Evgeny Grachev and P.A. Parenteau each scored a pair of goals to lead the Hartford Wolf Pack to a 4-3 victory over the Worcester Sharks on Sunday, allowing the club to remain undefeated at home and improve its season record to 4-5-0-0. Miika Wiikman stopped 32 shots, including 17 in the second period, to earn his second consecutive win in goal and make a serious bid for the Wolf Pack’s starting job.
The visitors got on the board first, scoring on the power play at 6:49 of the first period. T.J. Trevelyan scored his first of two in the game from in close off the rebound of Derek Joslin’s shot.
Grachev answered less than two minutes later, at 8:28, with the first of his pair. Dale Weise fed Brodie Dupont for a shot from the top of the circles that Sharks starter Tyson Sexsmith stopped, but the rebound came directly to Grachev in the slot, and the 19-year old rookie wasted little time putting it back between Sexsmith’s pads with a flick of his backhand.
The Khabarovsk, Russia native added his second goal of the game 6:10 later, on the power play, when Ilkka Heikkinen’s shot from the point deflected off a skate in front and came right to Grachev in the right circle. Grachev put a wrister over Sexsmith to give the Pack their first lead of the game at 14:38.
Wiikman held off a frantic flurry of Shark shots in the final minute of the frame that ended with a pair of Pack players in the penalty box, giving the Sharks a two man advantage for 1:35 to start the second session. The Pack’s penalty kill, which has continued to struggle and remains ranked 28th in the league, came through, however, and killed off both the 5-on-3 and 5-on-4 advantage.
Often a team will gain momentum with a good penalty kill, but that wasn’t the case in this one, as the Sharks continued to dominate throughout the period, out shooting the Pack by a margin of 17-6. But Wiikman was a wall, stopping all 17 shots to maintain Hartford’s 2-1 lead as the teams headed into the final frame.
Grachev had ample opportunity to earn his first professional hat trick, putting a shot off the post at the 10:15 mark of the second period, and twice getting stoned on partial break-ins by Sexsmith in the third. It was Parenteau who gave the Pack a two goal lead at 1:45 of the third, on the power play. The veteran winger skated into the left circle unencumbered and beat Sexsmith with a wrist shot on the stick side.
The Sharks answered back 2:19 later. Dan DeSilva centered to a wide open Andrew Desjardins at the bottom of the hashmarks and the sophomore center beat Wiikman to cut the lead in half, 3-2.
Parenteau got his second of the game with a shot that was eerily similar to his first. Left alone at the hashmarks, the 26-year old took a feed from Corey Potter — who finished the game with a pair of assists for the second night running — and fired another wrist shot past Sexsmith for his league-leading eighth goal of the season at 14:09.
When Worcester’s DeSilva earned a two minute roughing penalty for hitting Parenteau as he celebrated his second goal, Hartford looked to have the game well in hand. But the Sharks managed to cut the lead back to one 21 seconds after DeSilva’s penalty expired. Travelyan scored his second of the game by jamming home the rebound of Danny Groulx’s shot.
That was as close as the visitors would get, however, as the Wolf Pack rallied with a strong defensive effort to hold off the Sharks through the final 3:30 of the game to earn its second straight win.
- Defenseman Michael Sauer left the game with a shoulder injury in the first period and did not return.
- Parenteau finished the weekend with six point in three games, after going scoreless in two matches last weekend.
- The Pack’s power play was 1 for 4 in the game, and remains tops in the league at 29.2%. With the Sharks converting on their first of three power play opportunities, the Pack penalty kill remained second to last in the league at 70.2%.
Byers – Locke – Parenteau
Grachev – Dupont – Weise
Soryal – Crowder – Owens
Hillier – Ambuhl
Potter – Sanguinetti
Dandenault – Heikkinen
Urquhart – Sauer
Wiikman / Johnson
1. Evgeny Grachev
2. Corey Potter
3. Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau
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