The Wolf Pack made it a perfect 3 games in 3 nights road trip tonight with a 3-1 win over the Hershey Bears — the team that jumped out to a 4-0 1st period lead on them at home just 9 days ago before holding on for the 5-4 win.
For the third game straight, the Pack got off to a good start, getting a number of scoring opportunities early and drawing a power play opportunity just 2:27 into the game. They were unable to convert, and Hershey eventually began to even out the play. At around the halfway point of the period, Hershey’s Louis Robitaille, the AHL’s leader in penalty minutes, had a shift on which he took big runs at two different Pack defenseman (Sauer and Pock) deep in the Pack zone, energizing both his team and the crowd. But on his next shift, Robitaille was challenged by rookie Brodie Dupont near center ice, and accepted. The two exchanged a few quick punches each, but as Robitaille tried to switch hands Dupont caught him with a hard left that sent him down to the ice. Dupont’s win helped stem the Hershey tide, and a minute and a half later the Pack went on the power play. Through the first two periods Gernander used two different units specifically for the power play: the first had Callahan centering Byers and Parenteau, and the second with Anisimov centering Korpikoski and Jessiman. It was that unit that cashed in when Jessiman got the puck along the left side goal line and skated it out in front for a quick shot that Bears goalie Frederic Cassivi was able to stop. But he couldn’t control the rebound, and both Anismov and Korpikoski were right on the doorstep to put it home. Korpikoski got credited with the goal, his second in as many nights. The Pack would finish the period with the 1-0 lead and a 14-9 advantage in shots.
Hershey got on the board just over 4 minutes into the 2nd when Andrew Gordon got the puck on the goal line and skated out towards the front of the net. Pock flopped to the ice to try to prevent a pass, but allowed Gordon to walk right out between him and the net and catch Wiikman moving as he cut across the crease untouched. The remainder of the second period was a fairly even affair, with teams trading chances and both goalies needing to come up with big saves. The period ended with the teams still tied 1-1 and the Pack with a slight advantage in shots (11-9) for the period.
The Pack got an early 5-on-3 to start the 3rd when Chris Bourque (son of Ray) took a hooking penalty and Joe Motzko got 2 of his own for unsportsmanlike conduct when he argued it. However, the Pack’s first unit of Byers – Callahan – Parenteau with Pock and Hutchinson never really threatened through the 1:50 they were on the ice before Callahan took a hooking penalty. The Pack killed off the ensuing power play. Jessiman was called for slashing at the 7:05 mark, just as the Pack were beginning to regain some of their momentum. The Pack would kill it off (in fact, the PK was perfect on the night) and get a power play of their own 33 seconds later. This time, Gernander opted to roll his regular top lines on the power play, and it paid off. The unit of Byers – Anisimov – Callahan, along with Pock and Hutchinson on the points moved the puck around the Hershey zone beautifully before Anisimov ended up with in on the right faceoff dot and fired a hard snap shot through a screen of Callahan and Byers and right past Cassivi. It would hold up as the game winner.
Wiikman would be forced to make a number of tough saves through the remainder of the game, and the Pack would be forced to kill off one more penalty at the 15:10 mark when Sauer took a hooking penalty, but they showed poise holding the lead. Byers iced it with an unassisted empty net goal with 21.1 seconds to go. The Pack would finish the game outshooting the Bears 36-23.
- With the win, Wiikman improved his record to 8-3-1.
- Hutchinson has points in 4 straight games, but looked shaky in his own zone tonight.
- Sauer also struggled. The penalty he took resulted when he was beaten to the outside coming into the Pack zone. Anisimov got back and kept the Hershey player to the outside, but he was able to get a pass through and Sauer had to hook the recipient to prevent a good scoring chance. That’s the third time I can remember him getting beaten to the outside this weekend.
- The Pack were 5-for-5 on the penalty and 2-for-6 on the power play
- Jessiman returned after missing last night’s game with an “undisclosed” injury
- Bourret missed the game with an undisclosed injury, apparently the result of his fight last night
1. Korpikoski (9) (Jessiman, Baranka) 15:51 (PP)
3. Anisimov (7) (Hutchinson, Callahan) 11:14 (PP)
3. Byers (7) 19:38
Byers – Anisimov – Callahan
Dupont – Pyatt – Parenteau
Koprikoski – Ouellette – Jessiman
Graham – Owens
Baranka – Taylor
Potter – Hutchinson
Pock – Sauer
1. Artem Anisimov
2. Lauri Korpikoski
3. Frederic Cassivi
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