HARTFORD, CT – Wolf Pack defenseman Corey Potter had never had two goals in a game as a pro — until Friday night.
Potter scored twice in 73 seconds early in the second period and later assisted on Patrick Rissmiller’s goal as the Hartford Wolf Pack beat the Lake Erie Monsters 6-2 before 3,815 at the XL Center Friday night.
The six goals tied a season high for the Wolf Pack (27-21-2-3) and prevented them from losing three in a row in regulation for the first time this season.
“The object is to play our game and take it to them, not sit back, and we did that pretty well,” Potter said. “We got pucks deep and did well on our forecheck. And the main thing was we got a lot of shots on net, which is something we’ve been working on. Overall, it was a pretty good effort.”
After the game, it was announced wing Sean Avery will make his Wolf Pack debut tonight against the Manitoba Moose. Avery is with the Wolf Pack after being assigned by the Dallas Stars on Tuesday as he tries to resume his NHL career. The Stars, who signed Avery to a four-year, $15.5 million contract in the offseason, have said Avery will not return to the team. Avery played the last 11/2 seasons with the New York Rangers, the parent club of the Wolf Pack.
“He feels ready and healthy,” Wolf Pack coach Ken Gernander said of Avery, who hasn’t played since Nov. 30. “There have been no issues, so we don’t feel we’re putting him at any risk for injury. So if he’s ready to go, we’re going to get him in there.”
Gernander was generally pleased with the Wolf Pack’s final pre-Avery game.
“I think we had a few too many penalties, but other than that, it was a pretty decent game,” Gernander said. “We’ll take offense from all sources. The last few games, we haven’t managed to break 30 shots. They’ve been hard to come by, so you have to exploit all your resources.”
The Wolf Pack, hosting the second-year Monsters for the first time, dominated the first period with a 16-8 shot advantage but emerged with only a 1-0 lead thanks to the work of Monsters goalie Jason Bacashihua. Bacashihua made two brilliant saves on P.A. Parenteau and then stopped a close-in bid by Tomas Zaborsky, reassigned to the Wolf Pack earlier in the day from Dayton of the ECHL. Zaborsky, the Rangers’ fifth-round pick in 2006, had one assist in two games with the Wolf Pack last season.
But the Wolf Pack took the lead for good on a power play on a brilliant effort by Artem Anisimov, who dove to lift a rebound of fellow All-Star Bobby Sanguinetti’s shot from the right point over Bacashihua for his 23rd goal at 16:36.
Matt Zaba (22 saves) kept the Wolf Pack ahead when he stopped Phil Dupuis’ breakaway 42 seconds into the second period, then Potter got his two quick goals to break the game open. First, Potter took a pass from Patrick Rissmiller and fired a shot from the left point that deflected off Monsters defenseman Aaron MacKenzie and past Bacashihua at 4:17. Then Potter’s seemingly harmless shot from the right point during a power play slipped between Bacashihua’s legs for a 3-0 lead at 5:30.
Bacashihua (33 saves) stopped Mike Ouellette’s shorthanded breakaway at 9:05, but Greg Moore converted Devin DiDiomete’s rebound to make it 4-0 at 13:22.
The Monsters broke Zaba’s shutout bid on a 5-on-3 power play when Tom Fritsche banked in a shot off the Wolf Pack goalie at 6:28 of the third period. But on an ensuing 4-on-4, Potter passed into the slot to Rissmiller, who scored from 35 feet for a 5-1 lead at 7:52.
P.A. Parenteau scored his 23rd goal on a power play with 3:13 left, completing a three-way passing play with former Monsters defenseman Vladimir Denisov and Anisimov. Chris Durno got credit for the game’s final goal when DiDiomete knocked a rebound past Zaba with 57 seconds left.
Lake Erie 0 0 2 — 2
Hartford 1 3 2 — 6
First period: 1. Hfd, Anisimov 23 (Sanguinetti, Parenteau), 16:36, pp; Penalties: Sauer, Hfd (holding), 3:10; DiDiomete, Hfd (cross-checking), 5:47; Williams, LE (holding), 9:06; Weise, Hfd (hooking), 13:28; McCutcheon, LE (holding), 16:19.
Second period: 2. Hfd, Potter 5 (Rissmiller), 4:17; 3. Hfd, Potter 6 (Sanguinetti, Pyatt), 5:30, pp; 4. Hfd, Moore 16 (DiDiomete, Denisov), 13:22; Penalties: Served by Aspenlind LE (bench minor – too many men), 5:00; Vernace, LE (hooking), 5:30; Galiardi, LE (roughing), 8:27; DiDiomete, Hfd (elbowing, roughing), 8:27; Hendricks, LE (unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:09; McCutcheon, LE (roughing), 14:09; Sertich, LE (roughing), 14:09; Sugden, Hfd (roughing, roughing, misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct 75.4), 14:09; McCutcheon, LE (fighting), 20:00; DiDiomete, Hfd (roughing, fighting), 20:00.
Third period: 5. LE, Fritsche 9 (Campbell), 6:28, pp; 6. Hfd, Rissmiller 6 (Potter, Sauer), 7:52; 7. Hfd, Parenteau 23 (Denisov, Anisimov), 16:47; 8. LE, Durno 13, 19:03; Penalties: Pyatt, Hfd (holding), 2:41; Hendricks, LE (fighting), 6:01; Denisov, Hfd (charging, fighting), 6:01; Ouellette, Hfd (delay of game), 6:06; Aspenlind, LE (tripping), 7:34; Aspenlind, LE (hooking), 10:03; Fahey, Hfd (hooking, unsportsmanlike conduct), 12:29; Dupuis, LE (hooking), 16:19.
Shots on goal: Lake Erie 8-7-9_24, Hartford 16-14-9_39; Power-play opportunities: Lake Erie 1-for-10, Hartford 3-for-8; Goalies: Lake Erie, Jason Bacashihua, 5-16-0-3 (39 shots-33 saves), Hartford, Matt Zaba, 11-7-0-0 (24-22); Referee: Shaun Davis; Linesmen: Glen Cooke, Kevin Redding; A: 3,815.