goals and six assists for eight points, along with 103 penalty minutes.  Bickel recorded two goals and four points last season with San Antonio, and tallied his first career AHL goal on January 23, 2010 vs. Milwaukee.  Bickel made his professional debut with Iowa on October 10, 2008, vs. Peoria, and registered his first career point with an assist on February 16, 2009, vs. Lake Erie.  Bickel has also skated in 25 career ECHL games with the Bakersfield Condors and Elmira Jackals, registering one goal and 12 assists for 13 points, along with 50 penalty minutes and a plus-14 rating.

Prior to turning professional, Bickel appeared in 45 career games in one season with the University of Minnesota Gophers of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), registering one goal and six assists for seven points, along with a team-high, 92 penalty minutes.  Helped lead Minnesota to the NCAA Regionals, where they were eliminated by the eventual champions, Boston College.  Bickel also recorded an assist on the Gophers’ only goal in the WCHA Final Five title game, a 2-1 loss vs. Denver.

The Chanhassen, Minnesota native was originally signed by Anaheim as an undrafted free agent on July 2, 2008.

Williams, 22, has registered one assist in 12 games with Hartford (AHL) this season.  The Aurora, Illinois native was originally Colorado’s second round choice, 51st overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.  He was acquired by the Rangers on July 16, 2009, from the Avalanche in exchange for Brian Fahey.

END OF THE PRESEASON

Hartford Wolf Pack CT Lottery      VERSUS     Worcester

By Bruce Berlet

In keeping with the theme of change surrounding the Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale franchise this season, captain Dane Byers decided on a new look, a shaved head.

Some stubble has begun to show, but one thing hasn’t changed: Byers still loves to play a physical game and go to the net.

The starting line of Byers, Kris Newbury and newcomer Jeremy Williams set a more aggressive tone than what the Wolf Pack showed against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Saturday night. In fact, Byers picked up a roughing penalty only 1:26 into the game, which was 13 seconds after Evgeny Grachev scored.

More importantly, Byers netted three goals, two off passes from Newbury, as the Wolf Pack beat the Worcester Sharks 5-2 in their preseason finale at Champions Skating Center.

“I was very satisfied because the guys played hard,” said Byers, who didn’t play Saturday night in a 5-4 loss to the Sound Tigers. “We were ‘in your face’ more, and after the first period, they didn’t seem to want anything to do with us. If we can do that for longer stretches this season, I think it’s going to help us.”

Grachev, expected to produce more in his second pro season after moving from wing to center, gave the Wolf Pack a 1-0 lead at 1:13 when Brodie Dupont forced a turnover to the lanky Russian, who one-timed the puck past Alex Stalock, whose 39 victories last season were one shy of the AHL rookie record for goaltenders.

But just 48 seconds later, Dan DaSilva tied it on a power play, poking James Macou’s rebound past Chad Johnson (29 saves).

Byers scored his first goal off the first of Newbury’s three assists at 3:59 of the second period, but the Sharks again retaliated quickly as Justin Braun one-timed a shot to the top corner 38 seconds later.

But Byers put the Wolf Pack ahead to stay, taking a pass from Nigel Williams and scoring on a breakaway with a minute left in the period. The secondary assist went to Jeremy Williams, who is no relation to Nigel and was an assistant captain with Newbury.

Byers completed his hat trick when he deflected in Newbury’s centering pass 1:18 into the third period. After the Sharks pulled Stalock (18 saves), Newbury made a classy move when he elected not to shoot into an empty net and passed to rookie Kelsey Tessier for the clinching goal with 1:33 left. Tessier, signed to an AHL contract this season after four years in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, earned plenty of plaudits in the preseason while playing all three forward positions, killing penalties and getting some time on the power play in all four games.

“I’ve put him in just about every position possible,” Gernander said of Tessier, who often killed penalties with former Quinnipiac University standout Brandon Wong. “Because he competes so well and has a pretty good head on his shoulders, he hasn’t let me down.”

Though youngsters such as Tessier, Wong, Marc-Olivier Vallerand and Bretton Cameron continued to make final roster cuts that much more difficult, Gernander was pleased the Wolf Pack atoned for an awful start Saturday night in which they allowed five goals in the first period. But other than that period, the Wolf Pack outscored the opposition 17-3 while winning three of four games heading into their 14th season opener Saturday night at 7 against the Charlotte Checkers, their former ECHL affiliate and one of the AHL’s two new teams.

