Hartford, CT - The Hartford Wolf Pack extended a winning streak to four games Saturday night at the XL Center, with a 5-3 win over the AHL-leading Charlotte Checkers.
Third-period goals by Peter Holland and Cole Schneider broke a 3-3 tie, and Dustin Tokarski made 30 saves for Hartford, including 19 in the third period. Matt Beleskey added three assists.
“Tokarski has been playing amazing for us lately,” Holland said. “He’s just been so calm in the net.”
The two teams combined for five goals in the first period, including four in a span of 4:11.
Ville Meskanen opened the scoring for the Wolf Pack at the 5:11 mark, deflecting a shot from the right point by Brandon Crawley through the pads of Charlotte goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (23 saves).
Patrick Brown tied the game only 59 seconds later, at 6:10, on a similar play. Roland McKeown slung the puck at the net from the right point, and Brown tipped it through Tokarski.
Rob O’Gara put the Wolf Pack back ahead only 1:29 after that, at 7:39, with his second goal of the season. O’Gara took a feed from Holland and fired a sharp-angle shot, from the bottom of the left circle, that got by Nedeljkovic on the short side.
Nick Schilkey answered for Charlotte at 9:22, as his shot from the right circle eluded a diving Tokarski.
Julien Gauthier then put the Checkers in front for the first time at 12:42, with a strong individual effort. He burst down the right side in the Wolf Pack zone and got by Hartford defenseman Libor Hajek, before cutting across the middle and deking Tokarski with a move to the backhand.
Tokarski was flawless after that, though, and the Wolf Pack would get the only goal of the second period, a Shawn O’Donnell tally at 7:37. Beleskey made the play, by cutting behind the Charlotte net and wrapping the puck around into the slot, and O’Donnell lifted it into the net from in front.
Holland got what turned out to be the winning goal on a power play 3:44 into the third, with Dan Renouf off for interference. Beleskey worked the puck out of the right-wing corner to Chris Bigras at the point, and he passed to Holland at the opposite point. He moved in and a sent a shot that made its way through a screen and past Nedeljkovic.
Schneider scored an insurance goal for the Wolf Pack at 12:02, with the teams skating four-on-four. The Wolf Pack captain worked the puck away from Martin Necas at the Hartford blue line and broke in alone on Nedeljkovic. Schneider faked the Checker netminder down to the ice, and then put a forehand shot into the net.
Down two goals, the Checkers pulled Nedeljkovic for an extra attacker with nearly five minutes left, but, despite strong pressure, could not solve Tokarski, as the Wolf Pack improved to 11-9-1-2 on the season. Charlotte fell to 16-6-1-0.
The Wolf Pack’s next action is this Wednesday night, December 5, when they travel to Bridgeport to take on the Sound Tigers in a 7:00 PM game. All of the action of that battle can be heard live on News Radio 1410 WPOP, and on-line at www.newsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at theahl.com/AHLTV.
The Wolf Pack and Checkers then rematch at the XL Center on Friday night, December 7. Faceoff that night is 7:15, and that game features $1 hot dogs, and $2 beers and fountain sodas, through the start of the second period, presented by Nomad’s Adventure Quest.
Tickets for all 2018-19 Wolf Pack 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. Tickets purchased in advance for kids 12 or younger start at just $13 each, and all tickets will have a $3 day-of-game increase.
Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2018-19 AHL season can be found on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com. To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.
Charlotte Checkers 3 at Hartford Wolf Pack 5
Saturday, December 1, 2018 - XL Center