Wolf Pack beaten by IceCaps
Hartford, CT - The St. John's IceCaps used three first-period power-play goals to get a quick jump on the Hartford Wolf Pack Saturday night at the XL Center, and cruised to a 7-3 victory, earning a split of a two-game series with Hartford.
The Wolf Pack had recovered from a 2-0 deficit Friday against the IceCaps, coming back for a 4-2 win.
Jason Jaffray had two goals and an assist to lead the way offensively for St. John's, and Scott Kosmachuk also scored twice. Will O'Neill had three assists, and Connor Hellebuyck made 39 saves. Chris Bourque had a goal and an assist for the Wolf Pack, who also got goals from Ryan Malone and Chris Mueller.
The Wolf Pack fell into a 3-0 hole in the first period, as the IceCaps went 3-for-4 on the man advantage.
Hartford found itself two men short after cross-checking penalties against Joey Crabb at 3:53 and Dylan McIlrath at 4:32, and the Wolf Pack were able to kill the two-man disadvantage, but gave up a goal at 5:54, just one second after Crabb stepped out of the box. After the Wolf Pack missed on a couple of opportunities to clear the puck, Yann Sauve stepped into a drive from just above the top of the circles and beat Wolf Pack starting goaltender Mackenzie Skapski.
Just 2:22 later, at 8:16, Kosmachuk made it a 2-0 IceCap lead, with Malone off for tripping. Eric O'Dell danced down the right side and found Kosmachuk wide open at the left side of the slot, and Kosmachuk had most of the net to shoot at.
St. John's took advantage of a Malone hooking penalty at 14:52 to make it 3-0, with Carl Klingberg scoring his 10th goal of the season. O'Neill kept the puck in at the left point and wristed it at the net, and Klingberg skated in front of Skapski and tipped it in.
The IceCap onslaught continued early in the second period, as Kosmachuk made it a 4-0 game with his second of the game only 2:33 into the middle frame. The goal was unassisted, as Kosmachuk poked the puck away from Mat Bodie in center ice and broke in alone on Skapski, beating the rookie netminder with a backhander through the five-hole.
John Albert ended Skapski's night with a fifth St. John's goal at 9:41. Skapski stopped a shot and had two opportunities to cover the puck, but was unable to do so, and Albert flicked it in.
Jason Missiaen took over in the Hartford net at that point, and the Wolf Pack finally got on the scoreboard only 2:14 later, on Malone's fourth goal of the season. A Michael Kostka shot from the blue line was deflected on goal by Marek Hrivik, and the rebound came to Malone at the left side of the slot, and Malone easily fired it home, ending Hellebuyck's shutout bid.
St. John's took only 24 seconds to restore the five-goal margin, though, with Jaffray scoring at 12:19. Ryan Parent threw the puck at the net from the left point, and Missiaen could not find the rebound, allowing Jaffray to jam it inside the post to Missiaen's right.
Mueller got one back for the Wolf Pack on a power play at 14:59, off a feed from Dylan McIlrath. McIlrath handed the puck to Mueller on the left-wing side, and Mueller buried in behind Hellebuyck.
Down 6-2 going into the third period, the Wolf Pack briefly cut it to a three-goal margin at 17:25 of the third, as Bourque knocked his own rebound past Hellebuyck after Oscar Lindberg passed the puck out of the right-wing corner. After the Pack pulled Missiaen for an extra attacker, however, Jaffray hit the open net at 18:20, making the final 7-3.
The Wolf Pack's next game is back at the XL Center this Friday night, January 9, a 7:00 PM battle with the Syracuse Crunch. 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.
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