By Zachary Grenier
Hartford, CT, November 16, 2014 – The Hartford Wolf Pack suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss at home Sunday afternoon against the Manchester Monarchs, 4-3. The loss was the third in a row (0-2-1-0) for the Wolf Pack, and gave the Monarchs their fifth consecutive win.
Hartford drew first blood when Chris Bourque ripped a one-timer, off of a Tomas Kaberle pass, that beat Manchester goaltender Patrik Bartosak over his shoulder, on a 5-on-3 power-play at 6:35 of the first.
“I think we were fortunate in the first period there, we got the quick 5-on-3 goal and we had a lot of power-play opportunities,” said Wolf Pack coach Ken Gernander. “I think we kind of fooled ourselves or got tricked in to playing like we were constantly on the power play. We were getting away from any type of physical battles, finishing hits, forechecking, that type of thing, and just trying to do things through finesse and puck skills rather than some of the hard work.”
Manchester answered back with a goal of their own with 3:57 remaining in the first. Sean Backman fired a shot off of the post and the puck sat in the crease behind Hartford goaltender Mackenzie Skapski. Michael Mersch was the man in the right place, who was able to send the puck in to the back of the net for his second goal of the season.
It did not take long for the scoring to get going in the second period, as Manchester’s Nick Shore was able to get a bouncing puck past Skapski for his 13th point of the season just 2:29 into the period.
With just under five minutes gone in the second, the Wolf Pack power-play unit came up with another goal to tie the game at two. It was Kaberle again on the assist; this one on a shot on goal that was deflected by the stick of 6-4 left winger Justin Vaive.
“Justin Vaive I thought had a great night,” said Gernander. “He was one guy that wanted to get in on the forecheck and create those board battles or finish hits, and I think he did a nice job net-front. He has been doing a good job net-front on the PP and he got rewarded for it again.”
J.T. Miller gave the Pack a 3-2 lead heading in to the third, when he deflected Michael Kostka’s wrist shot from the right face-off dot past Bartosak. That goal lifted Miller into the Wolf Pack team points lead (5-8-13), one point up on Oscar Lindberg.
Manchester’s Jordan Weal tied the game up with 8:50 left in the third period, on a power-play goal. The goal came off of a Nic Dowd shot, as the rebound kicked to the side of the net and Weal jammed it home for his 14th point of the season, good for a tie for the Monarch team lead.
“We gave up that power-play goal in the third, and then from that point on I think, until the overtime, we really stopped making plays,” said Gernander. “We just allowed them to come at us, and I thought [Skapski] did a nice job in net. In overtime I think it was a little too much high-risk/high-reward type of hockey.”
In overtime, Skapski made some huge saves that kept the Pack alive for a while. It was not until there was 1:03 left in overtime that Brian O’Neill was able to find the back of the net to give the Monarchs their tenth win of the season. O’Neill patiently handled the puck in front of the net and was able to beat a sliding Skapski, who desperately threw his leg up in the air.
“If a player gets that kind of patience, then most of the time they’re going to capitalize on it because really they can do whatever they want to do,” said Skapski.
Skapski stopped 36 of the 40 shots that he faced in Hartford’s third loss of the weekend.
“We got one point, but that is another point that we need,” said Skapski.
The Wolf Pack are back on home ice this Wednesday, November 19, hosting the Syracuse Crunch in a 7:00 PM game. That is a “Winning Wednesday”, as if the Wolf Pack win, each fan receives a free ticket to the Wolf Pack’s next home game, which is this Saturday, November 22 vs. Bridgeport. Wednesday’s game is also the next chance for fans to take advantage of the Wolf Pack’s “Click It or Ticket Family Value Packs”, which feature two tickets, two sodas and two hot dogs, all for only $35.
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.
Manchester Monarchs 4 (OT) at Hartford Wolf Pack 3
Sunday, November 16, 2014 – XL Center
Manchester 1 1 1 1 – 4
Hartford 1 2 0 0 – 3
1st Period-1, Hartford, C. Bourque 5 (Kaberle, Miller), 6:35 (PP). 2, Manchester, Mersch 2 (Backman, Dowd), 16:07. Penalties-Weal Mch (hooking), 5:41; Miller Mch (closing hand on puck), 6:17; Forbort Mch (delay of game), 7:57; Van der Gulik Mch (closing hand on puck), 10:02.
2nd Period-3, Manchester, Shore 8 (Ebert, O’Neill), 2:29. 4, Hartford, Vaive 3 (Kaberle, C. Bourque), 4:55 (PP). 5, Hartford, Miller 5 (Kostka, R. Bourque), 10:28. Penalties-Weal Mch (hooking), 4:05; Vaive Hfd (hooking), 7:06; Schultz Mch (hooking), 19:14; Kristo Hfd (diving/embellishment), 19:14.
3rd Period-6, Manchester, Weal 6 (Dowd, Miller), 12:10 (PP). Penalties-Haggerty Hfd (delay of game), 10:51.
OT Period-7, Manchester, O’Neill 4 (Shore, Backman), 5:57. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Manchester 10-9-14-7-40. Hartford 4-9-8-6-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Manchester 1 / 2; Hartford 2 / 5.
Goalies-Manchester, Bartosak 3-1-0 (27 shots-24 saves). Hartford, Skapski 3-1-0 (40 shots-36 saves).
Referees-Terry Koharski (10), Jamie Koharski (84).
Linesmen-Brent Colby (7), Glen Cooke (6).