The Hartford Wolf Pack overcame two Binghamton Senator leads and a referee that, based upon the way he was calling the game, seemed more “Lost” than the cast of the recently ended ABC hit series, and went on to win 3-2 in overtime on a spectacular shot by the team’s top scorer, Justin Williams.
In overtime, 11 seconds after the Wolf Pack killed off the remaining seconds of a Senator power play from late in the third period, ex-Wolf Pack center, Corey Locke took a holding call on Devin DiDiomete.
Head Coach Ken Gernander sent out his strongest offensive weapons Mats Zuccarello, Wade Redden, Dale Weise and Williams for the four-on-three power play. The offensive unit passed the puck cleanly around the perimeter. Zuccarello was on the right wing half boards and fed the puck back to Redden. As he’s done for 13 years, Redden slid the puck to the left side of the high slot where Williams one-timed a blast right past Senators goaltender Barry Brust (40 saves, 7-7-1).
The Wolf Pack were killing off the remainder of a penalty that came off a controversial play that came in the closing moments of the third period.
Tim Kennedy was chasing hard after a puck in the Senators zone. Defenseman Derek Smith was ahead of Kennedy in the race to the puck. Kennedy went to hit Smith and had him lined up properly for a shoulder-to-shoulder hit, but Smith turned his back to Kennedy at the last moment and the Pack center could not turn away and ran Smith hard into the boards. Referee Chris Brown initially didn’t call anything but when Smith stayed on the ice, up went the hand. As the play continued out from behind the net, Brust came out of the net and as Kennedy turned back, the Senator’s goaltender sucker punched him with both hands…still in their respective gloves mind you…right in the face sending Kennedy to the ice. Kennedy got up and he and Brust and the other players on the ice wrestled in the corner. Brown called Kennedy for Boarding but he also called him for Unsportsmanlike Conduct and Brust received just a two minute Roughing call. This gave the Senators their fifth power play with just 1:32 left in regulation.
The Wolf Pack had a golden opportunity midway through the first period to establish a lead after Jim O’Brien was tagged with a Boarding call to Kelsey Tessier at 10:59 and then 23 seconds later defenseman Andre Benoit flipped the puck into the crown for a Delay of Game call that gave the Wolf Pack a 1:37 five-on-three power play. While they did take a few shots on goal with the two man advantage they were unable to make a real threat to Brust as the Senator penalty killers rose to the occasion and shut them down.
1:18 after the penalties were over Binghamton pressed the play in the Wolf Pack end and Hartford just could not get control of the puck. Goaltender Chad Johnson (28 saves, 5-10-1) made two stellar stops back-to-back that dragged him down on the left side of the crease. Roman Wick took the loose puck and fed on the left side to Erik Condra, who’s goal in Hartford on October 22nd was the difference in a 1-0 Binghamton victory in the first meeting this season between the two clubs. Condra didn’t hesitate and fired the puck back into the empty net for a 1-0 lead at 14:40.
Despite outshooting their opponents 14-10 in the opening frame, the Wolf Pack found themselves down a goal entering the first intermission.
To start the second period, both goaltenders made impressive saves to keep the score where it was. Ryan Keller was stoned by Johnson very early on only to be matched by Brust denying Zuccarello on a wraparound try.
Williams made perhaps the best defensive play of the contest when Pavel Valentenko fell down along the right wing boards and lost the puck creating a two-on-one odd man rush back the other way. Williams zipped up the ice and knocked the puck away from Keller who was about to shoot the puck.
At 6:22 a Ryan Garlock charging penalty resulted in a scrum that saw DiDiomete and Colin Greening sent to the penalty box giving the Senators their second power play. At 7:09, Keller was issued a double minor High-Sticking call erasing the Senator power play and after a 1:14 of four-on-four gave the Pack their third power play of the contest.
With just four seconds remaining in the Wolf Pack man-advantage, Weise, in only his second game back after missing 15 games from wrist surgery, showed why he is likely the New York Rangers top prospect. A Kennedy shot put the puck in the crease. Weise went after it and was slammed from behind in the back by defenseman Geoff Kinrade and had his partner, Derek Smith, laying on top of him. But Weise still managed to poke the puck past Brust to knot the score at 9:05 of the second. Zuccarello also received an assist on the play.
In a wild scrum around the bench, Cody Bass began to exchange punches with Pack defenseman Lee Baldwin. Baldwin then tackled Bass and the two went down to the ice and were pulled apart by the linesman. Brown then gave Binghamton a full two-minute five-on-three as he for some reason tagged Chad Kolarik with an Unsportsmanlike Conduct call and gave Baldwin and Bass five minutes each for fighting but also gifted Baldwin for some reason with an extra roughing call.
