Hartford Wolf Pack 4, Rochester Americans 2
Rochester, NY, December 21, 2018 – Third-period goals by Steven Fogarty and Chris Bigras broke a 2-2 tie Friday night, and lifted the Hartford Wolf Pack to a 4-2 win over the Rochester Americans at the Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester War Memorial, in the first of back-to-back games between the two teams.
Vinni Lettieri had a goal and two assists for the Wolf Pack, and Fogarty also added an assist. C.J. Smith had a goal and an assist for Rochester.
Fogarty scored the game-winner at 5:35 of the third, his first goal in four games since returning from the parent New York Rangers. Lettieri passed to Fogarty behind the Rochester net, and put a wraparound between American goaltender Scott Wedgewood (26 saves) and the goal post to his right.
Bigras then scored an insurance goal at 12:20. Rob O’Gara banked a pass off of the boards to Fogarty, who carried down the right side in the Rochester end. Fogarty held the puck as an Amerk defender went down to take away the passing lane, and then slid it out into the slot. It deflected to Bigras trailing the play, and he ripped it past Wedgewood on the stick side.
Wolf Pack goaltender Dustin Tokarski, who was coming off of the Wolf Pack’s first shutout of the season, a 3-0 win Wednesday night in Hartford over the Providence Bruins, held Rochester at bay after that, despite the Amerks lifting Wedgewood for an extra attacker for the final 3:39. Tokarski finished with 28 saves.
“We didn’t get on our heels in the game, we stayed aggressive, a huge goal there by [Bigras], obviously,” Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said. “At the end, when they pulled their goalie, as we continue to grow here, doing a good job of bending put not breaking to keep that puck out of our net, and Dustin was there whenever we needed him.
“I’m proud of the guys, how hard they’ve worked, the attention to details, making sure that they’re managing the game well, all real important parts of our game right now.”
The game was scoreless for more than 32 minutes, before the two teams combined for four goals in a span of 6:02 in the final 7:47 of the second.
The Wolf Pack’s John Gilmour finally opened the scoring on a Wolf Pack power play at 12:13, with his pro career-high seventh goal of the season. Cole Schneider fed the puck to Gilmour moving down from the left point, and he drove a shot that found its way under the left pad of Wedgewood.
Rochester would respond, though, with a pair of goals in 32 seconds, starting at 16:06, when Wayne Simpson ended Tokarski’s bid for a second straight shutout. Tokarski stopped Simpson’s first shot, but seemed to lose sight of the puck as it went off of him and up in the air. Wolf Pack forward Gabriel Fontaine batted it out from behind Tokarski, but it went right to Simpson between the hash marks, and he fired it in.
The Americans then went ahead at 16:38, just four seconds after Gilmour was called for tripping. Danny O’Regan won a faceoff from Peter Holland in the circle to Tokarski’s left, and the puck went to Smith on the point. He moved towards the middle before slinging a shot towards the net, and that bid appeared to change direction before it eluded Tokarski.
The Wolf Pack got that one back at 18:15, in a 4-on-4 situation. Bigras broke up a Rochester pass in the Wolf Pack zone, and the puck deflected out to center ice to Lettieri, who accelerated past the American defense. In alone on Wedgewood, Lettieri made a move to his backhand and put the puck past Wedgewood on the stick side.
The Wolf Pack and Americans complete the two-game set Saturday, facing off at 5:05 PM. 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 Wolf Pack’s next home game is next Saturday, December 29 vs. the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Faceoff is 7:00 PM, and the first 2,000 fans into the XL Center for that game will receive a free Wolf Pack team trading card set, presented by CM Concessions.
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.
Hartford Wolf Pack 4 at Rochester Americans 2
Friday, December 21, 2018 – Blue Cross Arena
Hartford 0 2 2 – 4
Rochester 0 2 0 – 2
1st Period- No Scoring. Penalties-O’Donnell Hfd (holding), 6:20; O’Regan Roc (roughing), 6:36; Crawley Hfd (broken stick), 7:30; Veilleux Roc (boarding), 17:49.
2nd Period-1, Hartford, Gilmour 7 (Schneider, Lettieri), 12:13 (PP). 2, Rochester, Simpson 9 (C. Smith, Criscuolo), 16:06. 3, Rochester, C. Smith 11 (O’Regan), 16:38 (PP). 4, Hartford, Lettieri 6 18:15. Penalties-Leedahl Hfd (roughing), 1:11; D. Smith Roc (roughing, major – charging, game misconduct – charging), 1:11; Lettieri Hfd (interference), 1:45; Crawley Hfd (interference), 8:06; MacWilliam Roc (tripping), 10:54; O’Donnell Hfd (fighting), 13:41; Veilleux Roc (fighting), 13:41; Gilmour Hfd (tripping), 16:34; Fogarty Hfd (roughing), 17:43; Veilleux Roc (roughing), 17:43.
3rd Period-5, Hartford, Fogarty 8 (Lettieri, Lindgren), 5:35. 6, Hartford, Bigras 2 (Fogarty, O’Gara), 12:20. Penalties-O’Gara Hfd (cross-checking), 0:13; O’Regan Roc (high-sticking), 0:38.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 14-8-8-30. Rochester 12-9-9-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 1 / 5; Rochester 1 / 5.
Goalies-Hartford, Tokarski 7-3-1 (30 shots-28 saves). Rochester, Wedgewood 9-6-1 (30 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Furman South (44), Jake Rekucki (84).
Linesmen-Donald Jablonski (38), Rick Lembo (25).