Illka Heikkinen scored with 1.2 seconds to go in regulation to spoil Kevin Lalande’s shutout bid, but it wasn’t enough for the Wolf Pack, which fell 2-1 to the Syracuse Crunch in Syracuse. I skipped this one in favor of a trip to the Garden to watch the Rangers lose (again) so Bob Crawford’s report from the road follows below.
The Pack have a busy week ahead as the team will play its first four-game-in-five-nights stretch — all against divisional opponents. Wednesday they’ll travel to Lowell to face the Baby Devils, who are currently tied with Manchester for the top spot in the division, four points ahead of the Pack. Friday and Saturday bring games against sixth place Portland and cellar-dwelling Providence at the XL Center in Hartford. The team wraps up the weekend on Sunday with a short ride south to Bridgeport, where the Sound Tigers are starting the week tied with Hartford for fourth in the division with 23 points.
Syracuse Crunch 2, Hartford Wolf Pack 1
Syracuse, NY, November 21, 2009 – The Syracuse Crunch, who came into the game with an AHL-low 14 points, defeated the Hartford Wolf Pack, 2-1, in AHL action Saturday night at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Kevin Lalande came within 1.2 seconds of a shutout in the Syracuse net, making 22 saves, and the Crunch got goals from Maksim Mayorov and Kevin Harvey. Ilkka Heikkinen scored the lone Wolf Pack goal.
The loss snapped a four-game points streak (3-0-0-1) for the Wolf Pack, and it was only their second regulation loss in the last 10 games (7-2-0-1).
Syracuse, which had lost three straight coming into the game, had the edge in play in a scoreless first period, although shots on goal were even at eight apiece.
The Crunch controlled even more of the action in the second period, enjoying a 12-5 shots advantage, and opened the scoring at 5:18, as Mayorov victimized the Hartford power play with a shorthanded goal.
Rushing down the right-wing side, Mayorov beat Wolf Pack goaltender Chad Johnson with a perfectly-placed shot over the catching glove.
Syracuse made it a 2-0 lead at 13:40, eight seconds after the Packâ€™s Corey Potter got out of the penalty box.
Nick Holden drove a low shot from the right point, and Harvey deflected it past Johnson.
The Wolf Pack got the only goal of the third period, a shorthander,, but it came with only 1.2 seconds left. With Johnson on the bench for an extra attacker, Heikkinen beat Lalande from the slot on the glove side, after Corey Locke dropped the puck to Heikkinen from the right-wing circle. The goal was Heikkinen’s fifth of the season.
The loss dropped the Wolf Pack to 11-8-0-1 (23 points) on the year.
Hartford Wolf Pack 1 At Syracuse Crunch 2
Nov 21, 2009 – Onondaga County War Memorial at Oncenter
Hartford 0 0 1 – 1
Syracuse 0 2 0 – 2
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Harvey Syr (tripping), 3:53; Heikkinen Hfd (tripping), 6:43; Weise Hfd (roughing), 11:37; Picard Syr (roughing), 11:37.
2nd Period-1, Syracuse, Mayorov 3 (Reese), 5:18 (sh). 2, Syracuse, Harvey 2 (Holden, LaVallee-Smotherman), 13:40. Penalties-Mirasty Syr (roughing), 3:28; Potter Hfd (holding), 11:32.
3rd Period-3, Hartford, Heikkinen 5 (Locke, Weise), 19:58 (sh). Penalties-Garlock Hfd (roughing), 6:17; Harvey Syr (roughing), 6:17; Sanguinetti Hfd (tripping), 19:18.
Shots on Goal: Hartford 8-5-10-23. Syracuse 8-12-4-24.
Power Play Opportunities: Hartford 0 of 2; Syracuse 0 of 3.
Goalies: Hartford, Johnson 8-5-1 (24 shots-22 saves). Syracuse, Lalande 3-4-1 (23 shots-22 saves).
Referees: Chris Cozzan (68).
Linesmen: Jeff Walker (28), Brian Lemon (25).
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