It didn’t take long for the Senators to regain the lead.
33 seconds into the two-man advantage, Locke had the puck low on the right wing goal line. Locke’s pass just eluded the outstretched leg of Redden and found Keller on the left side. Johnson could not get back over quick enough and Keller had his 8th of the year.
With just four seconds left in the period, Brown, perhaps feeling a touch of guilt over his horrible call that gave Binghamton the lead, called Kinrade for interference and gave the Pack their fifth power play to start the third period.
Shots were 11-10 in Hartford’s favor in the second and 25-20 overall as the two teams went tot heir respective locker rooms.
The Pack began the third period and had a lot more jump then they have in the past. They came out gunning to knot the score. They almost did right away but Williams was unable to convert his golden opportunity from the slot on their power play as his shot went high over the net.
DiDiomete also had a great chance when he got loose with the puck low but was stopped with a top notch save by Brust.
At 7:50, Eric Gryba wasn’t using his head when he and Kris Newbury were poking at each other behind the net and it spilled out in front of the net. Brown was right there and caught Gryba cross checking Newbury and knocking him to the ice.
On the resulting power play Redden picked up his second assist of the game against the AHL affiliate of the team he spent 11-seasons with, when he fed Weise the puck. Weise in turn found Kennedy down low on the right wing side. Kennedy then charged the net unabated and Brust made the initial stop but the puck just trickled between his legs and into the back of the net. The goal was Kennedy’s third.
The Wolf Pack spent the better part of the third frame in the Senator’s zone and fired shots but Brust rose to the occasion and denied them.
Zuccarello had a great chance at 16:10 but was denied.
A few moments later one of the scariest moments in hockey as a puck hit a stick and redirected up and hit Kolarik in the face under the face mask. Blood poured profusely on the ice. Wolf Pack Trainer Damien Hess rushed out on to the ice to help Kolarik. They went to the locker room and Kolarik did not return.
With the win, the Wolf Pack put together back-to-back wins for only the second time in the season. The first time came when they beat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (2-1) and the Providence Bruins (3-0) back on October 16th and 17th. Following the first pair of wins, the team went on horrific tailspin that saw them post a 1-9-2-1 record that dropped them to last place in the Atlantic Division. Saturday’s win, combined with the Sound Tiger’s 1-0 loss to the Manchester Monarchs moved the Wolf Pack out of the Atlantic Division cellar and into sixth place.
Hartford hasn’t won when trailing entering the third period since doing it in back-to-back games at home late last season. They first knocked off Providence on March 21, 2010 after entering the third period down 1-2 and won in OT on a P.A. Parenteau goal 4-3. They then did it again in the very next game. The Adirondack Phantoms visited the XL Center on March 26th and took a 2-1 lead into the third period. A Dane Byers goal midway through the third and the Wolf Pack went on to win in a shootout 3-2. Ilkka Heikkinen had the only goal in the shootout as he beat Phantom goaltender Carter Hutton for the game winner.
Bob Crawford called the game and wrote up the story for CTWhale.com. Meanwhile for the Binghamton point-of-view, Joy Lindsay reports at PressConnects.com.
GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET
Here’s Brust’s hit on Kennedy:
* Past Wolf Pack connections are tough guy Francis Lessard (Out with a shoulder injury) and diminutive forward Corey Locke.
* The Wolf Pack announced before the game that radio listeners throughout the State of Connecticut will be treated to a Connecticut Whale “Radio Roadblock”, featuring the Whale’s iconic “Brass Bonanza”, at 8:25 AM this Monday, November 22. This media “greenout” is in celebration of the return of The Whale to Connecticut Saturday, November 27, when the newly-rebranded team takes on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the XL Center at 7:00 PM, and Sunday, November 28, when the Adirondack Phantoms and former Wolf Pack head coach, and AHL Hall of Famer, John Paddock visit the XL Center for a 5:00 game. The voiceover talent for the Radio Roadblock is also memorable—legendary Whalers radio play-by-play man Chuck Kaiton. Connecticut hockey fans are encouraged to set their watches to 8:25 AM on Monday, and tune into one of the following participating radio stations: WDRC-FM, WHCN-FM, WKSS-FM, WMRQ-FM, ESPN Radio 1410 WPOP-AM, ESPN Radio 1300 WAVZ-AM, WWYZ-FM, WELI-AM, WKCI-FM, WPLR-FM, WCCC-FM, WTIC Newstalk 1080, 96.5 TIC FM and LITE 100.5 FM.
