Pack Crunches ‘Cuse In OT

Hartford, CT – Adam Tambellini and Nicklas Jensen scored shootout goals, and Brandon Halverson made 26 saves and went 2-for-2 in the shootout, Friday night at the XL Center, as the Hartford Wolf Pack broke an 0-4-0-1 streak with a 2-1 win over the Syracuse Crunch.

Brian Hart scored for Syracuse and Adam Wilcox made 28 saves.

“I thought we were tight defensively, they put a little bit of pressure on us in the third, and Halverson made some big saves,” Wolf Pack head coach Ken Gernander said. “We had some great individual efforts in the shootout, and overall lots of good signs.”

All the offense in regulation came in a 15-second span early in the first period.

The Crunch drew first blood, scoring just two minutes and thirty seconds into the opening frame. Syracuse’s Adam Erne drilled a slap-shot from the left side off of Halverson’s pads and onto the waiting stick of Hart, who easily flicked the puck into the top-right corner of Halverson’s net, giving the Crunch an early 1-0, lead.

The Wolf Pack responded almost immediately, though, as Robin Kovacs found a streaking Tambellini with a centering pass, and after a quick stride, the center fired a snap shot just inside the post to Wilcox’ right at 2:45, to tie the game at a goal apiece.

Neither goaltender would yield anything further throughout the rest of regulation and overtime, but the Wolf Pack would make quick work of the shootout.

After Halverson stopped Tanner Richard on the Crunch’s first shot, Tambellini scored on Wilcox. Halverson then made a pad save on Yanni Gourde. That gave Jensen a chance to win the game, which he did, reaching around Wilcox to poke a backhanded bid off of the goal post and in.

“I was just fortunate to get the goalie to move,” Jensen said of his shootout trickery. “I’m always nervous, thinking he might read me, but the most important thing is that we got the win. We needed that to turn things around.”

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