Charlotte Checkers 5, Hartford Wolf Pack 2
Hartford, CT, January 26, 2019 – Aleksi Saarela had two goals and an assist, and Andrew Poturalski added a goal and two assists Saturday night, as the Charlotte Checkers defeated the Hartford Wolf Pack 5-2 at the XL Center, in the last game for both teams before the AHL All-Star break.
John Gilmour, who is headed to Springfield to represent the Wolf Pack in the AHL All-Star Classic Sunday and Monday, and Steven Fogarty scored the Wolf Pack goals Saturday. Jake Bean and Haydn Fleury also had Checker goals, and Dan Renouf had a pair of assists.
A season-high crowd of 7,167 was on hand, and Gilmour said, “We had some great fans tonight, it was nice to have a turnout like that.”
The Wolf Pack defenseman also added, though, “We were receiving all game. It was like we threw out the textbook tonight. We know we can play a lot better, we beat this team before. We’re in one of those divisions where it’s pretty tight, but we don’t want to fall out of the mix here so we’ve got to really pick it up, or else we’re going to be on the outside looking in for the rest of the year.”
A goal by Bean with only ten seconds left in the first period gave the Checkers a 2-1 lead after one. After Wolf Pack starting goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made a save, Bean cut off a Hartford clearing attempt and fired a snap shot from the left point. That try found its way through a screen and beat Georgiev past the catching glove.
Poturalski, Charlotte’s leading scorer, had opened the scoring at the 5:58 mark. Saarela passed the puck from the right side of the slot to Poturalski in front of the net, and he deked to the forehand to slip it past Georgiev.
Fogarty got the Wolf Pack on the board at 11:22, with his tenth goal of the season. After Lias Andersson blocked a Bean pass out of the left-wing corner, Libor Hajek fired from the middle of the blue line, and Fogarty re-directed the puck underneath the left pad of Checker goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (18 saves).
After the late first-period goal, Charlotte got another one only 1:11 into the second, on a nice individual effort by Fleury. He took the puck across the middle out high in the offensive zone and moved down the right side, before ripping a shot high over Georgiev’s shoulder on the short side.
A goal by Saarela at 13:26, just one second after an interference penalty to Ryan Gropp expired, ended Georgiev’s night, after four goals-against 19 shots. Morgan Geekie worked the puck away from a goal-mouth scramble in the Checker end, and Saarela moved down left wing in the Wolf Pack zone and wired another short-side shot into the net.
Marek Mazanec took over in the Hartford net at that point and would stop all 11 shots he faced, and Gilmour scored his 14th of the year just 3:11 into the third period, to bring the Wolf Pack back to within one.
Gabriel Fontaine won a faceoff in the circle to Nedeljkovic’s right, drawing the puck back to Gilmour high in the slot, and his quick shot went off of a Charlotte defender and past Nedeljkovic.
The Wolf Pack could get no closer, though, and Saarela put the game out of reach with his second of the game with 40.3 seconds left, scoring into an empty net after Mazanec had been pulled for an extra attacker.
The Wolf Pack’s first action after the break is this Friday night, February 1, when they travel to Springfield to take on the Thunderbirds. Faceoff is 7:05 PM, and all the action can be heard live on News Radio 1410 AM, and 100.9 FM, 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 next Saturday night, February 2, a 7:00 PM game vs. the Rochester Americans. That is “‘90’s Throwback Night”, featuring a fanny pack giveaway to the first 2,000 fans, presented by ProHealth Physicians.
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 5 at Hartford Wolf Pack 2
Saturday, January 26, 2019 – XL Center
Charlotte 2 2 1 – 5
Hartford 1 0 1 – 2
1st Period-1, Charlotte, Poturalski 18 (Saarela, Renouf), 5:58. 2, Hartford, Fogarty 10 (Hajek, Andersson), 11:22. 3, Charlotte, Bean 9 (Nastasiuk), 19:50. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period-4, Charlotte, Fleury 1 (Poturalski), 1:11. 5, Charlotte, Saarela 14 (Geekie), 13:26. Penalties-O’Gara Hfd (tripping), 4:20; Renouf Cha (interference), 7:06; Gropp Hfd (interference), 11:25; Bishop Cha (cross-checking, roughing), 13:48; Beleskey Hfd (misconduct – continuing altercation), 13:48; Lindgren Hfd (roughing), 13:48.
3rd Period-6, Hartford, Gilmour 14 (Fontaine), 3:11. 7, Charlotte, Saarela 15 (Poturalski, Renouf), 19:19 (EN). Penalties-Holland Hfd (slashing), 8:43; Fontaine Hfd (roughing), 12:49; Nedeljkovic Cha (roughing), 13:51; Lettieri Hfd (roughing), 13:51; Fleury Cha (slashing), 15:57; Gilmour Hfd (unsportsmanlike conduct – playing without helmet), 16:52.
Shots on Goal-Charlotte 11-9-11-31. Hartford 5-3-12-20.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 0 / 5; Hartford 0 / 3.
Goalies-Charlotte, Nedeljkovic 21-5-2 (20 shots-18 saves). Hartford, Georgiev 2-9-0 (19 shots-15 saves); Mazanec 7-6-3 (11 shots-11 saves).
Referees-Michael Markovic (47), Peter MacDougall (45).
Linesmen-Kyle Richetelle (47), Glen Cooke (6).