The Hartford Wolf Pack traveled to Springfield on Saturday, hoping to reprise last week’s 7-3 drubbing of the Falcons and climb back to the .500 mark on the season. Springfield goaltender Devin Dubnyk had other ideas, however, and turned aside 32 shots to backstop his team to a 2-1 victory.
The loss, Hartford’s second in a row and the first they’ve suffered a the hands of the Falcons in their last eight tries, dropped the Pack’s veteran-heavy line-up to 2-4 on the season.
Following a scoreless first period, Springfield got on the board just 57 seconds into the second frame. Former Pack forward Chad Wiseman stole the puck from Dale Weise just inside the Pack blueline and fed Charles Linglet, who was in behind the Pack defense. The 27-year old winger skated in alone and beat starter Miika Wiikman through the five hole for the first of two goals he’d score in the game.
The score remained 1-0 through the remainder of second period, with neither team getting many quality scoring chances. In fact, Hartford held Springfield to just three shots in the period, while putting only six of their own on Dubnyk in the frame.
Despite outplaying their hosts by a wide margin in the final period, the Pack fell behind by two goals at 8:33 of the frame. Following a flurry of Wolf Pack chances while on the power play, Chris Minard found Colton Fretter as he exited the penalty box and journeyman forward passed it up to Linglet as he broke into the Hartford zone. Linglet carried into the bottom of the right circle on a 3-on-2 before putting a shot towards net that deflected off defenseman Michael Sauer’s stick, off of Wiikman’s shoulder and into the net.
Sauer made up for the own-goal 1:29 later with his first of the season. On the penalty kill, Jordan Owens won the puck along the left wing boards and fed Paul Crowder at the hashmarks. With a man already on him, Crowder dished the puck back to Sauer as he broke in from the point and the Minnesota native put a wrist shot past Dubnyk on the stick side to cut Springfield’s lead in half.
Hartford outshot their hosts 17-4 in the third, but were unable to get another puck past Dubnyk despite numerous opportunities. The best chance belonged to rookie Evgeny Grachev, who had the tying goal on his stick alone in the slot with 30 seconds remaining, but fanned on the shot.
The Wolf Pack finished the game with a 33-14 advantage in shots. Wiikman, making his 2009-2010 debut after suffering a groin injury during training camp, looked good despite giving up two goals on 14 shots.
Perhaps the lone bright spot of the game was the Pack’s penalty kill, which stopped all three Falcon opportunities and added a shorthanded goal of its own. It wasn’t enough to pull the PK unit and it’s 67.6% success rate out of the AHL basement, however.
On the other side of the ledger, the Pack power play was shut out for the second straight game, thwarted on each of the three attempts it earned.
The 2-4 squad now has the week to prepare for a three-in-three weekend that kicks off in Glens Falls against the Adirondack Phantoms on Friday night. Then it’s back home for a pair of games against the Lowell Devils on Saturday and the Worcester Sharks on Sunday.
Highlights are available from AHL Live.
- P.A Parenteau was held off the scoresheet for the second straight game. Corey Locke was shutout for the third straight time.
- Rookie Paul Crowder and sophomore defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti are tied with Locke for second on the team in scoring with six points in six games. Sanguinettie leads the team with a +4.
- After playing in each of the Pack’s first six games — and not especially well — Nigel Williams took a seat in the press box to make room for David Urquhart.
2. SPR Linglet, (2) (Wiseman, Armstrong), 0:57
3. SPR Linglet, (3) (Fretter, Minard), 8:33
3. HFD Sauer, (1) (Crowder, Owens), 10:02 (SH)
Grachev – Rissmiller – Parenteau
Byers – Locke – Weise
Dupont – Crowder – Owens
Soryal – Arnason – Ambuhl
Heikkinen – Sanguinetti
Potter – Henley
Sauer – Urquhart
Wiikman / Johnson
1. Devan Dubnyk
2. Charles Linglet
3. Michael Sauer
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