Two players started their Dartmouth hockey careers as freshman in the fall of 2002. One was the Rangers first round, 14th overall pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. The other earned himself an AHL contract with the Wolf Pack last year after four years of solid hockey at Dartmouth and spent his first professional season in the ECHL. It was that Dartmouth grad, Mike Ouellette, who led the Wolf Pack with a hat trick in an 8-2 thrashing of the Lowell Devils last night that statistically eliminated them from playoff contention.
The Pack got off to an early start when P.A. Parenteau picked off a Devils pass in the neutral zone to break in on a 2-on-1 with linemate Greg Moore. Parenteau faked the shot and then made one of his trademark thread-the-needle passes to Moore who one-timed a shot past Devils goalie Frank Doyle. Just 59 seconds later Mike Ouellette scored the first goal of his hat trick when, off another Devils turnover, after he and Tomas Pock skated in on another two-on-one. On this one, Ouellette faked pass, completely fooling Doyle and leaving him with an open side of the net into which to tuck the puck.
Perhaps sensing they’d have an easy night, the Pack let up after the second goal, giving the Devils an opportunity to get into the game. And when Jordan Owens gave the puck away in the defensive zone, they did just that with a goal by Erik Rasmussen. Late in the period, with less than two minutes to play, the Pack saw their lead erased completely when Devils defenseman Olli Malmivaara fired a bomb of a shot through a screen from the center point. After their their impressive early start, the Pack finished the period tied, with a shot disadvantage of 6-10.
The Pack came out in the second rededicated to their lunchpail work ethic and set about systematically dismantling the Devils. First came a power play goal at 4:43 from Andrew Hutchinson, a one-timer from the left circle and his 16th of the year, breaking the single season Wolf Pack record for goals in a season by a defenseman, previously held by Tomas Pock, the player who set him up for the goal. Then Hugh Jessiman, in his first game back after missing 2 with a groin injury, intercepted the puck behind the Devils net after the Devils tried to rim it around the boards and reached out in one fluid motion and put it in the open side of the net a minute and two seconds later. Next came Ouellette’s second, when Brad Brown found him wide open in the slot for a one-timer. It was Brown’s first point for the Pack in 7 games played. Parenteau finished the 2nd period scoring with his 31st of the season at 17:20 when he went in on a 2-on-1 with Jake Taylor during a 4-on-4 and fired a quick wrister at Doyle, who make the initial shot, but bobbled the rebound, allowing Parenteau to drive in and swat it in the net from mid air. The Pack finished the period with a commanding 6-2 lead off, a 12-5 advantage in shots.
The Pack capped things off with two more goals in the third, starting with Ouellette’s hat trick goal on the power play at 5.54. Dane Byers, from down below the goal line, fed Ouellette in the left circle. Ouellette’s initial shot was stopped, but he followed up by going to the net, where he was able to bat his own rebound home.
Things got a little nasty at the 13:31 mark, when the Devils ECHL call-up tough guy Brad Mills boarded Artem Anisimov along the right half boards. Anisimov went after Mills in retaliation, and before he knew what hit him Mills had dropped the gloves and connected with 2-3 solid rights, sending Anisimov to the ice before he even got both gloves off. Jessiman jumped in to pull Mills off Anisimov, and at the same time Josh Gratton squared off with the Devils Olivier Magnan, who’s not known as a fighter. Gratton went easy on him, not really putting much effort in and motioning the linesmen in before long. Anisimov got a measure of revenge with just 7 seconds to go in the game when he fed Owens at the top of the right faceoff circle for a laser beam of a shot that beat Doyle high. Final score: 8-2, with the Pack holding a 14-5 lead in shots on the period and a 32-20 advantage for the game.
1. Moore (24) (Parenteau) 0:41
1. Ouellette (9) (Pock, Baranka) 1:40
2. Hutchinson (16) (Pock, Korpikoski) 4:43 (PP)
2. Jessiman (13) (Gratton) (5.45)
2. Ouellette (10) (Brown) 11:55
2. Parenteau (31) (Taylor) 17:20 (4-on-4)
3. Ouellette (11) (Byers, Potter) 5:54 (PP)
3. Owens (6) (Anisimov, Baranka) 19:53
Korpikoski – Moore – Parenteau
Byers – Ouellette – Pock
Owens – Anisimov – Jessiman
Lee – Gratton
Hutchinson – Potter
Brown – Baranka
Taylor – Sauer
LeNeveu / Wiikman
1. Mike Ouellette
2. Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau
3. Thomas Pock
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