The Hartford Wolf Pack extended its win-loss, win-loss streak to twelve consecutive games on Saturday night, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in Bridgeport. Artem Anisimov scored the Pack’s only goal, his team-leading 18th, while Matt Zaba made his second consecutive start in goal, stopping 24 of 26 Bridgeport shots.
Hartford outshot the Sound Tigers 14-11 in the first period before an impressive crowd of 5,791 who braved a winter storm to attend the game. Despite two power play opportunities, the Wolf Pack was unable to crack Bridgeport netminder Nathan Lawson. Zaba was equally as good in the Hartford net, sending two scoreless teams to their dressing rooms at the end of one.
Bridgeport struck for both of its goals in the second period. The first came at 6:04 after Patrick Rissmiller shot the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty twelve seconds after defenseman Corey Potter was whistled for hooking, setting up a 1:48 two-man advantage. Just over halfway through, defenseman Chris Lee fired a slap shot from the left point which deflected off the foot of Bridgeport’s leading goal scorer, Trevor Smith, to beat Zaba and give the Sound Tigers a 1-0 lead.
Not long after that Lawson thwarted a breakaway attempt by Anisimov, maintaining Bridgeport’s lead. It was one of the few quality scoring chances for the Wolf Pack all period, as the Sound Tigers did a good job clogging the neutral zone and keeping shooters to the outside when they did manage to gain the zone.
Hartford went down 2-0 with just 1:13 remaining in the period on a goal by Bridgeport center Ben Walter. Sean Bentivoglio outmuscled Brian Fahey for the puck in front, getting off the initial shot which Zaba stopped but could not control. With Fahey down on his hands and knees looking for the puck, Walter was able skate in and bang it past Zaba for his 7th of the season.
Anisimov cut the lead in half at the midway point of the final period. Brodie Dupont’s hard work along the right boards lead to a pass behind the Bridgeport net where Anisimov controlled the puck and wrapped it around the right post for his 18th of the season. The goal moved him into 7th in the league in goals and into the top ten in overall scoring. P.A. Parenteau’s secondary assist kept him in the team lead in points with 40 in 40 games, and bumped him up to 8th over all in scoring. (And yet neither is going to the AHL All Star game…)
The Wolf Pack didn’t really threaten the rest of the way, even with Zaba pulled in the final minutes of play, and when they did get shots through, Lawson was equal to the task. The loss, coupled with wins by Portland and Worcester, dropped Hartford back into a tie for third place with the Sharks with a record of 19-16-2-3.
Highlights from the game are available from the Sound Tigers web site.
- Michael Sauer was a less-than-willing participant in a first period scrap with Bridgeport forward Michael Haley after stepping in when Haley was giving Pack rookie David Urquhart a hard time in a post-whistle scrum. Sauer, who has a history of concussions, clearly was not expecting Haley to drop his gloves so quickly, and focused his efforts on wrestling the second-year pro to the ice.
- Devin DiDiomete dropped the gloves with Tigers D Jack Hillen at 14:16 of the third period and won the easy decision, landing numerous hard blows while Hillen failed to connect with anything of consequence.
- The Wolf Pack played without leading scoring defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti, who was recalled by the Rangers and was with the team in Ottawa in case defenseman Michael Rozsival was unable to play. Sanguinetti did not play and was reassigned to the Wolf Pack following the game.
- Vladimir Denisov returned to the lineup in Sanguinetti’s absence, but looked a step behind after missing the past three games with the flu.
2. Smith (19) (Lee, MacDonald) 6:04 (PP)
2. Walter (7) (Bentivoglio, Joensuu) 18:47
3. Anisimov (18) (Dupont, Parenteau) 10:02
Dupont – Anisimov – Parenteau
Pyatt – Ouellette – Owens
Rissmiller – Moore – Weise
DiDiomete – Stefanishion – Soryal
Potter – Sanguinetti
Nightingale – Fahey
Urquhart – Sauer
Zaba / Wiikman
1. Trevor Smith
2. Nathan Lawson
3. Ben Walter
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