Hartford, CT, January 20, 2017 – Boo Nieves scored twice for the Hartford Wolf Pack Friday night at the XL Center, but Brett Findlay netted a natural hat trick and Andrew Nielsen had two goals and an assist for the Toronto Marlies, who defeated the Wolf Pack by a score of 7-4.
Just over a minute into the period, Wolf Pack defenseman Ryan Graves was whistled for a delay of game penalty. Only 17 seconds later, at 1:41, Nielsen fired a shot that makes its way past Wolf Pack starting goaltender Brandon Halverson.
Nielsen scored again at 8:38, off of a drop pass from Colin Greening, causing Wolf Pack head coach Ken Gernander to use his time out. The Wolf Pack then responded just 22 seconds later, as center Steven Fogarty deposited an unassisted one-time goal past Marlie netminder Garret Sparks to cut Toronto’s lead in half.
That set the stage for a wild second period that saw the teams combine for six goals, five of them in the first 7:02 of the period.
The Marlies began the second period a man up and took quick advantage, with Andreas Johnsson tipping in a Byron Froese shot at the 21-second mark.
Just 1:20 later, at 1:41, the Marlies continued to build their momentum, as Richard Clune set up Trevor Moore from behind the net for an easy wrister past Halverson.
Following the fourth goal, Gernander made the decision to replace Halverson with Mackenzie Skapski. Halverson finished the night with eleven saves.
After the goalie substitution, Nieves would get the next two goals of the game, the first on a shot from the slot off of an Adam Tambellini pass at 4:16. Then, with the Wolf Pack shorthanded, Nieves buried a Mat Bodie feed at 6:55, to cut Toronto’s lead to 4-3.
On the same power play, and just seven seconds later, however, the Marlies answered right back, on Findlay’s first goal, and first AHL point of the season, at 7:02.
After that scoring burst, the next goal did not come until the 17:41 mark, when Kerby Rychel, who would finish the night with four assists, set up Findlay for his second of the game.
Findlay finished the hat trick only 2:20 into the third period, deflecting an Eric Faille pass behind Skapski.
Matt Carey got that one back for Hartford with 59.6 seconds left, deflecting a shot by Steven Kampfer from the right point into the Toronto net, making the final 7-4.
“Playing from behind is something that we’ve gotten too used to this year,” Nieves said. “Playing from behind has become too natural for us. Every single guy on the team needs to dig a little deeper and find something.”