The Pack completed their domination of the Norfolk Admirals tonight with a 6-2 win at home, going 4-0 in the season series. But the win could prove costly, as both Alex Bourret and Dane Byers left the game with unspecified injuries.
Both teams started somewhat tentatively, with neither side getting a shot through the first four minutes of the game. But once the Pack broke though and got their first, they poured it on with 8 straight shots over the next two minutes, culminating with the 8th finding the back of the net. Andrew Hutchinson, on his way to a 5-point night, kept the puck in at the left point and passed it down to Dane Byers at the top of the circle, who touched a nice backhand pass to P.A. Parenteau, who broke in alone from the hash marks and deked Norfolk goalie Marc Denis, beating him high to the stick side. Hugh Jessiman drew a Norfolk penalty on the next shift, sending the Pack on their first power play of the night. Once again Parenteau and Hutchinson connected when Parenteau fed one of his trademark cross-ice passes through to Hutchinson who was breaking in from the point on the weak side just a minute and 29 seconds after the Pack’s first goal. The Pack continued to carry play through the rest of the period, but Norfolk managed to close the gap to one with just 37 seconds to go in the period when Denis made a glove save and charged out to the hash marks and dropped the puck off to Blair Jones, who broke into the Pack zone on a 2-on-1 and fired a quick wrist shot past Pack starting goalie Miika Wiikman from the top of the right circle. The Pack finished the period with a 15-4 advantage in shots.
The second period continued much the same as the first. At the 3:10 mark newly-acquired forward Josh Gratton made his first contribution to his new team with a 2-minute boarding penalty, which the Pack were able to kill off. As soon as he returned to the ice he challenged Norfolk’s 6′6″, 238lb heavyweight David Koci to a fight. Gratton hung in well enough, and got a few good shots off, but was the definite loser of the bout. On the next shift Parenteau drew an interference penalty on Norfolk defenseman Matt Smaby. A minute and a half later Artem Anisimov made it 3-1 when he took a pass from Hutchinson at the top of the right circle and fired a hard snap shot past an unsuspecting Denis, who was being screened by Brodie Dupont. Dupont had replaced Alex Bourret on Anisimov’s line earlier in the power play, after Bourret left the ice as the result of some kind of injury. Pack play-by-play man Bob Crawford mentioned he’s been struggling with a groin problem, and speculated that could have been the reason. Dane Byers also left the game early in the second, though he returned briefly in the 3rd to test whatever it was that was bothering him, but was unable to continue.
The Pack continued to apply pressure and at 15:42 drew a hooking penalty on Vladimir Mihalik. Just 29 seconds later Hugh Jessiman drew a penalty off Koci when he refused to retaliate for the hard, high shot Koci gave him for digging for a rebound in the crease. It took the Pack only 25 seconds to convert on the 5-on-3 after Parenteau and Laurie Korpikoski, taking Byers spot on the top line, swapped a few passes across the crease before Korpikoski was able to get off the one-timer from just off the right post. It was the Pack’s 3rd of 4 power play goals in the game. That would be it for the scoring for the period, in which the Pack enjoyed a 12-7 edge in shots.
I missed the first 10 minutes of the 3rd period, during which Greg Moore picked up his 21st of the season, on the power play, at 6:06, and Admirals forward Rob Klinkhammer put Norfolk on the board for a second time just 36 seconds later. At 14:52 Korpikoski got his 2nd of the game, and 5th in the past 3 games, off a hard wrist shot from the top of the right circle that beat Denis cleanly. On the next shift, Dupont dropped the gloves with Klinkhammer, with Dupont scoring the rare win over the inexperienced Klinkhammer at 15:19. With just 1:03 to go Koci and Anisimov would swap penalties after Koci cross-checked Anisimov in front of the net and Anisimov retaliated with a slash, and the two players traded shoves before Jessiman stepped between them, playing peacemaker and making sure Koci knew he’d get nowhere trying to pick a fight with the 19 year old rookie. The teams finished the game 4-on-4, with the Pack ending up with a 14-7 advantage in shots for the period, and a 41-18 advantage or the game.
Next up, the 5th place Manchester Monarchs, at home tomorrow night, in what will be newly-acquired goaltender David LeNevue’s first start for the Wolf Pack.
- With Bourret out, Dupont took his spot on the 2nd line with Anisimov and Jessiman. Korpikoski took Byer’s spot on the 1st with Moore and Parenteau. Ouellette and Owens skated as a third line with rotating wingers. Gratton didn’t see much ice time following his 2nd period fight with Koci.
- Hutchinson’s 5-point game gives him 52 points in 52 games, and a 7 point lead on the 2nd highest scoring defenseman in the league. Tomas Pock’s scoring record for Pack defensemen, 61 points, looks well within reach with 20 games remaining.
- Corey Potter (+26), Greg Moore (+23), Andrew Hutchinson (+21) and Dane Byers (+20) are all within the top 8 players in the AHL in +/-.
- Hutchinson has 14 points (6+8) in his last 7 games. Parenteau has 13 points (6+7) in his last 8 games. Byers has 11 points (6+5) in his last 10 games. Korpikoski has 5 goals in his last 3 games.
- The Pack’s 3rd-ranked power play went 4 for 6 in the game.
- With the weather being what it is, the Pack could struggle to get someone up from Charlotte for tomorrow night’s game, and may be forced to play with a short bench if either Bourret or Byers are unable to go.
1. Parenteau (25) (Byers, Hutchinson) 6:09
1. Hutchinson (15) (Parenteau, Pock) (PP) 7:38
2. Anisimov (11) (Hutchinson, Jessiman) (PP) 7:16
2. Korpikoski (16) (Parenteau, Hutchinson) (PP) 16:36
3. Moore (21) (Hutchinson, Pock) (PP) 6:06
3. Korpikoski (17) (Ouellette) 14:52
Byers – Moore – Parenteau
Jessiman – Anisimov – Bourret
Dupont – Ouellette – Korpikoski
Owens – Gratton
Hutchinson – Potter
Baranka – Taylor
Pock – Sauer
Wiikman / LeNevue
1. Andrew Hutchinson
2. Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau
3. Lauri Korpikoski
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