Twice this year the Hartford Wolf Pack have taken early 3-0 leads over their division rivals from Springfield, only to fall by the final score of 4-3. On Saturday it was the Wolf Pack’s turn to come from behind, erasing a 2-0 first period Falcon lead to claw their way back for a 4-3 overtime victory on a sweet game-winner by first star Artem Anisimov.
The Wolf Pack found themselves in trouble early when Bobby Sanguinetti cross-checked a Falcon into the boards behind the net with Michael Sauer already in the box for interference, setting up a 28 second Springfield 5-on-3. Falcon center Ryan Potulny took a feed from Rob Schremp at the left post and tried to center it across the crease, but the puck deflected in off Hartford goaltender Matt Zaba’s right pad to give the Falcons the 1-0 advantage at 8:25.
Springfield added to their lead five minutes later when a shot from the right point took an odd carom off the end boards behind the net, bouncing out to the left side where Carl Corazzini was waiting to put it in the open side of the goal.
The Wolf Pack would get one back in a second period which saw them outshoot their hosts 14-6. After being split up following a -3 performance in Hershey eight games ago, the line of Brodie Dupont, Anisimov and P.A. Parenteau were re-united on Saturday. The move paid immediate dividends. Just past the five minute mark Anisimov carried the puck into the Springfield zone on a 2-on-1 with Parenteau. The young Russian saucered a pass through a Springfield defender to Parenteau, who put the puck in the open side of the net for his 13th goal of the season.
Hartford would tie things up and then take the lead early in the third period. Sanguinetti forced a turnover in the neutral zone, carried the puck into the Springfield end and fed it to Parenteau, who fired a wrister from the top of the circles. Springfield netminder Devan Dubnyk made the initial stop, but left the rebound laying in front. In the ensuing scramble, defenseman David Urquhart, returning from a game off as a healthy scratch, was able to dive in and shovel the puck home for his fourth of the year at 1:37.
Just under five minutes later Springfield got themselves into penalty trouble when they were whistled for a too many men minor at 6:18. Josef Hrabal put his team down two men just three second later when he slashed Dupont’s stick off the faceoff, breaking it in two. On the ensuing 5-on-3 Parenteau, stationed just off the left post, was able to find Dupont wide open at the hashmarks for the point-blank shot which beat Dubnyk on the glove side. It was Dupont’s sixth of the year and came at 6:53 of the period.
With the 3-2 lead, the Wolf Pack eased up, and it proved costly. Just past the halfway point of the period Gilbert Brule won a faceoff from Patrick Rissmiller in the Hartford zone. Guillaume Lefebvre collected the puck behind the Hartford net, and centered it to Ryan O’Marra, who was alone in front for the slam-dunk to knot the score at three at 10:15 of the third.
The goal knocked the Pack out of their shell, but despite holding the edge in play and outshooting the Falcons 12-6 in the period they were unable to finish the game off in regulation.
It took just over a minute and a half of overtime for Hartford to cap off the come-from-behind win. After a sloppy start to the extra frame in which the Pack struggled to get out of their zone, Sanguinetti carried the puck into the Springfield end and fed a breaking Anisimov with a pass the missed connection. But the Falcons were unable to control the puck in the left face off circle and Anisimov collected it at the top of the circle, dragged it to the hashmarks on his forehand, shifted around a sprawled Springfield defender on his backhand, and cut around Dubnyk on the forehand, squeezing the puck just inside the left post for his 13th of the season and a dramatic end to an exciting game.
With the win the Wolf Pack improved their record to 16-13-1-3 for 36 points, just one shy of second place Portland and four behind division-leading Providence, who were smacked 8-1 by last place Lowell on Saturday. The Pack head to Lowell Sunday afternoon at 4pm looking to leapfrog over the Portland, who face fourth place Worcester at the same time.
1. Potulny (16) (Schremp, Roy) 8:25 (PP)
1. Corazzini (3) (Peckham, Wild) 13:38
2. Parenteau (13) (Anisimov) 5:15
3. Urquhart (4) (Parenteau, Sanguinetti) 1:37
3. Dupont (6) (Parenteau, Rissmiller) 6:53 (PP)
3. O’Marra (1) (Lefebvre, Brule) 10:15
OT. Anisimov (13) (Sanguinetti, Urquhart) 1:37
Dupont – Anisimov – Parenteau
DiDiomete – Moore – Stefanishion
Owens – Ouellette – Pyatt
Soryal – Rissmiller – Weise
Denisov – Sanguinetti
Urquhart – Sauer
Graham – Nightingale
Zaba / Wiikman
1. Artem Anisimov
2. Ryan O’Marra
3. Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau
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