Hartford, CT, December 14, 2014 – Chris Mueller scored at the 55-second mark of overtime Sunday at Webster Bank Arena, to give the Hartford Wolf Pack a 5-4 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, after the Wolf Pack had lost a 4-2 lead in the third period.
Ryan Bourque, who scored two goals in the game, set up the winning tally when he cut across the slot and threw the puck down low to Mueller, who deflected it into the net past the glove side of Bridgeport goaltender Kevin Poulin (30 saves). That was after Mueller, who also had two assists, won a faceoff in the Sound Tiger zone.
“I think the backchecking effort by Chris Bourque prior to the goal was a bit of character,” Wolf Pack coach Ken Gernander said of the winning overtime effort. “He made a huge defensive play on an odd-man rush they had in the overtime, then Muells (Mueller) with the big faceoff win, Bourquie (Ryan Bourque), nice pass to Muells, who found some available ice there at the side of the net.”
The win was the Wolf Pack’s fourth straight, equaling a team season high, and improved the club’s record to 15-9-2-1 for 33 points.
“We’ve got everybody chipping in, and we’re not dependent on one or two people to do it,” Gernander said. “When we’re successful as a team, it looks like everybody’s a much better player for it.”
Justin Vaive also scored twice in the game for the Wolf Pack, his first career AHL multiple-goal game, and Ryan Haggerty had two assists. Colton Gillies had a pair of goals for Bridgeport, and Justin Courtnall contributed two assists.
Down 4-2 entering the third, the Sound Tigers climbed to within one on a power-play goal at 6:25 of the third frame. Scooter Vaughn fired the puck into the net with Wolf Pack goaltender Cedrick Desjardins (28 saves) caught out of position, after Cory Conacher, playing his first AHL game of the season, swept the puck into the slot from the side of the net.
Gillies then tied it with his second of the game, with 5:20 remaining. Courtnall circled the net from right to left and wrapped the puck toward the front, and Gillies was just able to jam it between Desjardins and the post to his right.
That sent the game to overtime, and the Wolf Pack recovered to end the game on the only shot of the extra session. The OT victory was the Wolf Pack’s third of the season, and their second in the season series against Bridgeport.
A perfect cycling play by a line of Vaive, Haggerty and Oscar Lindberg led to the first goal of the game, at 4:22 of the first period. Haggerty worked the puck to Lindberg on the left-wing boards, and he fed a backhanded pass to Vaive, who snapped a quick shot past Poulin from the top of the circles.
The Sound Tigers answered just over four minutes later, at 8:24, on Brett Gallant’s first goal of the season. Chris Langkow won a draw back to Jesse Graham at the right point, and Desjardins stopped Graham’s shot, but Gallant pounced on the rebound between the hash marks and ripped it in.
A Wolf Pack faceoff win, though, led to a go-ahead goal at 12:10, the first of the game for Ryan Bourque. Mueller prevailed over Alan Quine in the faceoff circle, to work the puck to Dylan McIlrath at the middle of the blue line, and Bourque re-directed McIlrath’s shot through Poulin.
Bridgeport came back again to tie just eight seconds into the second period, with Gillies burying his first of the game, and second of the year. Desjardins stopped Courtnall’s shot from the right-wing side, but the rebound came off of Desjardins’ pads right to Gillies, and he easily found the net from the left side.
The Wolf Pack would get the next two goals, however, with both Vaive and Bourque getting their second goals of the game, just 2:37 apart.
Vaive scored just ten seconds into a holding penalty against Adam Pelech at 6:41, taking a pass along the goal line to Poulin’s right, stepping in front and backhanding the puck underneath Poulin’s left pad.
Then, at 9:18, Bourque picked up his second of the contest, as he drove the net and banged in the rebound of a Tommy Hughes shot. Hughes slapped it at the net from high in the slot, and Bourque found it coming hard off of Poulin’s pads.
The Wolf Pack’s next game is this Friday, December 19, as they host the Syracuse Crunch at the XL Center. Faceoff is 7:00 PM, and 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.
Hartford Wolf Pack 5 (OT) at Bridgeport Sound Tigers 4
Sunday, December 14, 2014 – Webster Bank Arena
Hartford 2 2 0 1 – 5
Bridgeport 1 1 2 0 – 4
1st Period-1, Hartford, Vaive 7 (Lindberg, Haggerty), 4:22. 2, Bridgeport, Gallant 1 (Graham, Langkow), 8:24. 3, Hartford, R. Bourque 5 (McIlrath, Mueller), 12:10. Penalties-Mouillierat Bri (hooking), 9:50; R. Bourque Hfd (tripping), 12:48; Desjardins Hfd (delay of game), 15:33.
2nd Period-4, Bridgeport, Gillies 2 (Courtnall, Mayfield), 0:08. 5, Hartford, Vaive 8 (Haggerty, Mueller), 6:41 (PP). 6, Hartford, R. Bourque 6 (Hughes, Saponari), 9:18. Penalties-Mueller Hfd (goaltender interference), 1:50; Poulin Bri (diving/embellishment), 1:50; Courtnall Bri (hooking), 6:31; Graham Bri (interference), 13:41.
3rd Period-7, Bridgeport, Vaughan 5 (Conacher, Zolnierczyk), 6:25 (PP). 8, Bridgeport, Gillies 3 (Courtnall, Sundstrom), 14:40. Penalties-Pelech Bri (delay of game), 3:15; Lindberg Hfd (tripping), 5:32; Hrivik Hfd (hooking), 6:25; Stretch Bri (unsportsmanlike conduct), 8:25.
OT Period-9, Hartford, Mueller 2 (R. Bourque, Tallinder), 0:55. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Hartford 13-15-6-1-35. Bridgeport 12-11-9-0-32.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 1 / 5; Bridgeport 1 / 4.
Goalies-Hartford, Desjardins 7-3-1 (32 shots-28 saves). Bridgeport, Poulin 9-5-1 (35 shots-30 saves).
Referees-Mark Lemelin (41).
Linesmen-Jim Briggs (83), Luke Galvin (2).