Wolf Pack Drown River Rats
Sunday November 02nd 2008, 4:28 am

Goaltender Matt Zaba made 25 saves to earn his first AHL win and defenseman David Urquhart scored his first professional goal less than a half minute into his AHL debut to lead the Hartford Wolf Pack to a 3-1 victory over the Albany River Rats in Hartford on Saturday night.

Urquhart, called up from Charlotte of the ECHL to replace Brian Fahey, who was injured in Friday’s 4-2 loss to Worcester, gave the Pack an early lead when he took a feed from Artem Anisimov in the left circle and skated in unimpeded on Albany goaltender Daniel Manzato to roof the puck only 28 seconds into the first period.

Zaba hadn’t even faced his first shot when Brody Dupont gave the home team a two goal advantage at 5:58 of the first.  Lauri Korpikoski, who earned his second assist in his second game since being reassigned to Hartford by the parent New York Rangers, took a pass from Bobby Sanguinetti in the right circle and fed a streaking Dupont in the high slot, who one-timed the puck past Manzato.

A pair of simultaneous fights involving a couple of Pack players who aren’t known for fisticuffs — second year pro Mike Ouellette and rookie Andreas Jamtin, called up with Urquhart to replace the injured Dane Byers — topped off the first period.  Apparently spawned by a hit thrown on a River Rat player in the high slot in the Pack zone, neither scrap resulted in many punches being thrown.

The Pack finished their near-flawless first period with a 12-5 shot advantage, having surrendered no power play opportunities to the visiting team.  But, in what has developed into a worrisome trend, they fell apart in the second period once again, surrendering 14 shots and forcing Zaba to make a number of game-saving stops.  In fact, it appeared the River Rats had cut the deficit in half mid-way through the period when they stuffed a rebound behind Zaba, but referee Chris Ciamaga had already blown the whistle after losing sight of the puck.  It was one of two goals waved off in the game — earlier in the first period Anisimov scored on a pretty wrap-around, but it was ruled that the ref had already blown the whistle to indicate that the net had been knocked off its moorings.

Hartford surrendered three late-period power play opportunities to the visitors, and Albany winger Pat Dwyer converted on the second, banging home a rebound to cut the Pack’s lead to one at 17:17.  That’s how the period would end, with the Rats finishing the frame with a 14-5 advantage in shots.

The Pack came out stronger in the third and played a fairly conservative period to preserve the lead.  Justin Soryal once again proved he’ll take on all comers when he droppd the gloves with Albany’s Benn Olson, who’d spent most of the game yapping and trying to get under the Pack’s skin.  Soryal earned yet another decision, after a barrage of punches put Olson down on his knees with Soryal’s arm cocked and ready to deal the finishing blow.

Greg Moore gave the River Rats a golden opportunity to tie the game with just over three minutes left when he took an incredibly ill-advised tripping penalty, sticking his leg out to trip an Albany defenseman while in alone on the forecheck deep in the Albany zone.  But the Pack — lead by Zaba — were able to kill it off.  And Moore ultimately was rewarded for his indiscretion when he scored his first goal of the season into the empty Albany net at 19:46 to give the Pack the 3-1 victory.

Video highlights are available courtesy of AHL Live.

Notes:

  • The River Rats entered the game in last place in the East Division with a 1-4-1-1 record.
  • Fahey suffered a concussion as a result of a hit away from the play in Friday’s 4-2 loss to Worcester.
  • Byers suffered an ACL injury in a collision with a teammate late in the same game and could miss up to six months.

Pack Scoring:
1. Urquhart (1) (Anisimov, Parenteau) 0:28
1. Dupont (2) (Korpikoski, Sanguinetti) 5:58
2. Dwyer (3) (Hughes) 17:17 (PP)
3. Moore (1) 19:46 (EN)

Lines:
Korpikoski – Anisimov – Parenteau
Dupont – Moore -Weise
Jamtin – Pyatt – Soryal
DiDiomete – Ouellette – Sugden

Urquhart – Potter
Denisov – Sanguinetti
Graham – Murray

Zaba / Wiikman

Three Stars:
1. Matt Zaba
2. David Urquhart
3. Daniel Manzato

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

    laurie-
    mitch at howlings is saying that byers is very likely out for the season after tearing an ACL… this would be devastating for both the pack and the rangers in my opinion, do you have any information on this matter?

    Comment by Amos 11.02.08 @ 11:17 am

    Amos, I’d heard six months, which basically coincides with what Mitch is saying (I’d also heard Fahey will be out longer than Mitch is suggesting, but I don’t have the sources he doe, so hopefully he’s right.)

    I agree that it’s horrible news for the Pack, who already have a young lineup with little in the way of experience. Fortunately for the Rangers, though, there are a number of guys in Hartford who could fill in if they lost a bunch of forwards to injury.

    But most of all it sucks for Byers himself, who likely would have been one of the top 3 call up candidates this season.

    Comment by laurie 11.02.08 @ 12:09 pm

    Yeah that’s what I was referring to, I thought Byers was in a prime place to show his importance to both the pack and the parent club. What a bummer, I really was looking forward to seeing him crack the lineup some this year.

    Comment by Amos 11.03.08 @ 8:15 pm



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