* Binghamton is one of the five teams that currently are drawing less attendance than the Wolf Pack. Hartford is averaging 3,466 and Binghamton is at 3,259.
* Chad Johnson leads the AHL in minutes played with 932.
* The Wolf Pack had a record of 0-9-0-1 when trailing after two periods entering this game. They are now 1-4-0-0 on the road when trailing after two.
* They are now 4-5-2-1 when outshooting their opponents and 2-5-0-1 when being outshot.
* The team now improves to 2-5-2-2 in one-goal games.
* The 43 shots on goal were the most by the Wolf Pack this season.
* Multi-point nights for Weise (1g- 1a), Kennedy (1g, 1a) Redden (2a) and Zuccarello (2a)
* Interestingly, despite winning the game, the Pack did not have a plus player on the night, but Newbury, McDonagh, Kolarik, Kundratek and Grachev were all minuses. The reason, four of the five goals scored in the game were on the power play.
* The Wolf Pack win was also their first in OT this season. They now have a 1-2-2 record in extra time.
* The Pack hit the .500 mark on the road with the win. Their record is 4-4-0-1.
* Williams is the Pack’s leading goal scorer with 11 as well as their leader in overall points with 17 and has five goals in his last four games and seven in his last six.
* Hartford is 2-0 since Weise returned from injury.
Grachev – Newbury – J. Williams
Zuccarello – Kennedy – Weise
DiDiomete – Tessier – Kolarik
Soryal – Garlock
Redden – Nightingale
Valentenko – Niemi
McDonagh – Kundratek
(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)
Brodie Dupont – Leg Laceration – Day-to-Day
Tyler Donati – Healthy Scratch
Nigel Williams – Healthy Scratch
Chris McKelvie – Healthy Scratch
1. HFD – T. Kennedy
2. HFD – J. Williams
3. BNG – B. Brust
ON ICE OFFICIALS:
Chris Brown (86)
Jim Harper (59)
Tim Kotyra (53)
The Wolf Pack head on down the highway to Hershey for an early evening (5pm) matchup with the Bears. The Wolf Pack’s last visit to Hershey was one they would rather forget as they got soundly trounced 9-2 on December 6, 2009. The Wolf Pack will then be off until next Friday night when they travel to Bridgeport to play their last game as the Hartford Wolf Pack before being rebranded the next day as the Connecticut Whale. Bob Crawford will have the pregame at 4:30pm.
To watch the game live, you can purchased it for $6.99 at AHL-live.
For Ticket information call (860) 548-2000.
Too far away or can’t make it? Listen live at WTIC.com or from your cell phone or computer visit www.twitter.com/howlingstoday for complete live in-game coverage.
Hartford Wolf Pack 3 (OT) at Binghamton Senators 2 – Status: Final OT
Saturday, November 20, 2010 – Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena
Hartford 0 1 1 1 – 3
Binghamton 1 1 0 0 – 2
1st Period-1, Binghamton, Condra 6 (Wick, O’Brien), 14:40. Penalties-Kennedy Hfd (interference), 7:25; O’Brien Bng (boarding), 10:59; Benoit Bng (delay of game), 11:22.
2nd Period-2, Hartford, Weise 2 (Kennedy, Zuccarello), 9:05 (PP). 3, Binghamton, Keller 8 (Locke, Butler), 14:44 (PP). Penalties-DiDiomete Hfd (roughing), 6:22; Garlock Hfd (charging), 6:22; Greening Bng (roughing), 6:22; Keller Bng (double minor – high-sticking), 7:09; Baldwin Hfd (roughing, fighting), 14:11; Kolarik Hfd (unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:11; Bass Bng (fighting), 14:11; Kinrade Bng (interference), 19:56.
3rd Period-4, Hartford, Kennedy 3 (Weise, Redden), 8:08 (PP). Penalties-Gryba Bng (cross-checking), 7:50; Kennedy Hfd (boarding, unsportsmanlike conduct), 18:28; Brust Bng (roughing), 18:28.
OT Period-5, Hartford, Williams 11 (Zuccarello, Redden), 1:03 (PP). Penalties-Locke Bng (holding), 0:39.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 14-11-17-1-43. Binghamton 10-10-8-2-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 3 / 7; Binghamton 1 / 5.
Goalies-Hartford, Johnson 5-10-1 (30 shots-28 saves). Binghamton, Brust 7-7-1 (43 shots-40 saves).
Referees-Chris Brown (86).
Linesmen-Jim Harper (59), Tim Kotyra (53).