For the second game running the Hartford Wolf Pack surrendered a late tying goal and were forced to head to extra time on Friday night. Unlike Wednesday’s game in Newark, this time it was the host team, the Norfolk Admirals, who earned the extra point, scoring with 1:10 remaining in overtime to take a 3-2 victory in the first of back-to-back games between the two clubs.
Matt Zaba stopped 37 shots and deserves credit for earning the Pack the single standings point they walked away with.
The Admirals entered the game on a 6-0-1-1 streak, but it was the 1-4-0-1 Wolf Pack that came out faster, putting up a 14-7 shot advantage in the first period, thanks in part to a pair of early Norfolk penalties, including a four minute high-sticking minor. Norfolk rookie goaltender Jaroslav Janus held off the Pack’s attack, sending the two teams to the dressing rooms scoreless after twenty minutes.
Wednesday’s hero, Brodie Dupont, was whistled for hooking at 19:40 of the first period, leaving a minute and forty seconds of power play time for the Admirals to start the second frame. It was the Wolf Pack who got on the board in that time, however, converting on a shorthanded two-on-one when Corey Locke’s pass deflected off the Norfolk defenseman’s stick and over Janus’ shoulder just 52 seconds in.
It was another Norfolk power play, courtesty of a hooking call against Andres Ambuhl at 10:56, that allowed the Admirals to tie the score. Matt Fornataro fed a cross-ice pass to rookie Mitch Fadden, who tallied his third goal of the year with a perfect wrist shot, high to the glove side, from the right face off dot one minute into Ambuhl’s penalty.
As well as the Pack had played in the first period, Norfolk played that much better in the second. The home side finished frame with a 13-7 edge in shots, despite having given their visitors another pair of power play opportunities. The Wolf Pack power play finished a dismal 0-for-6 on the night, after capitalizing just once in seven tries on Wednesday.
Kenny Roche was a third round draft pick for the New York Rangers in 2003, but went unsigned after finishing his career at Boston University in 2007. The 26-year old has bounced around the AHL and ECHL since, even playing last season in Germany. But since his call-up nine games ago, Roche has picked up six points, including his second goal at 8:45 of the third period. After Zaba made a stunning save on Norfolk’s Juraj Simek the Wolf Pack countered. Jared Nightingale, who finished with two assists for his first career multi-point game, fed Evgeny Grachev, who pushed it up to Roche as he crossed the Admiral blue line. The Boston native pulled up and blasted a slap shot over Janus’ glove from the top of the left circle to give the Pack their second lead at 8:45 of the third.
The Wolf Pack had one of its five injured blueliners back on Friday — fourth year veteran Corey Potter — but the defense corps continued to be overmatched in this game. The Admirals poured on the pressure over the final half of the period, forcing the Wolf Pack to take a pair of penalties 1:57 apart, starting at 11:28. It was just ten seconds after the second expired that the Admirals knotted the score on Justin Keller’s deflection of Ryan McGinnis‘ point shot. The goal came with just 3:05 remaining in the third period.
The home team continued to outplay the Wolf Pack in the closing minutes of regulation, but Zaba showed flashes of the form that won him the starting job as a rookie last season and held off their attack through regulation and nearly four minutes of four-on-four overtime. The Admirals dominated the Pack in extra time, earning a 6-1 advantage in shots. Zaba had no chance on Norfolk’s final shot, though, a deflection by Paul Szczechrua on Matt Lashoff’s point shot, which gave the Admirals the victory at 3:50 of overtime.
The two teams get right back at it on Saturday night. Puck drops at 7:15pm.
Video highlights of the game are available from AHL Live.
- Captain Dane Byers assisted on Locke’s shorthanded goal, giving him six points (4+2) in his last eight games.
2. HFD Locke, (20) (Byers, Nightingale), 0:52 (SH)
2. NOR Fadden, (3) (Fornataro, Wishart), 11:56 (PP)
3. HFD Roche, (2) (Grachev, Nightingale), 8:45
3. NOR Keller, (8) (McGinnis, Szczechura), 16:55
OT. NOR Szczechura, (7) (Lashoff, Keller), 3:50
1. Paul Szczechura
2. Justin Keller
3. Kenny Roche
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