Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Gherson blanks Bruins, 4-0

Might as well be myself, I'm so much better at it than anyone else
Robert Gherson (Chris Rutsch/HWP photo)

The Hartford Wolf Pack left the gates quickly, scoring 3 times in the first period, and Robert Gherson earned his first AHL shutout in net as the Wolf Pack went on to claim victory against the Providence Bruins, 4-0, before a healthy Saturday night crowd of 6588 at the Hartford Civic Center. Alexandre Giroux (23) and Nigel Dawes (23) were among the goal scorers for the Wolf Pack, and Hugh Jessiman and Jarkko Immomen each added 2 assists. The win extended the Wolf Pack streak to seven straight games while earning a standings point (6-0-0-1), and places the Wolf Pack 8 points behind division-leading Portland with 27 games to play. Hartford travels up to Portland to play the Pirates in a 4:05pm game this afternoon.

The win was sparked by a number of strong plays from some of the more maligned members of Hartford's defensive corps, including "Less Than" Jake Taylor and the stick thief, Thomas Pöck. More than once during the game, Taylor came through with a crucial poke check or shot block, or stopped a rush by standing up the puck carrier and swiping the puck away. The solid defensive effort helped keep the pressure off Gherson, who only had to make 18 saves the entire night. Not to say that Taylor has completely changed his stripes-- he continues to leave himself out of position by over-committing several times each game, plus he has the amusing habit of frequently tapping his stick on the ice and asking for the puck on offense, apparently oblivious to the fact that he has stone hands (1 goal and 6 assists in 42 games all season).

Please take me seriously as an artist
Liffiton vs. Reich (Chris Rutsch photo)

David Liffiton marked his first game back from an injury by getting into three fights, earning himself an ejection from the game and most likely an automatic one-game suspension for racking up three fighting majors in the same contest. In Liffiton's first fight, he easily dispatched Jason "Old" MacDonald, but then didn't fare nearly as well in a bout against Jeremy Reich early in the third period. In that fight, Liffiton managed to land a couple of shots, but Reich kept Liffiton under control thanks to a claw-like hold on Liffiton's jersey, giving himself plenty of room to do some damage. The two fought again in a re-match a few minutes afterward, and this time Liffiton put a hellacious pounding on Reich, even knocking one of Reich's teeth out onto the ice.

Lee Falardeau left the game bloodied after a goalmouth scrum in the third period, where (for as much as I could tell) he got caught at the bottom of the pile, and eventually skated off the ice with blood running down the right side of his face and also showing on the back of his jersey. One of the rink crew carried a shovelful of pink slush off the ice in cleaning up afterwards, and Providence's Nate Thompson was thrown out of the game after being forcibly held down onto the ice for a considerable amount of time by the referee, though what Thompson's role was during the scrum I didn't exactly see.

After scoring three power play goals in a 3-1 win in Albany the night before, the Wolf Pack again moved the the puck well during the man advantage in this game-- keeping the puck in the Providence end for the entire two minutes each time and throwing plenty of shots at Bruins goalie Brian Eklund, though the Pack ended up 0-5 on the power play for the night.