Hartford, CT, October 13, 2017 – Boo Nieves had the game-winning goal and an assist, and Scott Kosmachuk added three assists, as the Hartford Wolf Pack downed the Toronto Marlies 5-2 Friday night at the XL Center.
The Wolf Pack scored early, a developing trend for the team, thanks to Adam Tambellini and assists from Nieves and Kosmachuk. That goal occurred at 5:07 of the first period, and it was on the team’s first shot on goal of the game. After a series of penalties, the Wolf Pack was outshot in the first period 11-5.
The second period started uneventfully, but it did not stay that way for long. At 6:29, the Wolf Pack’s Matt Puempel changed the tone of the game by putting the rebound of his own shot past Toronto goaltender Garret Sparks (25 saves), making the score 2-0. Ryan Graves and Alexei Bereglazov were credited with the assists.
After Dmytro Timashov was sent off for high-sticking at 8:55, the Wolf Pack had a power play opportunity they did not squander. Nieves backhanded the puck past Sparks at 10:49, with assists from Joe Whitney and Kosmachuk, upping the Hartford lead to 3-0.
At the beginning of the third, however, it seemed like Friday the 13th had finally caught up to the Wolf Pack. Kasperi Kapanen ended Hartford goaltender Chris Nell’s shutout bid on a shot from the left circle at 1:21, and just 45 seconds later, at 2:06, Vincent LoVerde scored shorthanded on a nearly rink-length solo rush.
With the score suddenly 3-2, the visitors were relentless around the Hartford goal. Tensions started to rise with Kosmachuk and Kapanen shoving a little before Kosmachuk was sent to the box for roughing at 6:17. It was brought to a head with a fight between Eric Selleck and Toronto’s Mason Marchment at 10:09, as a result of a hard hit by Marchment on Neal Pionk.
For a split second it looked like the game was going to turn in the Marlies’ favor when a shot went off the goal post to the right of Nell (25 saves) with about a minute and a half remaining.
The Marlies had pulled Sparks with 2:04 left, but that backfired on them, as Cole Schneider scored an empty-netter with an assist from Kosmachuk with 37.9 seconds left. Then, with one second remaining in the game and Sparks again on the bench, Whitney added an unassisted goal for a 5-2 final.
Kosmachuk said, “It’s a matter of keeping it simple, not getting fancy. I think myself, personally, I need to say out of the box. We built off last game and we’re going to do it again tomorrow.”
Head coach Keith McCambridge said of Nell, “Any time you’re going to have a chance to win a hockey game, your goal tender has to play strong. He had a real strong game tonight.”
Filip Chytil is, who only turned 18 September 5, made his Wolf Pack debut Friday, the youngest player to play on an AHL team since Mario Tremblay in October of 1974 with Nova Scotia. Chytil had two penalties called against him, but McCambridge said, “You can see the skill level. I thought there were some good strong points to his game, but some areas you need to develop as well.”
The Wolf Pack are back in action Saturday night, traveling to Springfield for their first road game of the season, a 7:05 PM matchup with the Thunderbirds. All of the action can be heard live on News Radio 1410 WPOP, and on-line at www.newsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.
The next Wolf Pack home game is next Friday night, October 20, when the Belleville Senators invade the XL Center. Faceoff is 7:15 PM, and, as at all Friday-night Wolf Pack home games, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period, presented by Dave & Buster’s.