HARTFORD, CT – Several unwanted streaks continued for the Hartford Wolf Pack Friday night.
First, Barry Tallackson’s rebound goal with 5:02 left gave the Lowell Devils a 3-2 over the Wolf Pack before 3,634 at the XL Center.
It was the Wolf Pack’s third one-goal loss to the Devils (21-19-1-3), who had lost three in a row before beating Portland 2-1 Wednesday night. The Wolf Pack were 6-1-0-1 against the Devils last season.
“They like to play it close to the vest and keep it low scoring, and we didn’t do a very good job of forcing the issue in terms of dictating play, forechecking, putting pucks on the net, driving wide and paying the price,” Wolf Pack coach Ken Gernander said. “Too often we had one guy going and everyone else in a wait-and-see mode. We were content on watching the first guy do the work and hope.”
For the second time in a week, the Wolf Pack (22-18-2-3), who had won three of four, lost a chance to tie idle Providence for the Atlantic Division lead. And they might have lost rookie defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti for while. Sanguinetti lost two teeth when hit in the mouth by Brad Mills’ deflected shot with three minutes left in the second period. He didn’t return, will be reexamined by a dentist today and is questionable for the AHL All-Star Classic Sunday and Monday in Worcester.
“They’re a tough team to play against because they do a great job of getting sticks on the puck when you’re shooting,” said Wolf Pack center Tommy Pyatt, who had a goal and an assist. “It was a big game for us with first place at stake. It was right there in front of us, but we need a 60-minute game to get in that spot.
“We might have been pressing a bit, but I think we have to play a bit simpler. We were making a lot of difficult passes, and while (Devils goalie Jeff Frazee) was giving up some rebounds, we didn’t shoot the puck enough. Getting pucks on goal and driving the net usually seems to work pretty good, but now we have to come back (tonight at home against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton).”
Neither team seriously threatened until 13:39, when Frazee (28 saves) denied a wide-open Mike Ouellette from 20 feet in the slot. But Pyatt won the ensuing faceoff to Matthew Ford, who got the puck to the right point to Michael Sauer for a slapshot that beat a screened Frazee at 13:45. Ford was back with the Wolf Pack after being named MVP of the ECHL All-Star Game Wednesday after getting three goals and an assist in the American Conference’s 11-5 victory over the National Conference.
But a minute after Sauer’s goal, Ryan Murphy stole the puck from Mike Taylor behind the Wolf Pack net and scored on a wraparound to tie it at 1.
Early in the second period, with the Devils on their first power play, Matt Zaba (31 saves) made bang-bang stops on South Windsor native Jon DiSalvatore, the Devils’ leading scorer, and a rebound bid by Michael Swift.
The Wolf Pack nearly regained the lead, but Patrick Rissmiller shot wide while breaking in alone off the left wing at 11:35. The Devils’ Patrick Davis was stopped breaking in off right wing at 2:55 of third period, but moments later, defenseman Matt Fraser picked off a loose puck at the blueline and fired a shot that beat a screened Zaba at 3:02.
The Wolf Pack nearly tied it on their fifth power play, but Frazee made a scrambling save on Ouellette’s wraparound bid at 7:25. The Wolf Pack then failed on a 5-on-3 for 1:38, with Brodie Dupont’s deflection just sliding wide.
But on the ensuing 5-on-4, Pyatt converted Ouellette’s rebound to tie it at 12:03. Artem Anisinov got the second assist to extend his point streak to seven games on the day he was one of five substitutions named to the AHL All-Star Classic. Anisimov leads the Wolf Pack in goals (20) and is second in points (47), one behind P.A. Parenteau, who is not an All-Star despite starting the night third in the league in scoring. His eight-game point and assist streaks ended, along with a four-game goal streak.
But less than three minutes after Pyatt tied it, Tallackson converted a rebound by Alexander Vasyunov, a former teammate of Anisimov in Russia. The Wolf Pack pulled Zaba for a sixth attacker but couldn’t get the equalizer, falling to 0-2-0-1 against the Devils.
Lowell 1 0 2 — 3
Hartford 1 0 1 — 2
First period: 1. Hfd, Sauer 2 (Ford, Pyatt), 13:45; 2. Low, Murphy 7, 14:45; Penalties: DiSalvatore, Low (tripping), 10:44; Pyatt, Hfd (hooking), 19:31.
Second period: No scoring; Penalties: Mills, Low (fighting), 2:15; DiDiomete, Hfd (fighting), 2:15; Letourneau-Leblond, Low (fighting), 2:19; Sugden, Hfd (fighting), 2:19; Corrente, Low (holding), 5:43; Eckford, Low (high-sticking), 9:21; Urquhart, Hfd (delay of game), 11:50; Potter, Hfd (interference), 15:29; Davis, Low (tripping), 18:46; Potter, Hfd (interference), 19:34.
Third period: 3. Low, Fraser 2 (Davis, Gionta), 3:02; 4. Hfd, Pyatt 10 (Ouellette, Anisimov), 12:03, pp; 5. Low, Tallackson 6 (Vasyunov, Pelley), 14:48; Penalties: Mills, Low (cross-checking), 3:44; DiDiomete, Hfd (roughing), 3:44; Davis, Low (tripping), 5:39; Halischuk, Low (holding), 9:56; Pelley, Low (delay of game), 10:19; Spiller, Low (fighting), 16:33; Nightingale, Hfd (roughing, fighting), 16:33.
Shots on goal: Lowell 9-11-14_34, Hartford 8-9-13_30; Power-play opportunities: Lowell 0-for-5, Hartford 1-for-7; Goalies: Lowell, Frazee 16-7-1-2 (30 shots-28 saves), Hartford, Zaba 7-6-0-1 (34-31); Referee: Nygel Pelletier; Linesmen: Paul Simeon, Kevin Redding; A: 3,634.