Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Yap Yap Yap

Chris Rutsch/HWP photo

The Springfield Falcons' bark was worse than Nick Tarnasky's bite last night, as the Hartford Wolf Pack had to endure two goals by the Falcon's toothless wonder-- as well as plenty of yapping from the clawless Falcons-- before dismissing Springfield, 5-3, and sending them off on yet another losing short bus ride home.

As they had the night before, the Falcons jumped out to an early 2-1 lead in this one, although both of Springfield's goals looked like they could've easily been stopped by Al Montoya had the Wolf Pack goalie exerted more than just the minimal effort. Instead, El Montoya, like a true matador, merely olé-ed the puck as it went past him on its way to the back of the twine.

In between the two Springfield goals, Brad Smyth scored his 32nd of the year for the Pack, and then Smyth lost his sweater in a fight with Ray Schultz. Somehow, Smyth avoided the extra penalty for not having his jersey tied down, as Schultz easily slid Smyth's jersey and pads over his head just as things were getting started, leaving Smyth to fight topless for the rest of the bout. It ended up working in Smyth's favor, as the most Schultz could do was throw punches straight into all of the equipment that was tangled-up around Smyth's forearms.

Thomas Pöck tied the game, 2-2, on his 15th of the season with 1:45 left in the first period. The puck slid over the goal line just as Falcons' goalie Gerald Coleman reached back to bat it away with his stick, causing Coleman to leap to his skates and complain bitterly while the ref emphatically signaled downwards, "goal, goal, goal". The replay from an overhead camera clearly showed the puck crossing the goal line by almost a foot, making me wonder what Coleman was yapping about.

Samuelsson getting thrown out (Rutsch photo)

The barking between the two teams really heated up soon afterwards, over a boarding penalty taken by Alexandre Giroux on Jared Nightingale at the 20:00 mark of the first period. As the intermission clock ticked away, a shouting match ensued between the team benches, including both head coaches (Jim Schoenfeld and Dirk Graham) jawing at each other and Wolf Pack assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson getting thrown out of the game with a game misconduct. I can only imagine what Schoenfeld might've shouted at Graham: "Have another donut, you bald, ugly, Luigi-looking fat pig"?

Nightingale and Giroux ended up fighting in the third period, after a slashing penalty by Nightingale. Giroux, a 30-goal scorer this season who also isn't that bad of a fighter, took care of college-boy pretty easily, drawing an extra 12 minutes for instigating.

Hartford quickly put the game in hand at the start of the second period, scoring two goals in the first three minutes. The first was at 0:53 on a rocket shot by Dale Purinton from the left wing side, his second goal in two nights. Nigel Dawes then scored his 33rd of the season soon afterwards, pinging the crossbar on a nice tip-in of a Colby Genoway shot. Dawes was credited in the game with 11 shots on goal, many of them coming with the man advantage in the second period. Hartford was moving the puck extremely well on the power play, forcing Coleman to make a number of tough saves.

The trash-talking wasn't over yet, though, as even Al Montoya got into the act, skating out to center ice at one point during a stoppage in play and challenging Coleman with some words and a "let's go" motion with his glove, drawing a supportive ovation from the fans directly behind the Hartford net.

The Falcons pulled to within one, on Nick Tarnasky's second goal of the night at 8:44 of the second period to make it 4-3. The goal was another El Montoya Special, as Montoya (as he all too frequently does) made the save but then served up a big rebound right up the gut, which must've looked like a gift to Tarnasky.

Dale Purinton then fought Mitch Fritz twice, drawing the extra instigating penalties plus an unsportsmanlike minor (for hair-pulling) in the first fight, which I didn't see but supposedly wasn't much more than a wrestling match. The two fought again in the third period, in a fairly good bout that saw Purinton ending up on the short end, as he seemed to be unable to gain any leverage against the 6'-8" Fritz.

They Saved Fritz's Brain (Rutsch photo)

Colby Genoway scored the final goal of the night at 3:38 of the third period, Genoway's 26th goal of the season.

The game was the last of 10 meetings between Hartford and Springfield this season, with the Wolf Pack winning 7 of them.

David Liffiton returned to the line-up for the Wolf Pack this weekend after an extended time away due to an injury, and his sturdy defensive presence should benefit the Wolf Pack, especially with Ivan Baranka out, as the playoffs draw closer.

There might be more player movement involving the Wolf Pack shortly, according to an item in the Journal News that HockeyBird linked to yesterday: "The Rangers will recall a forward Monday, but coach Tom Renney would not commit to bringing back Alexandre Giroux, who dressed once in four games with the team (last week)."


Blogger Joseph said...

Great site. It's nice to see folks out there covering the AHL in such depth. If you ever have any spare Pack tickets, let me know. I need to get up there for a game.

4/5/06, 2:51 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

Pack tickets on the street around the Civic Center are like guns on the street around Springfield and Providence: cheap and plentiful.

4/5/06, 5:17 PM


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