Knock knock. Who's there?
Lee Falardeau crashes into Wade Dubielewicz (Chris Rutsch photo)
The Hartford Wolf Pack surrendered 5 third-period goals to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday night, losing 6-3 at home and giving the Wolf Pack their first 0-2 start in the team's 10-year history.
Steve Valiquette started in net against the Sound Tigers, after El Montoya's suspect outing in the season-opening loss against Springfield. For the first two periods, at least, Valiquette showed Pack fans what it was like to have a goalie in the crease who knows how not to mishandle the puck, and on the strength of two goals by Brandon Dubinsky, Hartford jumped out to a 3-1 lead.
I don't know how many people noticed this, but Valiquette was wearing Lokomotiv Yaroslavl socks (from the Russian team that he played for last year), and not Wolf Pack/Rangers socks. If these were supposed to be his lucky socks, then I think Steve needs to catch up on his laundry.
Lauri Korpikoski notched the Wolf Pack's first goal of the night, 11 minutes into the first period, after Bridgeport's Matt Koalska blatantly sat on the puck just outside the crease. The referee let it go, and when the puck popped loose, Immonen fed it over to Korpikoski, who scored.
A few minutes later, Brandon Dubinsky scored by shoveling a nifty back-hander into the net as he swept past the crease. Bridgeport closed the gap to 2-1 when Thumbelina scored with both Craig Weller and Dale Purinton in the box and a few seconds remaining in the period, but Dubinsky led off the second period with his second goal of the night, rifling a laser past Dubielewicz from the left face-off circle after Hugh Jessiman kicked it back to him from along the end boards.
Weller vs. Fata (Chris Rutsch photo)
Craig Weller and Drew Fata fought immediately after Dubinsky's second goal. Weller, who doesn't fight all the time but gets into some big bouts when he does, stood his ground and landed his fair share of shots, but Fata (who lost to Jessiman in the pre-season) wobbled Weller twice with big punches and definitely got the win in this one.
In the third period, it was all Bridgeport. Blake Comeau scored on a power-play a minute into the third, and then Bridgeport tied the game on a bang-bang backdoor play, Drew Fata to Steve "Hey" Regier. Thirty seconds later, Jeremy Colliton scored on a wrap-around that bounced off Dale Purinton's skate and between Valiquette's pads (Valiquette shook his stick in frustration after that one), and then Thumbelina scored again to put the Sound Tigers up, 5-3.
The Wolf Pack pulled Valiquette when they went up on a power play with 3:23 left in the game, but didn't score during the ensuing 6-on-4. Hartford got another 6-on-4 chance when Colliton went off for holding with 16 seconds left, but instead, Comeau scored an empty-netter (his 9th point in two games!) to make the final score 6-3.
Jim Shoenfeld, in this morning's Courant: "It's mostly a matter of players understanding there's no such thing as a little play. You can't make half-hearted attempts, as happened on the third goal where an icing led to the loss of an ensuing draw and Regier's goal. It looks like a little play, but it isn't because the goal tied the game and completely changed the momentum."
One other note: the Wolf Pack are only 2-for-19 (plus a short-handed goal against) on the power play so far this season.
UPDATE 10:35pm - Chris Rutsch sent along the following photo of Steve Valiquette's socks:
If you look closely, you can see the same winged logo that's also on the hem of Lokomotiv's jerseys.
Never let it be said that we don't cover the important news here.