Allentown, PA – Anthony DeAngelo’s goal at 1:40 overtime gave the Hartford Wolf Pack their first OT win of the season Wednesday night at the PPL Center, a 5-4 victory over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
The Wolf Pack, who are now 3-0-0-0 in head-to-head competition vs. the Phantoms on the season, stretched a season-high streak of games without a regulation loss to eight (5-0-1-2).
The winning goal came after Lehigh Valley’s Chris Conner missed the net on a 2-on-1, and Peter Holland sent DeAngelo and Scott Kosmachuk away on a 2-on-1 break for the Wolf Pack. DeAngelo kept the puck on the right side and snapped a shot that cleanly beat Phantoms goaltender Dustin Tokarski on his stick side.
“That’s always the game of hockey, the way it goes,” Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said. “It goes down one way, and it’s a two-on-one and they miss their opportunity, we come back the other way and score on ours. A real nice job to get up the ice, freeze their goaltender and place that shot in just the perfect spot.”
The Wolf Pack’s fourth line scored a pair of late goals in the first period to give Hartford the jump, and new addition Caleb Herbert was involved in both.
Herbert, who joined the Wolf Pack on Sunday from its ECHL affiliate, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, opened the scoring at 16:06. DeAngelo passed the puck from the right point to Herbert in the opposite circle, and Herbert whipped a low shot past Tokarski.
Just 2:01 later, at 18:07, the Wolf Pack would make it 2-0 on Gabriel Fontaine’s fifth goal of the season, and third in three games. This time Herbert was the setup man, as he fed from the left side of the slot across to Fontaine, and he buried a quick shot behind Tokarski.
The Phantoms would turn the tables in the second period, though, getting three goals to the Wolf Pack’s one.
Reece Willcox got Lehigh Valley on the board at the five-minute mark, on a goal off the rush. Matt Read carried the puck into the Wolf Pack zone and dropped it off to Willcox, who eluded Fontaine’s check and beat Wolf Pack goaltender Marek Mazanec with a move to the backhand.
The Wolf Pack power play got that goal back at 10:13, on Ryan Gropp’s seventh goal of the season. A shot from the left point by John Gilmour was tipped by Steven Fogarty and went off the goal post to Tokarski’s left. Gropp picked up the carom and put a sharp-angle shot inside the opposite post.
The next two went to the Phantoms, though, starting at 11:56, when Steve Swavely deflected a shot from the right point by Willcox with the shaft of his stick, and it eluded Mazanec.
Then, Lehigh Valley drew even with 1:12 left in the period, with Greg Carey netting his 16th of the season. James de Haas worked the puck to Carey high in the slot, and his heavy slap shot found the top corner on Mazanec’s stick side.
The Wolf Pack jumped ahead again at the six-minute mark of the third, with Gilmour striking for his fifth of the year and third in the last three games. After Adam Tambellini won a faceoff, Neal Pionk sent the puck to Gilmour at the left point, and his shot went in off the skate of Lehigh Valley defenseman T.J. Brennan, as he knocked Dawson Leedahl to the ice in front of the net.
That lead lasted only 1:26, though, as Oskar Lindblom tied it back up on a Phantom power play at 7:26, just 11 seconds after Brandon Crawley was called for a stick hold. Conner passed the puck from the left wing side along the goal line to Lindblom in the slot, and he banged it off of Mazanec and in.
The tie held up through the rest of regulation, and the Wolf Pack would finally get an overtime win in their tenth OT game of the season, and their sixth in the last eight games.
“I thought we did some really strong things to get ourselves ahead at the start,” McCambridge said, “against a very good team in Lehigh Valley, let it slip away a little bit with a push that they had, but we were able to play with composure, manage the puck, manage the game and get ourselves the full two points. It’s a credit to the guys, being able to get points in our last eight games, playing some real strong hockey. There’s still some work to be done, but to be able to beat that team now, out of the three times we’ve played them, three times in a row, we’ll definitely take that any day.”
The Wolf Pack’s next action is a home game this Friday, December 22, when they host the Providence Bruins in a 7:15 PM contest at the XL Center. 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, presented by Dave & Buster’s.
Tickets for all Wolf Pack 2017-18 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.
Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2017-18 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.
Hartford Wolf Pack 5 (OT) at Lehigh Valley Phantoms 4
Wednesday, December 20, 2017 - PPL Center
Hartford 2 1 1 1 - 5
Lehigh Valley 0 3 1 0 - 4
1st Period-1, Hartford, Herbert 1 (DeAngelo, Graves), 16:06. 2, Hartford, Fontaine 5 (Herbert, Leedahl), 18:07. Penalties-Fazleev Lv (delay of game - faceoff violation), 2:01; served by Martel Lv (bench minor - too many men), 4:12; Kosmachuk Hfd (slashing), 7:09.