Hartford, CT - Phil Di Giuseppe had a goal and an assist, and Adam Huska stopped 26 shots Saturday night at the XL Center, as the Hartford Wolf Pack defeated the Utica Comets, 3-1.
Vincent LoVerde scored the game-winning goal for Hartford, and Vinni Lettieri also tallied. Reid Boucher had the only Utica goal.
“I thought it was a more controlled-paced team we were up against tonight,” said Di Giuseppe. “They’re one of, if not the, top-scoring teams in the league. But our defense and goalie played really well tonight, so we definitely deserved the win.”
The Wolf Pack were dominant in the first period, outshooting Utica 16-3 in the first frame. Lettieri opened up the scoring just 4:08 into the game, when he scored his team-leading 13th goal of the year. The goal was somewhat unorthodox, as Lettieri tipped Boo Nieves’ floating shot just over Comet goaltender Michael DiPietro’s (37 saves) shoulder.
“I don’t know if that play was drawn up that way,” joked Di Giuseppe about the goal, “But Nieves is a smart player and Lettieri has amazing hand-eye coordination, so it doesn’t surprise me too much.” Darren Raddysh also assisted on the goal.
Hartford’s lead rose to 2-0 with 12:11 left in the period when LoVerde scored his fourth goal of the season. Danny O’Regan and Di Giuseppe assisted on the goal.
Utica finally got on the board with just 3:56 left in the second period, when Rid Boucher pocked in a rebound to make the score 2-1. Kole Lind had the lone assist. The goal would prove to be Utica’s only marker of the night, as Huska stood tall in frustrating a strong Utica offense.
“The D did a good job keeping things to the sides and reducing rebounds,” Huska said. “That’s all a goalie can ask for.”
With 8:35 left in the final period, Di Giuseppe scored on a breakaway to give Hartford a 3-1 lead. The goal was Di Giuseppe’s 11th of the year, and was assisted by Matt Beleskey and Raddysh.
“I was screaming at Raddysh to pass it, but he must not have seen me or something,” laughed Di Giuseppe, “Luckily Beleskey did, and I was fortunate enough to score.”
Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch said of the play, “That was a heck of a play by Raddysh to get the puck up the ice, and then another great play by Di Giuseppe to score.”
The Wolf Pack’s next game is at Hershey this Wednesday night, January 8, with faceoff at 7:00.
The next home action for Hartford is this Friday night, January 10, a 7:15 contest vs. the Charlotte Checkers. The first 2,000 fans into that game will receive a free Wolf Pack clear tote bag, intended to reduce plastic waste, courtesy of Lewis Real Estate Services, LLC. Also, all Friday-night Wolf Pack home games feature $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period, presented by Nomads Adventure Quest.
Tickets for all 2019-20 Wolf Pack home games are on sale now at the Sunwave Gas & Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. Tickets purchased in advance for kids 12 or younger start at just $10 each, and all tickets will have a $3 day-of-game increase.
To speak with a Wolf Pack representative about season or group tickets, or any of the Wolf Pack’s many ticketing options, call (860) 722-9425, or click here to request more info. To visit the Wolf Pack on line, go to www.hartfordwolfpack.com.
Utica Comets 1 at Hartford Wolf Pack 3
Saturday, January 4, 2020 - XL Center
Utica 0 1 0 - 1
Hartford 2 0 1 - 3
1st Period-1, Hartford, Lettieri 13 (Nieves, Raddysh), 4:08. 2, Hartford, LoVerde 4 (O'Regan, Di Giuseppe), 7:49. Penalties-Arseneau Uti (slashing), 11:00; Blujus Uti (cross-checking), 14:18; Blujus Uti (delay of game), 16:35.
2nd Period-3, Utica, Boucher 21 (Lind), 16:04. Penalties-Lettieri Hfd (holding), 9:47; Brisebois Uti (slashing), 11:30; Jasek Uti (delay of game), 13:09; Sautner Uti (roughing), 13:49; Gettinger Hfd (boarding, roughing), 13:49; Hamilton Uti (roughing), 18:20; Jones Hfd (roughing), 18:20.
3rd Period-4, Hartford, Di Giuseppe 11 (Beleskey, Raddysh), 11:25. Penalties-Gropp Hfd (delay of game), 4:39; Arseneau Uti (major - interference, fighting, game misconduct - interference), 10:01; Geertsen Hfd (fighting), 10:01; O'Regan Hfd (slashing), 10:08; Boucher Uti (slashing), 16:29; Boucher Uti (misconduct - abuse of officials), 18:37.
Shots on Goal-Utica 3-16-8-27. Hartford 16-14-10-40.
Power Play Opportunities-Utica 0 / 3; Hartford 0 / 8.
Goalies-Utica, DiPietro 9-5-1 (40 shots-37 saves). Hartford, Huska 6-4-4 (27 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Olivier Gouin (54), Anthony Tapper (9).
Linesmen-Kyle Richetelle (47), Nick Briganti (58).