“We asked for a better start than we had in Shelton (Saturday night), and obviously I think we started better,” Gernander said. “I think our competitive level was a lot closer to where it needs to be. They had a fairly substantial roster (all but three regulars), so there was legitimate AHLers across the way and I think a lot of guys played well.”

It was a much better feeling than Gernander had after a 9-2 loss to Worcester in the preseason finale last year. The Wolf Pack then failed to reach the playoffs for the first time, but Gernander has a different outlook this year.

“I’m obviously pretty optimistic,” Gernander said. “We added four pretty good players today, and then you throw (veteran defenseman) Wade Redden into the mix, we’re adding five guys to a team that played pretty well. I think we’ve elevated our skill level on defense and upfront, and as guys in their second and third years mature, that level of maturity should enhance our level of play.”

The crowd included Howard and Karen Baldwin, the leaders of Whalers Sports and Entertainment, which has taken over business operations of the Wolf Pack and is working to revitalize the local hockey market, rebrand the product and get another NHL team in Hartford. The Wolf Pack are expected to become the Connecticut Whaler around Thanksgiving.

Comings and Goings

The Rangers reassigned young defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko to Wolf Pack, along with forwards Dale Weise and Mats Zuccarello, who were recalled Saturday to play in Ottawa as the Rangers rested seven key players.

McDonagh and Valentenko were part of a trade that sent center Scott Gomez to the Montreal Canadiens on June 30, 2009. The 21-year-old McDonagh and center Derek Stepan, who made the Rangers, turned pro in July after helping the University of Wisconsin reach the NCAA title game. The 23-year-old Valentenko is a rugged Russian blueliner who played with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs in 2007-08, when he was named the team’s top rookie. On Oct. 30, 2008, it was reported Valentenko had defected from the Bulldogs and signed a three-year contract with Moscow Dynamo just days after he was given permission by the Bulldogs to go home to Russia for an indefinite period to deal with family issues. He played in only 19 games the last two seasons because of the family matters and shoulder surgery.

The Rangers had summoned Weise and Zuccarello as coach John Tortorella rested forwards Ryan Callahan, a former All-Star wing with the Wolf Pack, high-scoring Marian Gaborik, Sean Avery and Alexander Frolov against the Senators. Others who sat out were No. 1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist and the No. 1 defensive pairing of Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, both of whom played with the Wolf Pack.

Weise and Zuccarello also were recalled because forwards Vinny Prospal (knee) and captain/Trumbull native Chris Drury (broken left index finger) will start the season on injured reserve. Drury is expected to miss three or four games, while Prospal could be sidelined for several weeks.

Zuccarello, the leading scorer and MVP in the Swedish Elite League last season, got his first point on an NHL rink when he scored a third-period goal to tie it at 5. The Norwegian dynamo (5-foot-9, 170 pounds) had scored his first goal in North America in a 3-0 victory over the Albany Devils on Wednesday night. Weiss had an assist and lost a fight with Nick Foligno, son of Mike Foligno, who played 15 seasons in the NHL (1979-80 to 1993-94) and is now an assistant coach with the Anaheim Ducks.

“I felt better today than I had in the other games,” Zuccarello said after the game. “It’s nice to come back and let the big guns rest. … It’s been nice (in Hartford). It’s a great group of guys, and I like it so far. I think even though I did better today and got some offense, it’s good for me to get a little more confident on this (larger) ice (surface) and get to feel the hockey played here in (North America). Being (in Hartford) is no problem for. I’m ready to work hard.”

The Rangers still have 25 players in camp, but Drury and Prospal being on IR puts them at the limit. Among those still on the roster are former Wolf Pack defenseman Michael Sauer, who missed out on possibly playing in the NHL for at least part of the last two seasons because of knee and shoulder injuries that sidelined him for long stretches. He also had to clear waivers to get to Hartford, and Rangers officials were afraid that he might be claimed. McDonagh and Valentenko did not have to clear waivers but could end up back with the Rangers if the parent team makes a trade for the season opener Saturday night in Buffalo.

