Hartford, CT, October 7, 2018 – Three late first-period goals would be all the Hartford Wolf Pack would need Sunday at the XL Center, as they improved to 2-0-0-0 on the season with a 3-1 victory over the Laval Rocket.
Michael Lindqvist and Ville Meskanen both scored their first North American pro goals for the Wolf Pack, and John Gilmour had the other Hartford goal, all within a span of 1:47, after Alexandre Grenier had staked the Rocket to a 1-0 lead.
The Wolf Pack killed two early penalties, but Laval would jump on top at 15:29, shortly after the first Hartford power play expired. Grenier drove a shot from the top of the right-wing circle that got by Wolf Pack goaltender Dustin Tokarski on the stick side.
Lindqvist answered 52 seconds later, at 16:21, when he poked in his own rebound, attacking the net along with Captain Cole Schneider.
Just 35 seconds after that, at 16:56, Meskanen also followed his own shot and buried a second opportunity, after Laval defenseman Cale Fleury had the puck get away from him deep in his own zone.
Then, at 18:08, just 1:12 after Meskanen’s goal, the Wolf Pack got a fortunate carom for a third goal. A shot from the right-wing side by Bobby Butler hit a Laval stick and deflected right to John Gilmour at the left side of the slot, and he easily beat Rocket goaltender Charlie Lindgren (14 saves).
“We learned from our mistakes early on, which is really good to see from this group and we were able to get the win,” Gilmour said.
Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge added, “Laval came up with a real heavy forecheck, and we had to find adjustments to be able to break out of our own zone. But once we did, we started to have an opportunity to play in the offensive end.”
Tokarski stopped 20 of 21 Laval shots and earned the First Star of the game against the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, one of his former teams. Tokarski, when asked about what it’s like be a veteran goaltender now on this Wolf Pack squad, responded, “You take it as a responsibility. You’re only young once and you do what you can to help the young guys improve and get where they want to be, which is the NHL.”
Tokarski found himself as the face of the penalty kill, when the Wolf Pack would bend and not break. McCambridge spoke very highly of his goaltender’s performance, “Anytime there were breakdowns he reacted well to them. He was just a calming veteran presence in net.”
Both teams found their special teams on the ice a decent amount, with Hartford going 0/6 on the power play and Laval going 0/4. Laval put on the pressure in the third, outshooting the Wolf Pack 13-2, but Tokarski and his Hartford teammates held onto their 3-1 lead, as they shut down the Rocket.
The Wolf Pack’s next action is their first road game of the season this Wednesday night, October 10, when the Wolf Pack travel to the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton to take on the Binghamton Devils. Faceoff is 7:05, and 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 theahl.com/AHLTV.
The next Wolf Pack home game is this Friday, October 12, a 7:15 PM contest vs. the Providence Bruins. As at all Friday-night Wolf Pack home games, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs, and $2 beers and fountain sodas, through the start of the second period, presented by Nomads Adventure Quest.
Tickets for all 2018-19 Wolf Pack home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. Tickets purchased in advance for kids 12 or younger start at just $13 each, and all tickets will have a $3 day-of-game increase.
Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2018-19 AHL season can be found on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com. To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.