Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Kicked In The Teeth

Bobby "Wet Spaghetti" Sanguinetti (Chris Rutsch photo)

Two different games, two different results: after handily dispatching the Bruins two nights before, 5-1, the Hartford Wolf Pack struggled and lost to Providence on Friday, 4-2, evening up their first round playoff series at a game apiece.

With the weird 2-3-2 scheduling format that the AHL follows, the next three games of the series will be played in Providence, even though the Wolf Pack have home ice advantage.

The Bruins built a 2-0 lead in a first period that saw only ten shots on goal (4 for Hartford, 6 for Providence). Providence scored their first goal after Pack defenseman Dave Liffiton let a simple dump-in along the boards slide past his stick to a waiting David Krejci, who then sent a pass back out to lumbering Sean Curry for the score.

Sean Bentivoglio notched the Bruins' second goal, on a 5-on-3 power play with three minutes to go in the first. The goal was Bentivoglio's 16th point in 17 games since signing an amateur try-out contract out of Niagara in March.

Hugh "Goal-a-Month" Jessiman then showed some creativity to get Hartford on the board six minutes into the second period. Jessiman used a nifty move to get past Petr Kalus-- sliding the puck around Kalus' skates and then spinning around Kalus to pick the puck up again on the other side-- and then banked a shot from a tough angle off the back of goalie Hannu Toivonen.

Dawes vs. Hoggan (Chris Rutsch photos)

The Wolf Pack tried to claw their way back into the game by stepping up their physical play in the last half of the second period, led by Dwight Helminen, Alex Bourret (who was hitting everything in sight), and Nigel Dawes. Dawes shook the goal light loose with a thundering check into the end boards, and then shortly afterwards instigated a fight with Providence's Jeff Hoggan, after Hoggan knocked Dawes back with a two-fisted high stick that wasn't called. Dawes had no trouble taking care of Hoggan, even though it was a bit of a mis-match in Hoggan's favor (5'-8" to 6'-1").

It was the line of Bourret - Immonen - Dawes, responsible for all five of Hartford's goals the game before, that scored Hartford's second goal in this game. Alex Bourret started the play by deftly faking his way past a Providence defender and then sending a pass up-ice to Immonen, who hit Dawes with a quick pass to set up a back-door goal. That made the score 3-2 with seven minutes left in the third period, but the Pack could draw no closer.

Game Three of the series is scheduled for later tonight, in Providence.