By Zack Grenier
Hartford, CT, December 11, 2014 – Chris Bourque scored two goals, and Justin Vaive had a goal and an assist, Thursday night at the XL Center, to lead the Hartford Wolf Pack to a 3-2 victory over the Albany Devils.
Marek Hrivik had two assists for Hartford, and Cedrick Desjardins made 32 saves. Reid Boucher and Rod Pelley scored the Devil goals, and Eric Baier had two assists.
Hartford drew first blood only 3:43 into the game, when Bourque scored his team-leading tenth goal of the season. Hrivik showed some good patience to draw Albany goaltender Scott Clemmensen (30 saves) out of his net and fired a shot. Clemmensen came up with a big save, but Bourque came in and dug the puck away from Clemmensen, who was at the bottom of the faceoff circle.
“That’s sometimes the hardest message to get across, is that your overall game is what we’re being judged on,” said Hartford coach Ken Gernander. “You have to be a good fit for your teammates and doing all of the team things first. If you do that, for the most part, you’ll get rewarded in the end.”
Only 53 seconds later, the Pack sent their power-play unit to the ice. It was Hrivik notching his second assist of the game, when he found Vaive backdoor at 6:35, to extend the Hartford lead to two.
“I just tried to hit his stick between the d-man’s legs,” said Hrivik. “Vaiver [Vaive] didn’t see the puck, but I just thought that I have to hit his stick and he’ll put it in.”
The Devils were not going to go away that easily, as they found the back of the net with 8:37 left in the first period. Eric Baier fired a slap shot from the blue line, with a lot of traffic in front of Desjardins, and Boucher tipped the shot past the blocker side.
“I think we just have to stay on the gas,” said Vaive. “We had a good start, a good second, and just all around as a team we have to keep bringing the pressure to them so they can’t quick transition on us.”
With 8:07 left in the second period, Bourque found the back of the net for the second time in the game. Bourque fired a wrist shot on the power play from the right faceoff circle to give the Pack a 3-1 lead. The shot beat Clemmensen in a very small opening over his glove-side shoulder.
“I just saw the D stuck in the corner there, so I took it to the net a little bit and tried to shoot at his glove and luckily it went in,” said Bourque.
The Devils made it a one goal game at the nine-minute mark of the third, when Pelley had a rebound kick to him at the bottom of the faceoff circle. Ben Thomson threw the puck at the net from the corner and it kicked off of the pad of Desjardins to Pelley. Pelley snapped a wrist shot over the glove of Desjardins for his second goal of the season.
The Pack were able to hold on in the end, despite a few late chances from the Devils’ offense with under two minutes to play.
“Whenever you play against a team in your division it’s a huge game,” said Bourque. “To get two points tonight is really going to help us out in the long run.”
The Wolf Pack are right back at the XL Center Friday night, hosting the Worcester Sharks in a 7:00 PM game. Friday is the Wolf Pack’s annual “Teddy Bear Toss”–fans are encouraged to bring new soft toys to the game, and heave them on to the ice when the Wolf Pack score their first goal. The toys collected will be donated to Toys for Tots. Also, all Friday-night Wolf Pack home games feature $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period.
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.
Albany Devils 2 at Hartford Wolf Pack 3
Thursday, December 11, 2014 – XL Center
Albany 1 0 1 – 2
Hartford 2 1 0 – 3
1st Period-1, Hartford, C. Bourque 10 (Hrivik, Malone), 3:43. 2, Hartford, Vaive 6 (Hrivik, Allen), 6:35 (PP). 3, Albany, Boucher 5 (Baier, Fraser), 11:23. Penalties-Black Alb (goaltender interference), 4:36; Thompson Alb (holding), 8:11; C. Bourque Hfd (roughing), 14:42; Lindberg Hfd (high-sticking), 15:44; Faust Alb (interference), 19:00.
2nd Period-4, Hartford, C. Bourque 11 (Vaive, Haggerty), 11:53 (PP). Penalties-McIlrath Hfd (tripping), 1:39; Faust Alb (holding), 11:14.
3rd Period-5, Albany, Pelley 2 (Thomson), 9:00. Penalties-C. Bourque Hfd (tripping), 6:31; Whitney Alb (holding), 19:12; served by Boucher Alb (bench minor – too many men), 19:52.
Shots on Goal-Albany 14-10-11-35. Hartford 12-10-11-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Albany 0 / 4; Hartford 2 / 6.
Goalies-Albany, Clemmensen 1-3-1 (33 shots-30 saves). Hartford, Desjardins 6-3-1 (35 shots-33 saves).
Referees-Jonathan Alarie (38), Jamie Koharski (84).
Linesmen-Jim Briggs (83), Brent Colby (7).