While four players arrived from the Rangers, four left town. Defenseman Steve Black was released from his tryout contract, and goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris and forwards Mark Voakes and Brendan Connolly were assigned to the Greenville Road Warriors, who had signed the trio to ECHL contracts but allowed them to try to earn AHL deals with the Wolf Pack.

The Wolf Pack still have 29 players (two goaltenders, 11 defenseman and 16 forwards, including Devin DiDiomete, out for another month after major hip surgery) but are likely to keep seven defensemen and 13 or 14 forwards, depending on what the Rangers do.

The inflated numbers will remain at least through the next practice Tuesday, but some bodies are almost certain to leave after that since Greenville opens training camp Wednesday.

But Gernander likes his current situation much more than the past.

“I don’t know exactly what we’re going to do until the Rangers decide what they’re going to do,” Gernander said. “But I’m comfortable with what we’ve got here right now, and it’s nice to have so many good players that we have to pare down rather than just cut guys. One area where we’ll be better than we were last year is character, competitiveness and tenacity. At the core, we’re trying to develop something as our identity.”

Wolf Pack 5, Sharks 2

Worcester 1 1 0 — 2
Hartford 1 2 2 — 5
First period: 1. Hartford, Grachev 2, 1:13. 2. Worcester, DaSilva 1 (Marcou, Mashinter), 2:01 (pp). Penalties: Byers, Hfd (roughing), 1:26; Mashinter, Wor (roughing), 3:32; Hunt Wor (unsportsmanlike conduct), 9:11; Grachev, Hfd (roughing), 14:57.
Second period: 3. Hartford, Byers 1 (Newbury, Tessier), 3:59. 4. Worcester, Braun 1 (Zalewski), 4:37. 5. Hartford, Byers 2 (N. Williams, J. Williams), 19:00. Penalties: Petrecki, Wor (interference), 12:10; Stalock, Wor (high-sticking), 13:42; Baldwin, Hfd (hooking), 16:06; Braun, Wor (holding), 19:11.
Third period: 6. Hartford, Byers 3 (Newbury, N. Williams), 1:18. 7. Hartford, Tessier 2 (Newbury, Klassen), 18:27. Penalties: Wong, Hfd (hooking), 3:57; Leach, Wor (hooking), 13:36.

Shots on goal: Worcester 14-11-6–31. Hartford 7-11-5–23; Power-play opportunities: Worcester 1 of 4; Hartford 0 of 6; Goalies: Worcester, Stalock 0-1-0 (23 shots-18 saves). Hartford, Johnson 2-0-0 (31-29). Referee: Mark Lemelin. Linesmen: David Spannaus, Luke Galvin.

THE TOUGH GET GOING! LITERALLY…

New York R The New York Rangers have recalled not one, but two key Wolf Pack players that won’t be in the Hartford lineup tonight in a must win game against the Adirondack Phantoms. With three games in three nights and the season on the line, if they’re not going to have those two in the line-up it’s going to take a 1980 US Olympic Hockey-type miracle for them to overcome this. Both P.A. Parenteau and Anders Eriksson have been recalled by the Rangers.

This means that Ryan Callahan is definitely going to be out after reinjuring his leg last night against the New Jersey Devils. Anders Eriksson on defense however is a bit puzzling. It didn’t appear as if a Ranger defenseman was hurt, but that could be because they just didn’t say. We’ve put feelers out there to see if we could find out who it might be.

Meanwhile in Hartford expect Andres Ambϋhl is take Parenteau’s spot in the lineup. On defense, there’s no imminent recall from Charlotte (Dave Urquhart) so perhaps Nigel Williams is now healthy enough to play. Or maybe the plan is to go with recent signee, rookie Lee Baldwin.

If you watched last night’s contest between the Rangers and New Jersey Devils, after the game Head Coach John Tortorella made a big point of not wanting to play guys he wasn’t comfortable with defensively. Matt Gilroy only played 10:05 and his defense has been suspect all year long so in all likelihood Gilroy will sit and the veteran Eriksson will play.

The Wolf Pack already have their backs up against the wall and would likely need to run the table in order to get into the race for the Calder Cup. Without Parnteau and Eriksson, the odds of that just got a whole lot longer. So as the old saying goes, when the going get’s tough, the Wolf Pack, better get going!

