Syracuse, NY, December 5, 2014 – After spotting the Syracuse Crunch a 5-0 first-period lead Friday night at the War Memorial Arena, the Hartford Wolf Pack mounted a furious comeback, but the Crunch held on for a 6-5 victory.
Mike Angelidis had two goals, including the game-winner, for Syracuse, and Vladislav Namestnikov had a goal and two assists. Chris Bourque and Danny Kristo had a goal and an assist each for the Wolf Pack, and Ryan Bourque had two assists.
“It’s definitely nice to see that we are capable of doing that,” Chris Bourque said of the Wolf Pack comeback, “but at the same time it’s disappointing that we put ourselves in that big of a hole to start the game. We definitely weren’t ready to play and it showed, 5-0 after the first, but a real good effort by the guys coming back and making it 6-5. It shows some resilience, and we didn’t give up until the final buzzer.”
The Syracuse first-period scoring parade started at the 59-second mark, after the Wolf Pack’s Marek Hrivik was called for boarding 32 seconds in. Namestnikov, in his first AHL game of the year after being assigned by parent-club Tampa Bay, knocked his own rebound past Wolf Pack starting goaltender Mackenzie Skapski, after a nice move by Jonathan Marchessault set up the play.
The Crunch then got a pair of goals in 18 seconds starting at the 3:26 mark, chasing Skapski (four saves) from the game.
Angelidis made it 2-0 Syracuse at 3:26, backhanding the puck in from Skapski’s left, after taking a feed from Yanni Gourde.
The lead grew to 3-0 at 3:44, with Joel Vermin scoring on a deflection. Nikita Nesterov wristed the puck at the net from the right point, and Vermin tipped it through Skapski’s pads.
That brought Cedrick Desjardins into the game, and the Crunch power play got one by him at 13:34, with Jake Dotchin scoring his first pro goal. Dylan Blujus set Dotchin up at the top of the left circle, and Dotchin’s one-timer beat Desjardins’ catching glove.
Gourde made it a five-goal lead with 3:26 remaining in the period, with his 10th of the season. Tanner Richard was able to shed a check behind the net, and Gourde got loose and banged Richard’s pass inside the post to Desjardins’ left.
After the first-period disaster, though, the Wolf Pack got right back into the game in the second, scoring three times.
Ryan Haggerty got Hartford on the board on a power play at 1:55, scoring for a second straight game. Haggerty kept the puck in the zone near the left point, and fired a shot that went through a Justin Vaive screen and got by Crunch goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis (30 saves).
Chad Nehring then got his first AHL point with a goal just 1:54 later, at 3:49, cutting the lead to 5-2. A Josh Nicholls bid went off of Gudlevskis’ chest, and Nehring batted it out of the air and into the net.
A Ryan Malone goal, his first in a Wolf Pack uniform, made it a 5-3 game at 9:37. After a Ryan Bourque’s shot hit the side of the net, the puck bounced to the right-wing side of the goalmouth, and Malone backhanded it off of Gudlevskis and in behind him.
The Wolf Pack surge continued early in the third period, with the Wolf Pack power play connecting at the 4:02 mark, with Luke Witkowski in the box for tripping. Chris Bourque grabbed the puck in the left-wing corner and fed it to Danny Kristo jamming the middle, and Kristo put a shot past Gudlevskis’ catching glove to make it a one-goal game.
Angelidis got the eventual game-winner only 2:09 later on a Syracuse power play, off of a goalmouth scramble. Namestnikov’s shot from the right point was stopped by Desjardins, but the Wolf Pack could never find the rebound, and Angelidis, while down on the ice in front of the net, was able to rap it in.
That goal loomed large, as the Wolf Pack responded 1:39 after that, at 7:50, with their third man-advantage goal of the game. With Witkowski off for unsportsmanlike conduct, Chris Bourque fired a shot from a sharp angle on left wing, and it got by Gudlevskis on the long side, underneath the catching glove.
The Wolf Pack exerted furious pressure in the final minute, with Desjardins on the bench for an extra attacker, but could never tie the score, despite a great chance for Ryan Bourque from the slot in the dying seconds. Bourque’s shot went over the net, and Syracuse survived to get the win.
The Wolf Pack are back on home ice Saturday night, with the Springfield Falcons visiting the XL Center for a 7:00 game. The first 5,000 fans into that game receive a free Wolf Pack car magnet.
Tickets for all 2014-15 Wolf Pack home games are now on sale at the XL Center ticket office, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. Wolf Pack tickets start as low as $12 for youth 12 years old or younger.
To speak with a Wolf Pack representative about season or group tickets, or any of the Wolf Pack’s many ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.
Hartford Wolf Pack 5 at Syracuse Crunch 6
Friday, December 5, 2014 – Onondaga County War Memorial Arena
Hartford 0 3 2 – 5
Syracuse 5 0 1 – 6
1st Period-1, Syracuse, Namestnikov 1 (Marchessault, Nesterov), 0:59 (PP). 2, Syracuse, Angelidis 7 (Smith, Gourde), 3:26. 3, Syracuse, Vermin 6 (Nesterov, Namestnikov), 3:44. 4, Syracuse, Dotchin 1 (Blujus, Richard), 13:34 (PP). 5, Syracuse, Gourde 10 (Richard, Paradis), 16:34. Penalties-Hrivik Hfd (boarding), 0:32; Paradis Syr (holding), 8:32; Vaive Hfd (tripping), 12:53; Jackson Hfd (interference), 17:16; McIlrath Hfd (roughing), 17:16; Paradis Syr (roughing), 17:16; served by Richard Syr (bench minor – too many men), 19:14.
2nd Period-6, Hartford, Haggerty 5 (Lindberg, R. Bourque), 1:55 (PP). 7, Hartford, Nehring 1 (Nicholls, Jackson), 3:49. 8, Hartford, Malone 1 (R. Bourque, Mueller), 9:37. Penalties-Koekkoek Syr (cross-checking), 0:58; R. Bourque Hfd (slashing), 11:52; Vaive Hfd (goaltender interference), 19:45.
3rd Period-9, Hartford, Kristo 6 (C. Bourque, Kostka), 4:02 (PP). 10, Syracuse, Angelidis 8 (Namestnikov, Marchessault), 6:11 (PP). 11, Hartford, C. Bourque 8 (Bodie, Kristo), 7:50 (PP). Penalties-Witkowski Syr (tripping), 2:08; Jackson Hfd (cross-checking), 4:47; Witkowski Syr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 6:49; Angelidis Syr (delay of game), 9:45.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 15-13-7-35. Syracuse 12-14-7-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 3 / 6; Syracuse 3 / 6.
Goalies-Hartford, Skapski 5-4-0 (7 shots-4 saves); Desjardins 5-3-0 (26 shots-23 saves). Syracuse, Gudlevskis 7-4-0 (35 shots-30 saves).
Referees-Michael Mullen (18), Jamie Koharski (84).
Linesmen-Andy Petrus (26), Chris Woodworth (17).