Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Bell Is a Cup Until It Is Struck

Craig Weller's game-winning goal (Chris Rutsch photo)

The Hartford Wolf Pack won two games in a row for the first time this season after defeating the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at home on Saturday, 3-2.

The Pack scored first when Dan Girardi turned around Bridgeport's Luch Aquino as he was streaking towards the net on a breakaway, with Girardi then jump-starting the Wolf Pack on a breakaway of their own by sending a long pass up-ice to Ryan Callahan, who flicked the puck past Wade Dubielewicz from a tricky angle from the right-hand side of the net. The goal by Callahan-- his 8th in his last 7 games-- meant that, thru Friday's 3-2 win in Providence and Wednesday's 5-4 loss to Worcester, the Wolf Pack saw a stretch of 2-plus games where all of their goals (8) were scored by either Callahan or Jarkko Immonen.

Ryan Callahan sends the puck past Dubielewicz (Chris Rutsch photo)

Bryce Lampman, who notched two assists in the win against Providence, kept the puck bouncing his way again in this game when he scored midway through the second period to put Hartford up, 2-0. It was sort of a flukey goal that came when Lampman, standing against the boards and all the way out by the blue line (near where the Wolf Pack penalty box is), sent the puck on-net through three Bridgeport defenders. After the puck went in, Dubielewicz slammed his stick to the ice, seemingly frustrated by either his own inattention or the lack of effort by the Sound Tigers players in front of him.

Blake "Perry" Comeau scored for Bridgeport early in the third to make the score 2-1, and then the Sound Tigers tied the game with only 20 seconds left on a shorthanded tally by Eric Boguniecki that actually wasn't a shorthanded tally, as Dubielewicz was sitting on the Bridgeport bench for an extra attacker.

Then, in the overtime period, Ivan Baranka did an awesome job keeping the puck away from two Bridgeport defenders near the crease before sending a backwards pass over to Craig Weller, who scored the game-winner 3:11 into OT. It was Baranka's first game back since missing 10 or so games due to an injury, and he also was awarded the "Check of the Game" on the video board (for a couple of glancing blows on two Brigeport players, but at least he was hitting somebody).

Nigel Dawes was kept off the scoresheet (after scoring 4 points over his last two games), but he was still a major force during the game, creating several breakaways and odd-man rushes as well as showing off his amazing wrist shot (5 shots on net). He and Ryan Callahan both gave solid all-around efforts, banging bodies and knocking Bridgeport players off their skates for most of the night, too.

Dawes tangling with Bgpt's Mark Wotton (Chris Rutsch photo)

The win helped the Wolf Pack raise their record to a paltry 7-12, still well behind Springfield and Lowell for last place in the division. However, the Pack are 3-1 against Bridgeport this season in the all-important race for the "imaginary" Geico Cup-- a hunk of metal that I can say actually exists now that I've seen it in the Wolf Pack offices, next to Jason LaBarbera's '03-'04 MVP trophy. I was even told that the office employees sometimes use the Geico Cup to serve Cheerios in, just to make it feel more useful.