Here’s the official release:

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that forward P.A. Parenteau and defenseman Anders Eriksson have been recalled from the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL).

Parenteau, 27, notched two goals, including the overtime game-winner, in a 4-3 win vs. Providence on Sunday, and has registered nine points (four goals and five assists) in six games since returning from injury on March 10 at Worcester.  He has recorded 20 goals and 25 assists for 45 points, along with 63 penalty minutes and a plus-15 rating in 35 games with Hartford this season.  He leads the Wolf Pack in plus/minus rating, ranks second in points, third in goals and fifth in assists.  He is also tied for second on the team with eight power play goals on the season.  Parenteau has recorded 15 multi-point performances and five games with three-or-more points, including two hat tricks on February 28 at Lowell and October 10 vs. Springfield.  He posted a season-high eight-game point streak from October 23 at Adirondack to December 18 vs. Toronto, registering 15 points (six goals and nine assists) over the span.  In addition, Parenteau has skated in 14 games with the Rangers this season, registering one goal and four points.  He tallied his first career NHL goal in his Rangers debut on October 28 at the NY Islanders, and recorded his first NHL multi-point performance with two assists on November 23 against Columbus.  Last season, Parenteau finished ninth in the AHL in points with 29 goals and 78 points, and was named a First-Team AHL All-Star.

The Hull, Quebec native was acquired by the Rangers from the Chicago Blackhawks on October 11, 2007, in exchange for a conditional draft pick.  He was originally Anaheim’s ninth round selection, 264th overall, in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.

Eriksson, 35, has registered three assists in eight games with Hartford since being acquired by the Rangers on March 3 from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for goaltender Miika Wiikman and a seventh round selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.  He has appeared in 18 AHL games with the San Antonio Rampage and Hartford this season, registering one goal and six assists, along with six penalty minutes and a plus-two rating.  In addition, he has registered three assists in 12 games with Phoenix this season, after signing with the Coyotes as an unrestricted free agent on December 21.  He tallied three assists and a plus-two rating in his first seven games with Phoenix, from December 21 vs. Columbus to January 5 at Edmonton.

The Bollnas, Sweden native was originally Detroit’s first round selection, 22nd overall, in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft.

The Blueshirts return to action tomorrow, March 27, when they will face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre (7:00 p.m.), in an Original Six matchup.  Prior to the game, the Rangers morning skate is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at Air Canada Centre.  This will be the third of four meetings with the Maple Leafs this season, and the second at Toronto.  The Rangers own a 2-0-0 record vs. the Maple Leafs this season, having out-scored Toronto, 11-3, in the two contests.  The Blueshirts’ power play has tallied three goals in 10 attempts (30.0%), while the penalty kill has surrendered one goal in 10 chances (90.0%).  The game will be televised live on MSG Network and can be heard on 1050 ESPN Radio.

“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

PACK TIE TEAM RECORD…FOR LOSING

Hartford Wolf Pack puck      VERSUS     Bridgeport Sound Tigers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Pack would have their chances.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

 

STANDINGS

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

  

SCOREBOARD:

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

 

NOTES:

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

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

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

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

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

 

LINES:

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

Heikkinen – Sanguinetti
Williams – Nightingale
Urquhart – Potter

Johnson
Wiikman

 

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

 

SCRATCHES:

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

 

THREE STARS:

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

 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Ian Croft (87)

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

 

NEXT GAME:

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

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

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

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

 

SCORE-SHEET:

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

Feb 19, 2010 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Bridgeport 0 2 2 – 4

Hartford 0 1 1 – 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

A-4,154

BRUTAL

Hartford Wolf Pack puck VERSUS Portland Pirates

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

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

Then things got nothing short of weird.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

STANDINGS

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

NOTES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

LINES:

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

Urquhart – Potter
Heikkinen – Schaeffer
Williams – Nightingale

Johnson
Wiikman

 

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)

SCRATCHES:

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

THREE STARS:

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

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Zac Wiebe (89)

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

 

NEXT GAME:

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

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

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

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

SCORE-SHEET:

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

Feb 15, 2010 – Cumberland County Civic Center

Hartford 0 2 2 – 4

Portland 3 4 0 – 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

A-4,433