Allentown, PA - The Hartford Wolf Pack came back from 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 deficits for a 4-3 shootout win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms Saturday night at the PPL Center.
The victory was the Wolf Pack’s second straight and the team’s first in six shootouts on the season. Hartford improved to 29-13-5-5 for 68 points and moved into a first-place tie in the Atlantic Division with the Hershey Bears, who lost 4-2 at home to Binghamton.
Wolf Pack captain Steven Fogarty ended the game with a goal in the fifth round of the shootout, making a move to his backhand and putting a shot high into the net behind Lehigh Valley goaltender Alex Lyon (23 saves). Danny O’Regan also scored in the shootout for the Wolf Pack, who had been 0-5 in previous shootouts. Tom McCollum made 29 saves for his second consecutive win in the Hartford net, and went 4-for-5 in the shootout.
Lehigh Valley outshot the Wolf Pack 14-4 in the first period, and the Phantoms opened the scoring at 5:11, on a goal from the right circle by Andy Welinski.
A shot by Morgan Frost from the left side went wide, and the puck caromed off the end boards to Welinski, who slapped it past a sliding McCollum.
The Wolf Pack tied the score only 12 seconds into the second period, with Shawn McBride scoring his second goal in 23 games on the year. Ty Ronning took a lead pass from Darren Raddysh and moved into the Lehigh Valley end on left wing, before firing a shot that went off of Lyon and up into the air. It came down into the goal crease, and McBride shoved it into the net. Ronning picked up an assist for his first point in 13 AHL games on the season.
The Phantoms regained the lead only 4:12 later, though, at 4:24, on a power-play goal by Cal O’Reilly. With Raddysh in the penalty box for interference, Welinski broke up a Wolf Pack pass in the Lehigh Valley zone, and a long Greg Carey feed sent Andy Andreoff into the Hartford zone. He dropped the puck off to O’Reilly, who moved to his right and put a low backhander past McCollum.
The Wolf Pack equalized again with 3:27 left in the second, when Nick Jones batted the puck out of the air in the goalmouth, knocking it behind Lyon. That was off of a rebound of a Joey Keane shot from high in the slot, after Fogarty passed the puck out of the left-wing corner.
Lehigh Valley had another quick answer, though, right off of a faceoff at 18:45. Andreoff won a draw from O’Regan in the circle to McCollum’s left, and Frost drove a shot from the top of the circle past McCollum on the glove side.
The Wolf Pack got a good bounce once again to draw back even at 8:12 of the third period. Matt Beleskey scored his 15th of the year to make it 3-3, after a slap shot by Mason Geertsen from the left point went wide of Lyon’s stick side. Beleskey picked up the carom off of the end boards and rapped the puck into the net from the left side of the goalmouth.
Lyon stopped O’Regan on a breakaway late in overtime, but Andreoff was the only one of five Lehigh Valley shooters to solve McCollum in the shootout, McCollum’s first in a Wolf Pack uniform.
The Wolf Pack are now off until this Friday night, February 21, when they head to Springfield to meet the Thunderbirds in a 7:05 game. The Wolf Pack’s next home game is next Saturday, February 22, when they host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 7:00. That is “Hartford Hockey Heritage Night”, as the Wolf Pack celebrate over 40 years of Hartford hockey history. The first 2,00 fans into the game that night will receive a free 2020 Wolf Pack Sonar bobblehead, presented by Xfinity.
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 (860) 722-9425. 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.
Hartford Wolf Pack 4 (SO) at Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3
Saturday, February 15, 2020 - PPL Center
Hartford 0 2 1 0 - 4
Lehigh Valley 1 2 0 0 - 3
1st Period-1, Lehigh Valley, Welinski 7 (Frost, Willman), 5:11. Penalties-Willman Lv (double minor - high-sticking), 11:59; Lettieri Hfd (slashing), 15:51.