Hartford, CT, February 28, 2015 – Chris Mueller scored twice for the Hartford Wolf Pack Saturday night at the XL Center, but Andrew Ebbett’s overtime goal gave the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins a 3-2 win.
Mueller twice brought the Wolf Pack back from one-goal deficits, and his 10th goal of the season at 11:17 of the third period sent the game to overtime. Ebbett, though, connected on a breakaway at 2:27 of the extra session, after being sent away by a pass from Brian Dumoulin.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton also got goals from Reid McNeill and Jayson Megna. Jeff Zatkoff got the win with 29 saves. Yann Danis stopped 26 shots in the Wolf Pack net.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton struck first 1:54 in to the second period, when Dominik Uher battled the puck out on the boards and found McNeill at the left point. McNeill fired a slap shot from just inside the blue line past Danis for his second goal of the season.
Mueller was able to tie the game at one on a power play at the six-minute mark. Mueller sent a wrist shot toward Zatkoff’s glove side and Zatkoff was able to get a piece of the puck with his elbow, but the puck found the back of the net to give Mueller his ninth goal of the season.
“It was a good play all around,” said Hartford coach Ken Gernander. “Lindy [Oscar Lindberg] was strong on the faceoff, (Matt) Bodie took center ice, moved it to Chris [Bourque], he found a seam, and Muells [Mueller] with a good shot. He (Zatkoff0 got a piece of it but it made it to the back of the net.”
With nine seconds remaining in the second period, Megna was able to put away a bouncing puck in front to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead.
“Yanny [Danis] made the first save and the guy just whacked it and it found the back of the net; not much you can do about it,” said Mueller.
Mueller struck again at 11:17 of the third period, 28 seconds after a spirited fight between the Wolf Pack’s Dylan McIlrath and Pierre-Luc Leblond, to tie the game at two. It was Michael Kostka who fired a slap shot on net that led to a rebound opportunity. Mueller grabbed the rebound and skated it to Zatkoff’s glove side and beat him for his second goal of the game.
“When someone does that, puts themselves on the line and fights a tough guy like that, you want to do whatever you can to show him that you appreciate it,” said Mueller.
The Penguins pulled out the overtime victory when Ebbett was sprung free on a breakaway. Ebbett fired a wrist shot through the five-hole of Danis to give him his thirteenth goal of the season.
“You’re going to get chances and you have to be opportunistic,” said Mueller. “Andrew Ebbett is a hell of a hockey player and when he gets a breakaway he’s not going to miss many times, and they capitalized and we didn’t. So we would like it back but that’s hockey, and hopefully we’ll get those chances again Friday night and we can bury them.”