CANTLON: PACK GET IT DONE VS. SPRINGFIELD
BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings
HARTFORD, CT – Vinni Lettieri’s three-point night which featured two goals and Steven Fogarty’s highlight-reel five-on-three shorthanded goal paced the Hartford Wolf Pack to an entertaining 5-3 win over the Springfield Thunderbirds capping a weekend where the team earned five of a possible six points.
“You want to see a team develop an identity around the 20-game mark and we have had some additions (of late). “The last five game we’re getting that identity and style of play we want,” head coach Keith McCambridge said. “Credit the guys. Every shift, the work ethic has been there. A solid weekend of five of six points and we had a good previous weekend against Rochester and Toronto on the road.” The Wolf Pack team record is now 10-12-3-2 (25 points). They’re just two points behind the sixth-place Hershey Bears.
In the third period. The Pack gas tank was running on fumes from a three-in-three weekend. The Thunderbirds were actively seeking the tying goal, but Lettieri completed one of the few Pack offensive zone pressures of the period.
Adam Tambellini forced a turnover on the lower left wing wall from Mike Downing. Joe Whitney swiped the puck from him and spotted Littieri open on the left wing and wasted no time in burying his second of the night and tenth of the season at 16:47. The goal gave the Pack the needed breathing room at 5-3.
“We handle pressure well. We had the momentum, but sometimes you sag a little bit. Our goalie Maz (Marek Mazanec) played great in the third. Without him, we might not be where we are (with a win). We got all four lines going tonight, and we had real solid team effort,” Lettieri, who had a team-high five shots on net, said.the two teams have
It looks like the two teams have developed quite the rivalry. There were two scraps and lots of scrums throughout the contest including a late near-go between him. Bobby Farnham had twelve seconds to go and an opportunity to get his second Gordie Howe hat trick of the year (had one in Utica) with Gordie’s two sons Mark and Marty in attendance.
“Anytime you play a team that many times there is going to be stuff and it’s not petty all time.We stuck together, and he wanted a piece of me at that point I’m not a fighter, but we look out for each other,” said Lettieri.
He would have had a hat-trick but got stopped on a breakaway at 1:18 of the third period that Cowley stopped.
The team is reading and reacting well to a team, and its offense has improved.
“We’re getting five guys around the puck all the time and were working well, and we have that swagger right now that you need. That ten game stretch we weren’t expecting to win just be in the game. Now we’re expecting to win and were trusting each other better, and it’s showing out there,”
McCambridge is pleased with the direction of the team in handling adversity.
“We have talked a lot about momentum and a lot about in a game there certain times in a game when you have it and other times when you have to get it back and we have been learning that all season long. At times we have made poor decisions putting pucks in places in your own zone, but that was an example where we did a good job,”.
Mazanec’s play third period was essential in getting the win.
“You need your goalie to do that, and you know that push is coming and he looks composed, and any time there was some traffic, or there was a loose puck he was right there to cover it.:
He stopped Farnham and Maxim Manin 29 seconds into the period and Alexandre Grenier on a turnaround of the ten shots he faced.
The Wolf Pack picked up from where they left off from the first period in the second. They got a powerplay tally as Scott Kosmachuk on the left wing took a pass from John Gilmour fired his first shot that went off Steven Fogarty in front and came right back to him, and he drilled his 5th of season five-hole on Evan Cowley at 3:54.
Springfield got that goal back on their own powerplay opportunity.
Henrik Haapala’s drilled a shot from the left point that cleanly beat Mazanec making his Wolf Pack debut stick side from 55 feet out was his third of the season. This negated a fine save he made seconds before on Blaine Byron.
The Thunderbirds used another special teams goal this time shorthanded to inch to within one goal of the Wolf Pack at 3-2.
Juho Lammikko snapped a wrist shot against the grain just inside the far post off a great short pass from the faceoff circle by Bobby Farnham at 15:27 with his fourth goal of the year.
Two goals on eight shots doesn’t look or feel right.
Despite the dominance of the game by Hartford, it seemed an implosion as one fan remarked seemed about to occur, but Steven Fogarty got the two-goal lead back on the rarest of goals you’ll ever see scored- a five on three penalty kill.
Fogarty got the puck on a blocked shot by Brendan Crawley at the left point. He broke out down the right wing and then went inside out on Thunderbirds defenseman Thomas Schemitsch and then tucked a beautiful backhand to a forehand shot by Cowley with 9.4 seconds left their first shorthanded goal of the season.
That was shades of Derek Armstrong and Brandon Dubinsky who wore #19 for Hartford with that move.
“On a five on three I take pride in (killing) them and couple big blocks by Gravey (Ryan Graves) and Crawley, and I got a bit lucky. I don’t they really expected it (he would try to make a play of it), and I was able to make the first move, and it felt very good. It’s a three on five there I wasn’t my original mindset, but it was a big win for us,” remarked Fogarty of his game-winning tally his second of the year.
McCambridge was all smiles.
“At that was a crucial part of the game at the end of the period having to kill a five on three and easily they put one in the back of your net, and your going in down between periods. That was a huge single effort by Fogs, and I can’t remember the last time I saw a player go end to end and score a goal like that it was a huge turning point. He has been playing good hockey for us, overcame some injuries, all the credit to him.”
The Wolf Pack used the power play to get the games first goal.
The Pack had a stable setup four touches of the puck started by Tambellini and then Anthony DeAngelo who found Peter Holland in his garden spot in the lower right circle. He drilled a shot Cowley stopped but left a nice rebound in the slot that Vinni Lettieri quickly whistled his ninth goal far side at 5:18.
The Pack looked like the Wolf Pack of yesteryear with puck control and possession with a 17-3 shot advantage.
Scott Kosmachuk on a beautiful drop pass from Cole Schneider at 7:22, followed up the next shift with Neal Pionk hitting the post and the Pack at that point were up 9-0 in the shots.
Springfield Chase Bailey finally got their first shot at 11:33.
Didn’t faze the Wolf Pack who kept up the pressure with Steven Fogarty setting up Dan DeSalvo who just missed getting to the puck and then Adam Chapie had a perfect baseball swing on a mid-air puck that just went wide.
The Pack grabbed a 2-0 lead again courtesy of another juicy rebound.
This time John Gilmour used his speed down the left wing past Thunderbirds defenseman Linus Bystrom, and his rebound was right there for rookie Dawson Leedahl to bury his first AHL goal at 17:13.
Filip Chytil (upper body)
Dan Catenacci (lower body – Day-to-Day
Eric Selleck – Healthy
Vince Pedrie – Healthy
Two scraps on the night the first was unnecessary as Crawley with a perfectly legal big hit went with Alexandre Grenier who got the instigator at 1:09 of the second and then Ryan Graves and Tony Turgeon tossed a few in the second after the Pack went up 3-0.
Grenier compiled 31 minutes in penalties with a late game beef with referee Brandon Schrader earning double minor and misconduct a new team record.
Expect Chytil to be assigned to the Czech Republic World Junior squad this week and will return to Hartford at the conclusion of the tournament to be held in Buffalo, NY in early January.
Pack jersey of the night #21 Bobby Sanguinetti