LeNevue Stones Wolf Pack
Former Austrian League goalie makes 41 saves in OT win
LeNevue Shines for the Falcons
By Gerry Cantlon
HARTFORD,CT- Playing an old familiar foe can be a good thing.
For David LeNeveu the XL Center has been a good place for him.
The former Austrian league goalie stopped 41 shots in a 2-1 overtime win over interdivision rival Hartford Wolf Pack.
For Hartford now (3-4-0-1) ended its five game home stand ended miserably as their offensive woes continued despite their best shot on goal output of the season of 42.
“The hockey gods were with us,” said Springfield head coach Rob Kiley.
The Falcons now (5-4-0-0) won its third straight were able to walk away for the win in overtime the only period they outshot the Wolf Pack (5-0) at 3:24 of the extra session.
Winger Chad Kolarik fired his 9th shot of the night and Wolf Pack goalie Chad Johnson was able to make the stop,but the rebound went off his right pad,but in the scramble in front and it found the stick of Michael Blunden on left side and right handed shooter put his 6th of the season in for the victory.
“We didn’t have our best game,but we forced the penalty in overtime and we made the best of our break,” remarked head coach Rob Kiley in his first year as coach.
The game first star was easy LeNeveu was simply spectacular all night. A year removed from winning the Austrian Elite League title with the Salzburg Red Bulls he left the Wolf Pack and even some teammates shaking their head at his performance.
The Pack who had just 4 goals for score don uits 5 game home stand came out and really took control of the offensive chances with 20 shots on goal (14 of them quality chances),but LeNeveu was equal to the task every time.
He stopped Chris McKelvie off a right wing rush early, then defenseman Ryan McDonagh with a left pad save and in the final two minutes of regulation put on a goaltending clinic. With 1:42 remaining he stopped a blast from rookie defenseman Czech native Tomas Kundratek and dove across when he got the rebound and repelled a second chance.
Then shut the door on winger Ryan Garlock with 28.6 seconds left.
“Even our own guys came back to the bench shaking their heads ,” remarked Kiley. Tjhis is LeNevue’s second tour of duty with the Falcons he played with the team in 2003-2004 when he was a member of the Phoenix Coyotes organization. He had a great night in Hartford that’s season with 55 saves on New Years Eve in a 4-1 win.
The Falcons exited the period with a 1-0 lead when Kolarik was able to convert a pass from defensemen Garret Clitsome for his team leading fourth goal at 14:34.
He continued his magician act in the second stopping center Brodie Dupont at 5:37 and then again with 4:47 on a nice backhand shot.
In the third he squashed another McKelvie shot at 1:52 and with 5:49 left in regulation Norwegian Mats Zuccarello ( 4 shots) thought he would score,but a right of pad of LeNevue stood in the way of snapping the Pack’s winless streak.
“We finally got the volume of shots the coaches wanted and the goalie stands on his head,” remarked Pack rookie rearguard Ryan McDonagh.
The only goal to elude him was from Hartford center Kris Newbury who followed uyp his own shot and snared a rebound in the air with a perfect fungo swing on the backhand for his first of the season at 6:50 of the second.
For LeNevue who was acquired by the Wolf Pack parent club in 2007-2008 and was big factor in their playoff run it was the first time he had played against Hartford since he left.
“You want to do well against an old team I believe in that,” said LeNeveu, who was 8-3-2 with a 1.83 goals-against average and .924 save percentage that year with the Wolf Pack ,“I (also) treat every game the same. We’re trying to get two points.”
On the other side of the ice the frustration the Wolf Pack was much in evidence.
“We have to continue to persevere,” Wolf Pack coach Ken Gernander said. “I can’t fault the overall effort and some of the heart and courage that you saw, but we still made some costly mistakes. When you’re in a bit of funk like this, your margin for margin isn’t such that you can afford to make mistakes. At some point in time, we’re going to have to have someone step up with a real big effort or big play or something.”
NOTE: Wolf Pack forward Russian Evgeny Grachev is on recall to New York to play for the injured Derek Boogaard played on a line with Eric Christiansen and Brandon Prust…Hartford winger Dane Byers had 6 shots on goal and Brodie Dupont had 4…Falcons Swedish goalie Gustav Wesslau is of the disabled list and might play a game this weekend…The two teams play again Saturday night at the Mass Mutual Center game time at 7pm…Former Falcon defenseman Mike Gabinet injured unintentionally two years ago by then Wolf Pack now Phoenix Coyotes winger Lauri Korpikoski is back playing hockey with the Idaho Steelheads (ECHL).
Story added on 30th October 2010 at 20:29 GMT
Story submitted by: Gerry Cantlon.