Hartford, CT - Defenseman Sam Klassen scored his first AHL goal of the season for the Hartford Wolf Pack Friday night at the XL Center, and Dov Grumet-Morris made 35 saves, but the Wolf Pack fell 2-1 in a shootout to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Harry Zolnierczyk’s late third-period goal tied the game for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Nick Drazenovic and Paul Thompson scored for the Penguins in the shootout. Jeff Deslauriers made 24 saves and went 5/6 in the shootout.
After a scoreless first two periods, Klassen, playing in his sixth AHL game of the year for the Wolf Pack, finally broke the deadlock at 6:36 of the third period. Oscar Lindberg worked the puck out to Klassen at the left point, and Klassen’s slap shot went off of Deslauriers shoulder and dropped in behind him, eventually rolling over the goal line.
Despite being outshot 16-4 in the third, the Wolf Pack nearly made the lead stand up, but Zolnierczyk was able to foil Grumet-Morris’ shutout bid with 3:59 remaining.
With the puck loose in front of the Wolf Pack net and Grumet-Morris down on the ice, Hartford’s Darroll Powe tried to push the puck back to the goaltender for him to cover it. Grumet-Morris could not corral the disk, however, and it went off of Klassen’s stick to Zolnierczyk, who banged it into the net from Grumet-Morris’ left.
The Wolf Pack had four shots on goal in overtime but could not put any of them past Deslauriers, and the shootout went six rounds. Hartford’s Danny Kristo and Drazenovic both scored in the third round, but Deslauriers was perfect the rest of the way and Thompson ended the game by slipping a low backhander underneath Grumet-Morris on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s sixth attempt.
The point for the shootout loss allowed the Wolf Pack (11-16-0-4, 27 pts.) to move to within three points of Bridgeport in the Northeast Division, as the Sound Tigers lost 3-1 in Norfolk.
The best opportunity of the first period came early on, when the Wolf Pack had a 1:34 of two-man advantage. Reid McNeill took a tripping penalty at 3:21 with Philip Samuelsson already in the box for slashing, but the Pack could not get anything behind Deslauriers.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had the only power play of the second period, on an interference call against Powe at 10:45, but again the goaltenders held sway, with Deslauriers stopping 10 shots and Grumet-Morris eight.
The Wolf Pack are right back at the XL Center Saturday night, hosting the Worcester Sharks at 7:00 PM. Fans are invited to bring their skates to that game, as there will be a free postgame skate on the XL Center ice, and sports entertainer Cameron Hughes will be making a special appearance as well.
Tickets for all Wolf Pack 2013-14 home games are on sale now at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. Wolf Pack tickets start as low as $12 for youth 12 years old or younger. To speak with a representative about season or group tickets, call (855) 762-6451.