Game 72: Worcester Sharks 2 @ Hartford Pack 3
Saturday March 29th 2008, 1:31 am

This year’s edition of the Hartford Wolf Pack continued to re-write the record book tonight when they defeated the Worcester Sharks for the 8th time this season, the first time in the history of the franchise that the Pack has swept an 8-game season series. Even more impressive: at no point in any of those games has the Pack trailed the Sharks on the scoreboard.

The two teams played a fairly even first period, with the Sharks having the edge in play through the first half of the period. At the 12:38 mark, Artem Anisimov, who’s been playing a more physical game of late, but has also been on the receiving end of some really heavy hits in recent games, took a hard but clean check from the Shark’s Brennan Evans just inside the Sharks zone. Jessiman, always quick to jump to the defense of the Pack’s youngest player, immediately challenged Evans and the two dropped the gloves. Evans connected with an early punch, possibly bloodying Jessiman’s nose, but Jessiman came back strong, getting the upper hand with his long reach and ultimately earning the decision. The period ended in a scoreless tie, with the Sharks having a slight advantage in shots (8-6) in part due to a 2-1 advantage in power play opportunities.

The Pack got on the board early in the second, after Sharks goalie Thomas Greiss played the puck outside the trapezoid and earned himself a delay of game penalty at 1:26. The Pack’s power play, ranked second in the league, but only 11th at home, capitalized a minute and a half in when Jessiman found himself wide open with the puck on his stick at the top of the circles and blasted a slap shot past Greiss. Jessiman would figure in the next Pack goal as well, and earn himself the Gordie Howe Hat Trick, when at 13:23 Corey Potter fired a shot on net from the point. Greiss made the initial save, but Jessiman got a stick on the rebound and either passed it off to Byers or had his rebound come out to Byers, who was set up in his usual spot on the doorstep and put the puck past Greiss.

Teams hate to give up a goal late in the period, but that’s just what the Pack did, after the puck took a strange bounce off the boards and handcuffed LeNeveu, cutting the Pack’s lead to one with only 1:37 to go. But with just 23 seconds left in the period, Lauri Korpikoski regained the Pack’s two goal lead after Greg Moore won an offensive zone faceoff to Ivan Baranka, who fired a shot from the center point that was blocked in front. But the rebound came right to Korpikoski, who wasted no time in putting it in the net from the high slot. The Pack finished with a dominating 15-9 advantage in shots in the period.

I missed the third, but checked in briefly towards the end to find the Pack still with the 3-1 lead and 1:41 seconds to go in the game. I figured that was the end of that, but low and behold came home later to find out that the Sharks had managed to make things interesting by putting one in with the extra skater on with 52 seconds to go. But the Pack held on for the win, giving them 97 points in 72 games played, and a 7 point lead on the third place (and upcoming first-round playoff opponent) Portland Pirates, who lost to the lowly Lowell Devils, 4-1, and have now dropped three in a row and are only 5-5-0-0 in their last 10.

Notes
- Mitch Fritz returned to the line up after missing all but the first two games of the season due to shoulder surgery.
- Mike Taylor played his first professional game after signing a try-out contract with the Pack earlier this week after the conclusion of his final season at Harvard.
- Both Greg Moore (7pts) and Hugh Jessiman (6pts) are currently riding 5-game point scoring streaks.
- P.A. Parenteau was held scoreless for the first time in 5 games. In those 5 games, he piled up 10 points.
- Lauri Korpikoski has 8 points in his last 8 games

Pack Scoring
2. Jessiman (14) (Moore, Pock) 2:57 (PP)
2. Byers (22) (Jessiman, Potter) 13.23
2. Korpikoski (20) (Baranka, Moore) 19:37

Lines
Korpikoski – Moore – Parenteau
Byers – Ouellette – Gratton
D. Taylor – Anisimov – Pock
Fritz – Jessiman

Hutchinson – Potter
J. Taylor – Sauer
Baranka – Brown

LeNeveu / Wiikman

Three Stars
1. Hugh Jessiman
2. Greg Moore
3. David LeNeveu

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Filed under: Hartford Wolf Pack

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