Dale Purinton drops down to block a shot against Hershey, 3/4/07
(Photo: Just Sports Photography/Hershey Bears)
The Hartford Wolf Pack took two games in Pennslyvania this weekend, 3-2 over the Philadelphia Phantoms in overtime on Saturday, and again by 3-2 in overtime over the Hershey Bears on Sunday. The Wolf Pack have now won 8 of their last 9 games, and have a record of 20-6 since the first of January.
Brandon Dubinsky scored two goals in the win against the Phantoms, including one shorthanded, as well as scoring the goal that gave Hartford its winning margin in the overtime shootout. Six fighting majors were handed out in the first period alone, with Hartford's Francis Lessard responsible for two of them.
Hartford outshot Philadelphia, 42-20, with Dubinsky recording nine shots on goal, and Lauri Korpikoski with eight.
Martin Grenier tussling with Francis Lessard, 3/3/07 (Pedro Cancel photo)
Lightly-regarded defenseman Martin Richter scored the winning goal three minutes into overtime in Sunday's win against Hershey, with a resurgent Hugh Jessiman (5 goals in 6 games) notching both of the Pack's tallies. The game was apparently an officiating mess from the very beginning, and defenseman Jake Taylor injured his shoulder when he fell on it following a first-period fight with known chickenshit Louis Robitaille.
From Bruce Berlet's recap in yesterday's Hartford Courant:
Neither team was happy with referee Shaun Davis, and Hershey coach Bruce Boudreau didn't mince words.
"Both sides, horrible. He had no clue," Boudreau said. "I guess he's young and has to learn ... but he has to know the rules."
Boudreau was upset former Pack wing Chad Wiseman was ejected 11:11 in for not having his jersey tied, though both claimed it was legal.
The Pack's Lauri Korpikoski needed two stitches to close a cut under his left eye, which was nearly closed shut afterward. But Davis and the linesmen said they didn't see Jakub Klepis' highstick.
The AHL's web site posted a story earlier today on the Wolf Pack's surge towards the playoffs:
With 20 games remaining in their 2006-07 regular season, the Wolf Pack are closing in on becoming just the third AHL team ever to reach the Calder Cup Playoffs in each of its first 10 seasons.
Hartford lost six of its first seven games this season and sat at 5-11-1-0 on U.S. Thanksgiving. Since then, the Pack are playing at a .762 clip (31-10-2-0) that has them in second place in the Atlantic and within striking distance of the top spot.
With last week’s acquisition of Alex Bourret from the Atlanta Thrashers, five of Hartford’s top seven scorers are rookies under the age of 22, including AHL All-Star Game hero Ryan Callahan, who is tied for third in the AHL with 33 goals.
Hartford will be in Manchester on Wednesday to face the Monarchs, who lead the second-place Wolf Pack by eight points in the Atlantic Division.