Wolf Pack Scoring Woes Continue
Falcons Win Second Straight, Hartford Drops 6 th in a Row
SPRINGFIELD, MA – Despite scoring more than one goal for the first time in six games the Wolf Pack dropped a 3-2 decision to Springfield Saturday night before 4,699 at the Mass Mutual Center.
Goalie Chad Johnson had a rough game as a bad bounce and bad rebound and was pulled for the first time in the early going of the 2010-2011 season.
“I just couldn’t get into the groove,” It was embarrassing, to be honest. I just didn’t have it, and in these types of games, giving up one or two goals just isn’t good enough.
The Wolf Pack now (3-5-2-1) were in complete control in last night's 2-1 overtime loss to Falcons night, when one time Wolf Pack goalie David LeNeveu made 41 saves. LeNeveu was on top of things facing 24 shots.
Hartford's woeful power play was 0-for-5 and now is scoreless in the last 19 tries in a 0-5-0-1 slide during which the team has been outscored 16-6.
feisty Devin DiDiomete’s second fight for the second time in as many nights to get the Wolf Pack going. That didn’t sit well with coach Ken Gernander or DiDiomete, who scored his first goal in five games since returning from extensive OFF-SEASON hip surgery .
“It’s too bad that that’s what it takes,” Gernander said. “He has been hard at since he has got back into the lineup. Whenever there’s a little bit of a lull, he thinks he has to take it upon himself to get everybody going, and I’d like to see guys have internal motivation. You shouldn’t have to wait for the likes of Devin DiDiomete to spark them.”
DiDiomete was rewarded with some late power-play time for his efforts.
“My style is to obviously get under the other’s skin, and I took a pretty big run at that guy from across the ice, and he obviously didn’t like it,” DiDiomete said. “I tried to spark the team with a good fight, and I think it worked. But at the same time, we should come out a little harder and be ready to play for a full 60 minutes. It shouldn’t have to take a fight to spark the team.
The Falcons (6-4-0-0) have won four in a row to get two games over .500 for the first time this season and not since last November. They had lost three of four at home, while the Wolf Pack went to 2-1-0-1 on the road.
“We didn’t capitalize (on chances), so here we are again,” Wolf Pack coach Ken Gernander said.
The Falcons had only one shot in the opening 14 minutes, 20 seconds, but that’s all they needed for a 1-0 lead as defenseman John Moore dropped a pass to Michael Blunden and then went to the net, deflecting the right wing’s shot from the left circle off Johnson’s left pad and in off the post at 7:47.
Meanwhile, LeNeveu picked up where he left off Friday night, when he 41 saves. Just 1:03 into the game, LeNeveu denied Tyler Donati, who was alone in front. After facing the one shot in more than 14 minutes, Johnson then had to make bang-bang saves on Blunden with 5:40 left in the period.
A wide-open Dane Byers had a terrific chance to tie it when Mats Zuccarello found the Wolf Pack captain all by himself in front after stealing a Falcons’ clearing attempt, but LeNeveu came out to smother his backhand bid with 3:15 to go in the period.
Successive power plays helped the Falcons to the first eight shots of the second period, two goals in the opening 9:23 and the departure of Johnson in favor of Dov Grumet-Morris after allowing three goals on 14 shots.
Johnson kept it a one-goal game when he gloved Nate Guenin’s slapshot through a screen at 4:52. But the Falcons took a 2-0 lead when Ben Guite chipped the puck into center ice, where Tomas Kubalik got it past Wolf Pack defenseman Pavel Valentenko, broke in alone and put a wrist shot between Johnson’s pads at 7:43.
It went to 3-0 when Blunden converted Tom Sestito’s rebound in the slot at 9:23, bringing on Grumet-Morris.
DiDiomete then tried to energize the Wolf Pack with his second fight, scoring a decision over Jonathan Sigalet. The Wolf Pack nearly scored on an ensuing power play, but LeNeveu stopped Zuccarello’s wrister from the left circle at 11:21, the Wolf Pack’s first shot of the period.
But seconds after the power play expired, defenseman Tomas Kundratek jammed Jared Nightingale’s rebound past a sprawling LeNeveu for his first professional point at 12:49.
Then with the Falcons on their third power play, the Wolf Pack nearly got within a goal, but LeNeveu got his left pad on Nigel Williams’ shot off a 2-on-1 with Ryan Garlock with 3:27 left in the period.
The Falcons got a golden opportunity to pad their lead with 31 seconds to go, but Grumet-Morris stopped a breakaway by Cody Goloubef, who had come out of the penalty box and got behind Zuccarello and Ryan McDonagh.
Given that reprieve, the Wolf Pack got to 3-2 when DiDiomete fired a turnaround shot from the left circle that beat LeNeveu high to the glove side at 1:21 of the third period. It was DiDiomete’s first point this season.
The Wolf Pack then had their best sustained pressure of the game, but LeNeveu denied an unmarked Brodie Dupont from 30 feet in the slot at 3:53 and stopped DiDiomete’s backhander from the right edge of the crease a minute later.
Both teams then had rapid-fire chances to score in an 82-second stretch. First, as a Wolf Pack power ended, Jeremy Williams hit the post at 8:08. Grumet-Morris then somehow got his left pad on David Savard’s slapshot from 35 feet in the slot at 8:33. Moments later, LeNeveu stopped Newbury on a 2-on-1 with Byers at 8:58, then a wide-open Chris McKelvie half-fanned on Garlock’s centering pass to the crease at 9:30 and peered skyward in disgust.
“I could have up it up anywhere, and I shot it right into him,” McKelvie said.
The game left Wolf Pack players stunned.
“It’s unexplainable, incredible what’s been happening,” Garlock said. “We could easily have scored five or six goals, but the hockey gods are mysterious sometimes. Sometimes we missed the net, sometimes we shot right at an experienced goalie who has played in the NHL and had a good two-game set. DiDiomete had a great fight that definitely boosted everybody. That’s what he brings to the table most nights. We were aggressive and created chances, but there are some games when everything you put on net seems to find its way and others where no matter what you do, (shots) just don’t go in.
NOTES; DiDiomete scored the second Wolf Pack win over Sigalet in a fight Dan Girardi now with the Rangers did when Sigalet was in Providence in 20o7-2008....Former Falcon Vyacheslac Trukhno signed with Krefeld of the German Elite League yesterday...
Story added on 3rd November 2010 at 21:21 GMT
Story submitted by: Gerry Cantlon.