On Friday night in Bridgeport the Hartford Wolf Pack followed up a strong 40-minute effort with a third period collapse in which they surrendered a 1-0 lead to fall 4-1 to the Sound Tigers. On Saturday they reversed their fortunes, capping an uninspired opening two periods with a strong third period for a come-from-behind win over the streaking Manchester Monarchs. The win came compliments of second-year pro Jordan Owens, who scored his first goal in 12 games with less than 30 seconds remaining on the clock.
It was a sweet reward for the Toronto native, who had been robbed by Manchester goalie Jonathan Bernier ten minutes earlier. With 9:42 remaining in the period and Artem Anisimov and Drew Bagnall just emerging from their respective penalty boxes after two minutes of four-on-four play, Owens took a cross ice pass in the right face off circle and fired a shot top-corner on the Monarch net for what seemed like a sure goal. Somehow, the Los Angeles Kings’ first round pick (11th overall in 2006) was able to get across the crease and snag Owens’ bid in his glove, making the save of the game and keeping the closely contested match knotted at one.
The two teams carried a scoreless tie through the first half of the game until the Wolf Pack found itself in penalty trouble just prior to the halfway mark of the second period. With defenseman David Urquhart already in the box for slashing, Corey Potter was whistled for cross-checking at 11:29, setting up a 23 second 5-on-3. Just as Urquhart was stepping back on to the ice, Manchester’s top goal getter, Teddy Purcell, blasted a slap shot from the top of the faceoff circles through a tangle of bodies in front of the net. The shot, which may have been deflected on the way in, got past Wolf Pack starting netminder Matt Zaba and found its way to the back of the net at 11:57.
The Monarchs took the 1-0 lead into the third period, where a hungrier Hartford team emerged. After mustering only 14 shots through two periods (to Manchester’s 22), the Pack would strike for 16 in the third, while holding the Monarchs to just 5. The tying goal came at 13:28 on the power play when Greg Moore deflected defenseman Brian Fahey’s shot from the left point. Moore’s deflection hit the post, ricocheted off Bernier’s leg and back over the goal line, giving him his sixth of the season.
The game looked destined to go to overtime until a rare defensive breakdown by Manchester — who were riding a 6-game winning streak entering the game — resulted in a 3-on-2 for the Wolf Pack. Owens carried the puck into the Monarch zone, looking to pass the whole way. But with time and space, and no passing lanes available, Owens was left with no option but to shoot from almost the exact spot he’d been stymied from earlier in the period. This time he opted for the 5-hole, beating Bernier with just 29.6 seconds remaining on the clock.
The win returned the Wolf Pack to the .500 mark with a 9-9-0-2 record. They remain at the bottom of the Eastern Division standings, but trail Springfield, Manchester and Lowell by only a point, and Worcester, by just two. The Pack hit the road to face division-leading Providence Sunday afternoon.
Highlights from the game are available courtesy of AHL Live.
2. Purcell (9) (Murray, Azevedo) 11:57 (PP)
3. Moore (6) (Fahey, Sanguinetti) 13:28 (PP)
3. Owens (2) (DiDiomete, Moore) 19:29
Dupont – Anisimov – Weise
Owens – Moore – Parenteau
Soryal – Pyatt – Ford
DiDiomete – Ouellette – Sugden
Potter – Sanguinetti
Denisov – Fahey
Urquhart – Sauer
Zaba / Wiikman
1. Jordan Owens
2. Matt Zaba
3. Teddy Purcell
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