Albany, NY - Nicklas Jensen had a goal and an assist for the Hartford Wolf Pack Saturday at the Times Union Center, but Blake Pietila scored two power-play goals, including the third-period game-winner, for the Albany Devils in a 4-3 Albany victory.
Max Novak added a goal and an assist for the Devils, and Jacob MacDonald had three assists. Marek Hrivik chipped in two assists for the Wolf Pack.
The two teams traded goals in the first period, the Devils scoring early and the Wolf Pack replying late.
Novak gave the Devils the game’s first lead 4:41 in, on a rebound. MacDonald’s shot from the left point was stopped by Wolf Pack goaltender Chris Nell (26 saves), making his first pro appearance out of Bowling Green University, but the rebound came to Novak in front, and he poked it home.
Jensen, the Wolf Pack’s goal-scoring leader, answered that tally with his 28th of the year, with 2:14 remaining in the period. Hrivik spun on the right-wing boards and handed the puck off to Jensen, who moved towards the middle, got to his forehand and dove across sprawling Albany goaltender Ken Appleby (30 saves), pushing the puck into the net on his forehand.
The Wolf Pack outshot Albany 15-8 in the second period, but the Devil special teams accounted for the only two goals of the frame.
Albany regained the lead with a shorthanded goal at 7:38, with Vojtech Mozik in the penalty box for delay-of-game. Novak blocked a left-wing pass in center ice by Vince Pedrie, and broke 2-on-1 with Kevin Rooney. Rooney kept the puck and beat Nell to the stick side with a forehand shot.
Then, after the Wolf Pack’s Dan Catenacci took a double minor for high-sticking at 17:21, Pietila made it a 3-1 Albany lead with a power-play score with 38.4 seconds remaining in the period. MacDonald fed the puck from the right point to Pietila on the left side, and he carried down to the faceoff dot before firing a high shot over Nell’s right shoulder and into the net.
The Wolf Pack cut it back to a one-goal margin at 7:26 of the third period, on Matt Carey’s 19th goal of the season. Philip McRae passed the puck to Carey high in the slot, and his shot went off of Albany’s Ben Thomson in front of the net and deflected through Appleby’s legs.
Albany responded only 24 seconds later, though, after the Wolf Pack’s Taylor Beck was called for holding at 7:37. Former Wolf Pack Brian Gibbons sent a pass from the left circle to Pietila at the other side of the goalmouth, and Pietila easily slammed it in for his second of the night.
That goal would loom large, as the Wolf Pack came back to get a power-play strike of their own at 11:34. With Luke Gazdic off for tripping, Beck snapped a perfect shot from the right faceoff dot over Appleby’s shoulder on the glove side.
The Wolf Pack could never get the equalizer, though, despite getting another man advantage on an interference call against Andrew MacWilliam at 17:40, and getting Nell to the bench for an extra attacker.
The Wolf Pack finish a three-game weekend Sunday afternoon with a game in Providence against the Bruins. Faceoff is 3:05 PM, and all of the action can be heard live on News Radio 1410 WPOP, and on-line at www.newsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.
The next Wolf Pack home game is this Friday, April 7 vs. the Springfield Thunderbirds. That is a 7:15 PM faceoff, and, as at all Friday-night Wolf Pack home games, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period.
Tickets for all remaining Wolf Pack 2016-17 home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.
To speak with a Wolf Pack representative about season or group tickets, or any of the Wolf Pack’s many ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.