On Saturday night the Hartford Wolf Pack rallied back from a 2-0 first period deficit to steal a victory from a division rival. On Sunday they found themselves on the opposite side of the equation, surrendering 2-0 and 3-1 leads to fall to the Lowell Devils by a final score of 5-4. Two power play goals by the Devils on five third period Wolf Pack penalties proved to be the difference, erasing a dominant first period effort and a strong offensive showing by the Pack penalty kill, which tied a franchise record by scoring shorthanded goals on each of the Devils’ first two man advantages.
The Wolf Pack looked to be off to a great start after scoring two unassisted goals in the first period. The first was a late Christmas present for Tommy Pyatt, gift wrapped by Devils goalie Jeff Frazee, who left his crease to play a dump in in the right corner and fanned on the cross-ice outlet pass to his defenseman. The puck trickled across the front of the open net, where Pyatt jumped on it for the unassisted tap-in goal at 13:01.
Artem Anisimov added the Pack’s second unassisted tally of the period and Hartford’s first shorthanded goal just over two minutes later. The Pack’s leading scorer pressured Tyler Eckford at the right point, poked the puck past the Lowell defenseman and chased after it, skating in alone on the Lowell netminder. With no one close behind, Anisimov had all the time in the world to fake the shot then deke to his backhand and put the puck over Frazee for his 14th of the season.
Hartford finished the period with a 2-0 lead, earning a 10-4 advantage in shots with a dominant 20-minute performance.
Lowell got one back at 4:27 of the second period. Patrick Davis picked off a pass in the neutral zone, feeding Rod Pelley, who skated in on a 2-on-1 with Ryan Murphy. Pelley held on to the puck till the last minute, beating Zaba on the stick side with a wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle.
P.A. Parenteau built the Pack’s lead back up to two with a power play goal two and a half minutes later. Anisimov kept the puck in at the right point, feeding it down to Bobby Sanguinetti on the half boards. Sanguinetti sent a perfect cross-ice pass to the left circle where Parenteau one-timed the puck past Frazee for his 14th of the season, tying him for the team lead in goals with Anisimov.
Another neutral zone turnover by the Wolf Pack set up another 2-on-1 five minutes later. First star Michael Swift (1 goal, 2 assists) took a pass from second star Jon DiSalvatore (1 goal, 1 assist) and beat Zaba on the blocker side for his 3rd of the season and second in two games against the Pack at 12:18.
The Devils knotted the score at three with just 2.9 seconds remaining in the period. Anisimov turned the puck over just inside the Devils blue line and this time Swift fed DiSalvatore, who carried the puck into the Hartford zone, cutting across the slot and beating Zaba with a backhander on the glove side.
After taking just two minor penalties through the first two periods, the Pack took their first of five in the third at 1:32 when Dale Weise was whistled for hooking. It looked like a negative could be turned into a positive when Mike Ouellette picked up the puck in the neutral zone and slipped past a Devil defenseman inside the Lowell blue line to beat Frazee for the Pack’s second shorthander. But the Devils struck back just 29 seconds later when defenseman Matthew Corrente found the rebound of his own blocked shot and fired his second attempt past Zaba from the top of the circles at 2:28.
With the score tied at four, the Wolf Pack went straight back to the box. This time it was David Urquhart who was whistled for hooking just 18 seconds after Lowell evened the score. The Devils, who went 4 for 5 on the power play in their 8-1 thrashing of division-leading Providence on Saturday, added their second power play tally and the game-winner at 3:51 thanks to a strong individual effort by fourth year pro Barry Tallackson, who somehow managed to chip the puck up and over Zaba as he was being hauled down to the ice by defenseman Vladimir Denisov.
The Pack finished the game 1-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-6 on the penalty kill, though the two Devil power play goals were balanced out by the Pack’s two shorties. Zaba stopped 19 of 24 shots against, while Frazee stopped 30 of 34.
The loss left the Pack in third place in the division, now three points behind Portland, who spanked Worcester 7-1.
- Anisimov’s goal and assist put him back in th team lead for scoring with 33 points (14g, 19a) in 34 games. He has 7 points in his last four games, moving him up to 12th over all in league scoring.
- Parenteau’s 32 points (14g, 18a) ranks him 13th over all in league scoring. He and Anisimov are tied for 17th over all in goals.
- Bobby Sanguinetti is 7th amongst defenseman, second amongst rookie defensemen, and 13th amongst all rookies in scoring with 3 goals and 17 assists.
- Like round 1, round 2 of Anisimov vs. Vasyunov went to Anisimov on the scoresheet and Vasyunov’s team on the scoreboard. Vasyunov wasn’t a factor in the scoring, getting only one shot on goal, a point blank chance that Zaba stopped with his blocker. Both players were -1 on the night. Anisimov’s goal and assist earned him 3rd star honors.
- Defenseman Michael Sauer missed the game after being “dinged up” early in Saturday’s game in Springfield. Chris Murray, who was assigned to Charlotte back on November 18th, was called up to play in his place.
1. Pyatt (7) 13:01
1. Anisimov (14) 15:08 (SH)
2. Pelley (5) (Davis) 4:27
2. Parenteau (14) (Sanguinetti, Anisimov) 7:05 (PP)
2. Swift (3) (DiSalvatore, Zharkov) 12:18
2. DiSalvatore (9) (Swift) 19:57
3. Ouellette (3) 1:59 (SH)
3. Corrente (3) (Mills) 2:28 (PP)
3. Tallackson (4) (Swift, Salmela) 3:51 (PP)
Dupont – Anisimov – Parenteau
Soryal – Rissmiller – Weise
Pyatt – Ouellette – Owens
DiDiomete – Moore – Stefanishion
Denisov – Sanguinetti
Urquhart – Murray
Knightengale – Graham
Zaba / Wiikman
1. Michael Swift
2. Jon DiSalvatore
3. Artem Anisimov
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