The Hartford Wolf Pack mounted an impressive comeback against the Eastern Division-leading Providence Bruins on Sunday, fighting back from 3-1 down to tie the game on an Artem Anisimov marker at 6:54 of the third period. But they suffered their first overtime loss of the season when, at 3:33 of the extra frame, Brad Marchand found the puck during a goal-mouth scramble and put it past goaltender Miika Wiikman, who’d come on in relief of starter Matt Zaba at the start of the second period.
The Pack took the early lead at 5:57 of the first period when Brian Fahey blocked a Providence clearing attempt and fired the puck past Providence netminder Tuukka Rask from the top of the right face off circle. It was Fahey’s first goal as a member of the Wolf Pack. He also picked up an assist in the game to earn second star honors in what was probably his most effective game of the season.
Providence tied the game at 14:20 of the first when Martin St. Pierre scored his seventh of the season with a quick snap shot from the slot that beat Zaba, who had earned his second consecutive start with a strong performance Satuday night against Manchester.
With just 20 seconds remaining in an evenly-contested period Bruin winger Byron Bitz, who’d also set up St. Pierre’s goal, stripped Pack defenseman David Urquhart of the puck along the right side boards and fed it to rookie Andrew Bodnarchuk on the left side. Bodnarchuk beat Zaba through the five-hole with a weak wrister from the boards for his first of the season. Zaba, who gave up 2 goals on 12 shots, finished the period but was replaced by Wiikman to start the second.
There were only two minor penalties called in the game, and both came in the second period. The first went to Corey Potter, who was whistled for interference at 5:56. It was the third consecutive game in which Potter found himself in the penalty box when the opposition scored. On Sunday it was Martins Karsums who did the damage, nudging the puck over the goal line at 6:17 after a shot by defenseman Matt Lashoff squeezed through Wiikman’s pads and stopped just short of the line.
Hartford got their only power play opportunity of the game two and a half minutes later. They were unable to convert, but managed to gather some momentum as penalty time ran out. A line of Mike Ouellette, Jordan Owens and Devin DiDiomete followed, keeping the Bruins hemmed in their own zone. Ouellette cut the Providence lead to one at 11:25 when he deflected Vladimir Denisov’s slap shot from the right point past Rask. Providence finished the period with a 13-7 shot advantage, giving them a 25-20 edge in the game.
Anisimov knotted the score early in the third period when he found the rebound of Fahey’s shot from the left point and roofed a backhander under the crossbar for his seventh of the season. The Pack carried the momentum through the third frame, outshooting Providence 12-8. That momentum stayed with them in the overtime period, where they held a territorial edge through the first three and a half minutes, until Marchand’s goal brought the game to an abrupt end, sending the Pack home with a hard-earned, but unsatisfying standings point. The point, and some fortuitous results in other division games, moved the Pack into a four-way tie for forth place in the division.
1. Fahey (1) 5:57
1. St. Pierre (7) (Bitz, Marquardt) 14:20
1. Bodnarchuk (1) (Bitz) 19:39
2. Karsums (10) (Lashoff, Sobotka) 6:17 (PP)
2. Ouellette (2) (Denisov, Owens) 11:26
3. Anisimov (7) (Fahey, Sanguinetti) 6:54
OT. Marchand (5) (Hamill, Boychuk) 3:33
Dupont – Anisimov – Parenteau
Owens – Moore – Weise
Soryal – Pyatt – Ford
DiDiomete – Ouellette – Sugden
Potter – Sanguinetti
Denisov – Fahey
Urquhart – Sauer
Zaba / Wiikman
1. Brad Marchand
2. Brian Fahey
3. Byron Bitz
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