Hartford Wolf Pack 3, Lehigh Valley Phantoms 1
The victory was the third straight for the Wolf Pack, who are 3-0-1-0 in their last four games and 6-1-1-0 in their last eight. Cole Schneider also scored for Hartford, and Dustin Tokarski made 30 saves.
Nic Aube-Kubel scored the only Lehigh Valley goal, and Branden Komm stopped 25 shots, in his first career AHL appearance.
“At the beginning of the year we struggled when we had the lead,” Holland said, “and now we’re finding a lot more consistency and getting better when playing up.”
The Wolf Pack were outshot 16-5 in the first period, but led by a goal for more than 12 minutes, after Beleskey scored his fourth goal of the season at the 5:07 mark.
Holland carried the puck down the left side in the Phantom end and handed it towards the net to Beleskey, who deflected it into the top corner on the glove side of Komm.
Tokarski withstood strong Phantom pressure until Aube-Kubel evened the score with 2:08 remaining in the period. Philippe Myers snapped the puck at the net from the right-wing boards, and it went off of Mike Vecchione and on goal. Tokarski stopped that, but Aube-Kubel grabbed the rebound and lifted it into the net from the left side of the goal mouth.
“When they did score we did a good job of not getting too down,” Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said. “We had a game plan in place, and when we were able to execute it, we limited the chances against. Our leadership group has done a real good job with the message in the dressing room and leading by example on the ice.”
It was the Wolf Pack with the territorial advantage in the second period, as they enjoyed a 14-5 shots edge, and Holland’s 12th goal of the season was the only scoring in the frame.
This time it was Beleskey with the setup, moving the puck into the offensive zone down right wing, after a lead pass from Rob O’Gara started the play. Beleskey passed across to Holland and he fired one home, again over Komm’s catching glove.
The Wolf Pack upped their lead to two goals only 2:39 into the third, with Schneider getting his 12th of the year to move back into a tie with Holland for the team lead.
Steven Fogarty, covering the right point, sent the puck towards the net and it deflected towards Komm’s right. Schneider batted it out of the air and into the net.
“It deflates teams when you get that two-goal lead,” Holland said. “That was a huge goal by Schneider’s line.”
Tokarski did the rest from there, improving to 9-4-2 on the season and 8-1-1 in his last ten decisions.
“He’s been playing great,” Holland said of Tokarski. “You need everyone playing their best right now, and you can see what this team is capable of.”
The Wolf Pack finish a three-game weekend Sunday at Providence, in a 3:05 PM game. 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 Wolf Pack home game is another clash with the Phantoms, next Friday, January 18. Faceoff for that game is 7:15, and it being a Friday night, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs, and $2 beers and fountain sodas, through the start of the second period, presented by Nomads Adventure Quest.
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.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms 1 at Hartford Wolf Pack 3
Saturday, January 5, 2019 – XL Center
Lehigh Valley 1 0 0 – 1
Hartford 1 1 1 – 3
1st Period-1, Hartford, Beleskey 4 (Holland, Meskanen), 5:07. 2, Lehigh Valley, Aube-Kubel 10 (Vecchione, Myers), 17:52. Penalties-Hajek Hfd (tripping), 11:09.
2nd Period-3, Hartford, Holland 12 (Beleskey, O’Gara), 6:00. Penalties-Samuelsson Lv (high-sticking), 18:17.
3rd Period-4, Hartford, Schneider 12 (Fogarty, Bigras), 2:39. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Lehigh Valley 16-5-10-31. Hartford 5-14-9-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Lehigh Valley 0 / 1; Hartford 0 / 1.
Goalies-Lehigh Valley, Komm 0-1-0 (28 shots-25 saves). Hartford, Tokarski 9-4-2 (31 shots-30 saves).
Referees-Jason Faist (26), Tim Mayer (19).
Linesmen-Kevin Briganti (39), Frank Murphy (29).