Game 74: Hartford Wolf Pack @ Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Sunday March 30th 2008, 11:47 pm

Last season, the Pack were an impressive 6-1 in games that went to a shoot out. This season, they’ve been anything but impressive, with a shootout record of 2-7, including a string of 6 consecutive losses coming into today’s game. Their record still may not be very impressive, but thanks to a clutch goal from rookie Jordan Owens and some sharp goaltending by Miika Wiikman, at least their 6-game shootout losing streak is — and their current winning streak is now up to five games.

The game certainly didn’t start off on a good note, when on the first shift of the game, the Pack found themselves scrambling deep in their own zone, losing track of recent returnee Jeff Tambellina, who fed Ben Walter right on the door step. Walter put the puck past a scrambling Miika Wiikman only 21 seconds into the game. The Pack’s next shift didn’t go any better as they allowed Bridgeport’s Trevor Smith to skate in on a 2-on-1 at the 1:00 mark. Smith’s wrist shot from the right circle beat Wiikman cleanly up top on the glove side. Fortunately, the Pack were able to settle down after dropping two goals in the first minute of the game, and the two teams traded chances through the first half of the period. At the halfway point, the Pack converted one of those chances when P.A. Parenteau gloved a Bridgeport clearing pass just inside the Bridgeport blueline and sprinted in towards the slot to fire a backhander on goalie Joey MacDonald. MacDonald made the save, but Lauri Korpikoski followed up on Parenteau’s drive, found the rebound and put it over MacDonald. The period would end with the Pack down 2-1 with a slight lead in shots at 14-13.

The Pack got off to their own quick start in the second, when Parenteau got the puck at the bottom of the right side circle and passed it up to Greg Moore at the hashmarks. Moore fired a wrist shot high on MacDonald through a screen, tying the score at two. Starting at the 10:23 mark, Bridgeport took a succession of penalties that resulted in the Pack getting two opportunities 5-on-3. The first started at 11:48 and lasted for 35 seconds. The Pack were unable to convert on that one, but at 16:50 they got a second chance, this time lasting a minute and 24 seconds. And with just three seconds remaining in the initial penalty, P.A. Parenteau scored his 32nd of the season after he retrieved the puck at the left side of the net, circled down below the goal line and back up to the face off dot, where he fired a perfectly placed wrist shot past MacDonald to give the Pack their first lead in the game. They’d finish the period with the lead, and a dominant 17-6 lead in shots.

With all the penalties that had been assessed to Bridgeport in the second, you had to expect that it was just a matter of time before the Pack got called for one or two of their own, and that time came 2:02 into the second when Mitch Fritz was called for holding. On the ensuing power play Tambellini fed Jamie Fraser with a nice pass for the tap in from just off the left post. The Pack got another power play of their own at 6:07, during which Parenteau put a shot off the post. Bridgeport had the better of the chances through the period, and Wiikman needed to come up big a number of times. By the time the period ended, neither team had been able to break the tie, so it was off to overtime after a period in which the Pack was outshot by a margin of 15-9.

In overtime it was all Pack, despite what a mere 4-2 shot advantage might suggest. The Pack controlled the puck for the vast majority of the overtime period, right up until, with 9.2 seconds left Michael Sauer gambled at the Bridgeport blueline and Tambellini was able to push the puck past him and skate in on a breakaway. But Wiikman came up with the save of the game, gloving Tambellini’s shot and allowing the Pack to get in to the shootout.

Bridgeport opted to let the Pack shoot first, and MacDonald stopped Korpikoski and Moore, and Anisimov shot wide. Wiikman made the first two saves, but was beaten on a deke by Ben Walter in the third round. Both Parenteau and Tambellini were stopped in the next round, meaning Jordan Owens needed to score to keep the game alive. The AHL rookie and recent healthy scratch came through in the clutch, coming in wide from the right side, cutting across the net and waiting until MacDonald was down to put the puck past him. That left Wiikman needing to stop Steve Regier to prevent a Bridgeport win, and he did. Hartford coach Ken Gernander sent Korpikoski back out for the first round of sudden death, and he came through, deking backhand and putting the puck past MacDonald on the forehand. That left Wiikman facing Walter, who’d scored earlier in the shootout. This time Walter bobbled the puck as he approached the crease, and Wiikman took the opportunity to poke it away, giving the Pack their fifth straight win, and first shootout win in seven attempts.

Pack Scoring
1. Korpikoski (21) (Parenteau, Moore) 10:00
2. Moore (26) (Parenteau, Hutchinson) 0:33
2. Parenteau (32) (Pock, Hutchinson) 18:11 (PP) (5-on-3)

Shootout Scoring
1. Korpikoski – Save
1. Fredder – Save
2. Moore – Save/Poke Check
2. Smith – Save
3. Anisimov – Wide
3. Walter – Scores
4. Parenteau – Save
4. Tambelini – Save
5. Owens – Scores
5. Reiger – Save
6. Korpikoski – Scores
6. Walter – Save/Poke Check

Korpikoski – Moore – Parenteau
Byers – Anisimov – Gratton
Taylor – Ouellette – Owens
Fritz – Jessiman

Hutchinson – Potter
Brown – Sauer
Taylor – Pock

Wiikman / LeNeveu

Three Stars
1. Jordan Owens
2. P.A. Parenteau
3. Jeff Tambelini

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Filed under: Hartford Wolf Pack

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