Pack blows 3-1 lead by allowing 5 unanswered against Charlotte

Charlotte Checkers 7, Hartford Wolf Pack 4

By Philip Oliver

Hartford, CT, December 7, 2018 – The Charlotte Checkers scored five unanswered goals to erase a 3-1 deficit Friday night at the XL Center, on the way to a 7-4 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Peter Holland scored twice for the Wolf Pack, but Janne Kuokkanen had two goals and an assist for Charlotte, and his linemates, Nicolas Roy (goal, three assists) and Martin Necas (four assists), both had four-point nights.

Brandon Crawley put the Wolf Pack on top at the 8:19 mark of the first period, with an unassisted goal. He rushed the puck into the Charlotte end and fired a shot from the right side that went into the net off of the catching glove of Checker goaltender Scott Darling (20 saves).

Greg McKegg answered for Charlotte at 14:37, after Andrew Poturalski faked a shot high in the slot and fed a pass to McKegg for an easy finish past Wolf Pack goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (25 saves).

The two teams then combined for four goals in the final 2:55 of the period, starting with two by the Wolf Pack in 36 seconds.

Holland scored at 17:05 to make it 2-1 Hartford. Tim Gettinger dug the puck free behind the Checker net and passed to Holland, who snapped it past Darling on the short side, from an extreme angle.

Then, at 17:41, Cole Schneider scored his team-leading eighth of the season. Jake Bean sent a feed up the middle from behind his own net, and it eluded Steven Lorentz in front of the goal. Shawn St. Amant grabbed the puck and found Schneider, who pushed it in from close range.

The Checkers would get a pair even quicker, though, both by Kuokkanen, before the end of the period to turn the tide.

Roy set up Kuokkanen with an open net with 25.4 seconds left, and then, with 5.5 seconds on the clock, Kuokkanen connected again, from high in the slot, off of a feed from Necas.

“They’re an offensively dominant team, and we played into their game after the first 15 minutes,” Holland said.

After that flurry, the second period was scoreless until the Checkers took the lead for the first time at 15:53, just 12 seconds into their first power play of the game.

With Rob O’Gara off for hooking, Julien Gauthier bulled his way toward the net and was shoved into Gauthier, allowing Nick Schilkey to pick up a loose puck and put it into the net.

Then, with only 12.1 seconds remaining in the second, Trevor Carrick increased Charlotte’s lead to two goals, with a shot from the left point into the top corner on Georgiev’s glove side.

It stayed 5-3 for Charlotte until Poturalski scored an empty-net goal at 17:28, assisted by McKegg. Charlotte’s Dennis Robertson was penalized for slashing only 15 seconds after that, at 17:43, and the Wolf Pack would capitalize on the ensuing power play.

Holland netted his second of the game at 18:11, on the rebound of a long, hard shot from the blue line by John Gilmour. Darling knocked that drive down but could not control the puck, and Holland poked it in off of a scramble.

The Wolf Pack got Georgiev to the bench again for an extra attacker, but again the Checkers foiled the strategy, with Roy scoring into the vacated net with 1:19 left.

The Wolf Pack are right back in action Saturday night, as they travel to Hershey for a 7:00 PM game vs. the Bears. All of the action of that battle can be heard live on News Radio 1410 WPOP, and on-line at www.newsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at theahl.com/AHLTV.

The next home game for the Wolf Pack is Wednesday, December 19, when they host the Providence Bruins at 7:00 PM. That is another chance to take advantage of the Wolf Pack’s “Click It or Ticket Family Value Pack”, which includes two tickets, two hot dogs and two sodas, all for just $40.

Tickets for all 2018-19 Wolf Pack home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. Tickets purchased in advance for kids 12 or younger start at just $13 each, and all tickets will have a $3 day-of-game increase.

Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2018-19 AHL season can be found on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com. To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.

Charlotte Checkers 7 at Hartford Wolf Pack 4
Friday, December 7, 2018 – XL Center

Charlotte 3 2 2 – 7
Hartford 3 0 1 – 4

1st Period-1, Hartford, Crawley 3 8:19. 2, Charlotte, McKegg 3 (Poturalski, Schilkey), 14:37. 3, Hartford, Holland 5 (Gettinger, Meskanen), 17:05. 4, Hartford, Schneider 8 (St. Amant), 17:41. 5, Charlotte, Kuokkanen 10 (Roy, Necas), 19:34. 6, Charlotte, Kuokkanen 11 (Necas, Roy), 19:54. Penalties-No Penalties

2nd Period-7, Charlotte, Schilkey 3 (Gauthier, Necas), 15:53 (PP). 8, Charlotte, Carrick 4 (Roy, Renouf), 19:47. Penalties-Kuokkanen Cha (delay of game), 3:47; O’Gara Hfd (hooking), 15:41.

3rd Period-9, Charlotte, Poturalski 9 (McKegg), 17:28 (EN). 10, Hartford, Holland 6 (Gilmour, Lettieri), 18:11 (PP). 11, Charlotte, Roy 8 (Kuokkanen, Necas), 18:41 (EN). Penalties-Hajek Hfd (hooking), 13:12; Robertson Cha (slashing), 17:43.

Shots on Goal-Charlotte 12-11-9-32. Hartford 12-4-8-24.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 1 / 2; Hartford 1 / 2.
Goalies-Charlotte, Darling 3-1-0 (24 shots-20 saves). Hartford, Georgiev 2-3-0 (30 shots-25 saves).
A-5,102
Referees-Brandon Biggers (33), Brandon Blandina (39).
Linesmen-Brent Colby (7), Luke Galvin (2).