Korpikoski’s Hat Trick Leads Wolf Pack over Falcons
Sunday November 09th 2008, 12:25 am

On Friday night against the Worcester Sharks Lauri Korpikoski scored his first goal of the season for the Hartford Wolf Pack. He followed that up on Saturday by scoring three more, including the overtime game winner with just 4.1 seconds remaining on the clock to lead the Pack to a 4-3 victory over the rival Springfield Falcons.

The game didn’t start well for the Pack, who were outshot 12-5 in the first period and gave their opponents four power play opportunities in the frame while earning only two of their own.  But timely penalty killing and strong play by goaltender Miika Wiikman allowed them to escape the period with the score still knotted at 0-0.

The Wolf Pack got a wake up call four minutes into the second period when defenseman Vladimir Denisov went after Springfield defender Bryan Young after Young delivered a crushing hit on P.A. Parenteau as he skated down the right wing boards with the puck.  Denisov delivered a few early blows, but ultimately the bout ended as a draw.  But his willingness to stand up for his teammate — yet again — was not unnoticed by his teammates and the entire squad picked up their intensity level afterwards.

The Pack were forced to kill off two more penalties before they got on the board at 12:14 with an outstanding individual effort by Greg Moore, who won an extended battle for the puck along the boards behind the net, skated out into the high slot, turned and fired a wrist shot past Springfield goaltender Devan Dubnyk.

But the Pack’s lead would be short-lived.  Off the resulting face off the Falcons pinned the Pack in the defensive zone and Gilbert Brule, all alone off the left post, was able to pick up the rebound of a Carl Corazzini shot and put the puck in the open side of the net, tying the score at one.

Korpikoski got his first of the game with just over two minutes remaining in the period when the rebound of a sharp angle shot by Jordon Owens, who returned after missing three games with an abdominal injury, came right to him in the slot for the easy put-away.  Owens’ initial shot came as the result of a another strong rush by Moore, who appears to be picking up his play after a slow start.

The goal allowed the Pack, who’ve struggled in the middle frame this season, to finish the second period with a 2-1 advantage on the scoreboard, after outshooting the Falcons by a margin of 12-10.

But the lead would only stand for 38 seconds in the third period.  Wiikman, who’s been the only reason the Pack have earned a number of their wins so far this season, gave Worcester the tying goal after he tripped over his own skates and fell down while playing the puck behind his net.  Springfield winger Liam Reddox was there to pick up the puck and circle around the front of the net for the easy goal.

The Wolf Pack showed good resiliency, scoring on a power play 1:11 later when Korpikoski blasted a one-time slap shot past Dubnyk from the right point.  But they gave it back at 9:04 of the period when, with Parenteau in the box for boarding, Moore fanned on a clearing attempt, allowing the Falcons to trap a tired penalty killing unit on the ice.  On his third such attempt Robbie Schremp finally found Brule with a cross-slot pass and Brule was able to put the puck in the open side of the net for his second of the game.

The two teams would play a fairly conservative second half of the third period, and finish regulation time locked at three.  In the extra frame the Pack showed a level of offensive intensity previously unseen in the game, outshooting Springfield by an 8-0 margin.  Parenteau, Artem Anisimov and Korpikoski all had good opportunities to end the game in overtime, but it wasn’t until 4.1 seconds remained that Korpikoski was able to beat Dubnyk with another blistering slapper from top of the right circle, sending the 6,472 in attendance home happy and putting the Pack back over the 500 mark with a 6-5-0-1 record.

Video highlights from the game are available from AHL Live.

Notes:

  • Dale Weise missed the game after sustaining an undisclosed injury in a collision with teammate Justin Soryal during Friday’s game
  • Dane Byers will undergo surgery on his ACL on Wednesday and will miss the remainder of the regular season
  • Mike Sauer’s recovery from ACL surgery continues on schedule and he could be return in the next week or two.
  • Korpikoski has 6 points in 4 games since being sent down to Hartford by the Rangers

Pack Scoring:
2. Moore (2) (Soryal, Owens) 12:14
2. Korpikoski (2) (Owens, Moore) 17:44
3. Korpikoski (3) (Potter, Sanguinetti) 1:49 (PP)
OT. Korpikoski (4) (Parenteau, Urquhart) 4:55

Lines:
Owens – Korpikoski – Moore
Dupont – Anisimov – Parenteau
Soryal – Pyatt – Ford
DiDiomete – Ouellette – Sugden

Potter – Urquhart
Denisov – Sanguinetti
Murray – Graham

Wiikman / Zaba

Three Stars:
1. Lauri Korpikoski
2. Miika Wiikman
3. Gilbert Brule

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