Matt Beleskey scores twice as Hartford Wolf Pack get back on track

Hartford Wolf Pack 4, Bridgeport Sound Tigers 1

By Bryce Grundy

Hartford, CT, January 24, 2020 – Matt Beleskey had a pair of goals, and Igor Shesterkin stopped 31 of 32 shots, Friday night at the XL Center, in a 4-1 Hartford Wolf Pack victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers

The win broke an 0-2-2-0 streak for the Wolf Pack, in their return home after four straight road games.

“Best recipe to break a losing streak is to play at home,” commented Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch.

The Wolf Pack struck first late in the first period, on the power play. Defensemen Yegor Rykov slid the puck across the zone for a Darren Raddysh one-timer, and Phil DiGiuseppe cleaned up the rebound near the right faceoff dot at 16:42.

Fogarty doubled the lead on the penalty kill at 5:22 of the second period, providing a significant momentum shift in the game. Fogarty picked the pocket of Sound Tigers defenseman Sebastian Aho and then took to the puck to the net and finished with a smooth forehand-backhand move past Sound Tigers goaltender Christopher Gibson.

“Fogarty was very persistent on getting that puck and did the right thing with it,” said Knoblauch.

Beleskey then took matters into his own hands, giving the Wolf Pack two goals in a span of 2:04 late in the period.

The first came on the power play at 15:20, after a perfect tic-tac-toe passing sequence that started with a Hail Mary pass from Shesterkin to DiGiuseppe. DiGiuseppe hit Raddysh in stride coming into the zone, and he quickly fed it to Nieves at the faceoff dot. Nieves then found Beleskey just outside the crease for a tap-in goal, and a 3-0 advantage.

“Great passing play all around,” said Beleskey, “just had to tap it in there.”

“I think we played well, and play well in this building. [The] key is just to keep the pedal down and keep working. We’ve got to keep building off this.”

Beleskey’s second goal came at 17:24, off a well-timed shift change. Ryan Gropp made a heads-up pass from the defensive zone to a streaking Beleskey fresh off the bench.

“I jumped out at the right time luckily, nice bounce to get,” said Beleskey.

The Sound Tigers would put deny Shesterkin a shutout with a goal by Travis St. Denis with 4:54 remaining in the third period, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a hungry Wolf Pack team that was determined to get back into the win column.

The Wolf Pack are right back at the XL Center Saturday night, entertaining the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in a 7:00 game. That is “Under the Sea Night”, as the Wolf Pack celebrates being halfway to summer, and the team’s nautical history. The first 2,000 fans into the game receive a free Wolf Pack tank top, courtesy of Healthtrax.

Tickets for all 2019-20 Wolf Pack home games are on sale now at the Sunwave Gas & Power 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 $10 each, and all tickets will have a $3 day-of-game increase.

To speak with a Wolf Pack representative about season or group tickets, or any of the Wolf Pack’s many ticketing options, call (860) 722-9425, or click here to request more info. To visit the Wolf Pack on line, go to www.hartfordwolfpack.com.

Bridgeport Sound Tigers 1 at Hartford Wolf Pack 4
Friday, January 24, 2020 – XL Center

Bridgeport 0 0 1 – 1
Hartford 1 3 0 – 4

1st Period-1, Hartford, Di Giuseppe 12 (Raddysh, Rykov), 16:42 (PP). Penalties-Nieves Hfd (slashing), 5:41; Helgeson Bri (cross-checking), 15:34; O’Regan Hfd (goaltender interference), 18:03.

2nd Period-2, Hartford, Fogarty 11 5:22 (SH). 3, Hartford, Beleskey 12 (Nieves, Raddysh), 15:20 (PP). 4, Hartford, Beleskey 13 (Geertsen), 17:24. Penalties-Jones Hfd (hooking), 3:33; Cornell Bri (roughing), 9:12; Keane Hfd (roughing), 9:12; Holmstrom Bri (high-sticking), 13:30.

3rd Period-5, Bridgeport, St. Denis 7 (Bernier, Aho), 15:06. Penalties-Koivula Bri (hooking), 18:16.

Shots on Goal-Bridgeport 12-10-10-32. Hartford 9-10-9-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Bridgeport 0 / 3; Hartford 2 / 3.
Goalies-Bridgeport, Gibson 5-4-3 (28 shots-24 saves). Hartford, Shesterkin 16-4-3 (32 shots-31 saves).
Referees-Reid Anderson (49), Brandon Biggers (33).
Linesmen-Nick Briganti (58), Brent Colby (7).

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    • Help me out, I think he makes less than Smith as well. I’m hoping with exposure Smith is receiving at forward and defence, they can package him in a deal.

      • From your lips to God’s ears Carlos.

        We see, sometimes, teams purposely taking bad contracts if good assets are also included. Would Ottawa take Skjei, Andersson, and Smith off the Rangers’ hands for a bag of pucks? With Smith only having one more year left, Brady only being 25 years old with skating ability, and Lias a possible young bottom 6 contributor?

        The problem is that the Rangers keep the wrong guys (Skjei).

    • This puzzles me. Sure, Beleskey is not very good. But the Rangers don’t have twelve good forwards, so we see Haley and Smith. And Beleskey did not even get a look in camp -was sent down before camp even started.

      • That’s exactly the point Raymond. Beleskey is not as good as any of the top 12 forwards the Rangers have been using all year.

        I do not believe that either. The guys that Matt would have to beat out are a D man, Haley, Gettinger, Fogarty, Nieves, etc. I mean, come on, lol.

        If the Rangers’ 4th line consisted of Lemieux-Howden/Mckegg-Fast, then I would understand Beleskey being “blocked” from playing here. But that’s not the case at all.

        • Beleskey used to be able to drop the gloves well. Certainly the equal of Haley in that respect, and obviously a better player. But hey—Coach Chowder knows how to pick a roster, though.

          To be fair, Haley is cheaper than Beleskey and NYR needed every dollar to be under the cap.

          • Actually the money does not matter anymore. It’s only about $400k anyway ($825K of Beleskey salary is already subject to the cap). Now the Rangers re well under the cap.

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