Pack Splits With Toronto

Toronto, Ontario – The Hartford Wolf Pack had a 3-2 lead after two periods against the Toronto Marlies Sunday at Ricoh Coliseum, but Toronto scored three times in the third for a 5-3 win, in the second of back-to-back games between the two teams.

The Wolf Pack had taken the opener of the two-game set Saturday, winning 3-2.

Nicklas Jensen had a goal and an assist for the Wolf Pack Sunday, and John Gilmour and Chris Brown also scored, but Kerby Rychel and Kasperi Kapanen had a goal and two assists each for the Marlies, and Brendan Leipsic had a goal and an assist.

Milan Michalek tied the score at three for Toronto 2:33 into the third period, poking the puck past Wolf Pack goaltender Magnus Hellberg (32 saves), after he stopped a Colin Smith shot.

Then, at 7:47, Rich Clune scored what would turn out to be the game-winner on a rebound. Andrew Campbell sent the puck from the right point to Rychel along the boards, and he banged a low shot on net that Hellberg stopped. Clune was unguarded to Hellberg’s left, though, and he was easily able to slip in the rebound on his forehand.

Leipsic iced the game with an empty-net power play goal with 10.9 seconds left, after Philip McRae had been called for boarding at 19:27.

The Wolf Pack had gotten the early jump in Sunday’s first period, scoring twice in the first 3:35.

First, in a four-on-four situation, Adam Tambellini won an offensive zone faceoff and got the puck to Jensen, who made a strong move toward the front of the net. Marlie goaltender Garret Sparks (30 saves) stopped Jensen’s hard shot but couldn’t control the rebound, and Gilmour, sneaking down from the blue line, one-handed the loose puck just inside the goal post to Sparks’ right.

That goal came at 1:59, and just 1:36 later, at 3:35, Jensen made it a 2-0 Wolf Pack advantage on a power play. Jensen worked the puck away from Rinat Valiev just inside the Hartford line and broke into the Marlie zone. He cut from right to left across the middle and used Justin Holl as a screen, to fire a drive that Sparks got a piece of but could not stop.

The Marlies clicked for a pair of power-play goals in the second period, though, to wipe out that deficit.

Kapanen put Toronto on the board only 38 seconds into the second, with Robin Kovacs off for slashing, a penalty that carried over from the first period. Kapanen took a feed from Brendan Leipsic and ripped a snap shot from the right faceoff dot past Hellberg on the long side.

Then, with Tanner Glass off for tripping, Rychel scored on a deflection at 9:25 to tie the score. Andrew Nielsen’s shot from the top of the slot hit Rychel and re-directed past Hellberg’s stick side.

The Wolf Pack responded only 2:20 after that, however, with Brown putting Hartford back on top with an unassisted goal. Brown broke up a Leipsic pass in the Wolf Pack zone and carried all the way into the Marlie end, unloading a backhand shot off of left wing that hit Sparks but came loose underneath the Toronto netminder, who inadvertently kicked the puck into the net with his left skate.

Next up for the Wolf Pack is a home game this Wednesday, December 7, a 7:00 PM contest vs. the Springfield Thunderbirds at the XL Center. That is another “Click It or Ticket Family Value Pack” game. The Family Value Pack includes two tickets, two sodas and two hot dogs, all for just $40.

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