The Pack improved their season record over their nearby rivals in Springfield to 9-1 with a business-like win over the Falcons in Springfield tonight.
The first period was a scoreless affair, with the Pack having the better of chances, out-shooting the Falcons 10-6. There were no penalties called in the period (only 2 minors all game), with the exception of a pair of fighting majors that were handed out to Josh Gratton and Theo Peckham at 14:23. Gratton got a few early punches in, but then the two players locked up and wrestled, before Peckham got a hand free and threw a few late punches and managed to get Gratton’s jersey up over his head, at which point the linesmen jumped in to break it up. Seconds earlier a Falcon player had challenged Alex Bourret, who was playing his first game after missing 14 with first a concussion and then a stomach virus. Bourret simply skated away as the misguided soul dropped his gloves.
Hartford got on the board first early in the second, at the 2:45 mark, when Artem Anisimov picked up a loose puck during a goal mouth scramble, moved across the front of the net and somehow squeezed a backhander through a crowd that included both Mike Taylor and Mitch Fritz, putting it behind Springfield goaltender Devan Dubnyk.
Springfield would get it back just under two and a half minutes later when Liam Reddox fed T.J. Kemp at the outer edge of the right circle, where Kemp fired a wrist shot short side over LeNeveu’s shoulder just as a Pack defenseman crossed in front of him, temporarily screening his view.
P.A. Parenteau put the Pack ahead during their only power play of the game at 14:27 when he was allowed to walk in from the left corner and stickhandle freely just off the left post. But Dubnyk didn’t flinch, so Parenteau tried to jam is past him — unsuccessfully. But when a Falcon tried to clear the rebound behind the net, it ended up on Parenteau’s stick instead, and this time he wrapped it in short side before Dubnyk was able to re-set himself.
At 9:39 of the 3rd Bobby Sanguinetti picked up his first pro point of the season when he put a wrist shot towards the net that was deflected on the way in by Josh Gratton at the hashmarks. It was Gratton’s 11th of the season and 6th in 18 games with the Pack.
Bourret capped off the scoring at 19:24 of the third with an empty net goal after Lauri Korpikoski stripped the puck off a Springfield player in the Hartford zone and lofted it towards the Springfield blueline, where Bourret was waiting for it. Bourret showed poise in keeping it away from the Springfield defenseman who was covering him and managed to put it into the empty net from just inside the Springfield blue line.
The two teams ended the period tied with 8 shots each, to give the Pack the slight 29-26 advantage for the game.
2. Anisimov (15) (Fritz, M. Taylor) 2:46
2. Parenteau (33) 14:27
3. Gratton (11) (Sanguinetti, J. Taylor) 9:39
3. Bourret (9) (Korpikoski) 19:24 (EN)
Korpikoski – Moore – Parenteau
Byers – Anisimov – Jessiman
Gratton – Ouellette – Bourret
Fritz – Taylor
Hutch – Potter
Pock – Sauer
Taylor – Sanguinetti
LeNeveu / Wiikman
1. Artem Anisimov
2. Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau
3. Josh Gratton
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