The Wolf Pack took the first of the two contests, 4-2, on Friday night in Rochester. Saturday’s victory was Hartford’s third straight, and sent the Wolf Pack into the Christmas holiday at .500 on the season, 14-14-1-2.
The Wolf Pack were outshot 23-13 in the first period, but Mazanec, who hadn’t played in 11 games, stopped all 23 Rochester tries, and Peter Holland scored twice.
“I thought [Mazanec] gave us a chance to get our feet under us against Rochester, that was coming back with a real edge in this back-to-back series,” Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said. “Strong outing, made some big saves when there was breakdowns, pretty impressive, with the amount of time he’s had off.”
Holland also had an assist in game, and Cole Schneider had two goals and an assist. The Wolf Pack also got a goal and an assist from Vinni Lettieri, and Steven Fogarty had two assists.
“When there was some lanes to create some scoring chances, we were able to execute and finish them,” said McCambridge.
Holland opened the scoring at the 11-minute mark, backhanding the puck past Rochester starting netminder Adam Wilcox from the goalmouth, after a shot by Matt Beleskey from the left circle was knocked down.
Holland clicked again 4:26 later, at 15:26, momentarily tying Schneider for the Wolf Pack team goals lead with his ninth of the year. Ryan Lindgren broke up an American feed in the neutral zone, and Ville Meskanen fed to Holland on the left side. His sharp-angle shot from near the bottom of the circle got by Wilcox on the long side.
The second period was scoreless until there were only 8.5 seconds left in it, and the Wolf Pack widened their lead to 3-0 at that point, on a goal by Lettieri. A shot by Chris Bigras from the right point hit a crowd in front, and the puck went behind the net. Schneider was able to slide it to the front of the net to an unchecked Lettieri, and he ripped it past a diving Wilcox.
The Americans replaced Wilcox, who made 16 saves, with Scott Wedgewood to start the third period, and Wedgewood was greeted by Schneider’s tenth goal of the season at the 4:25 mark.
Lettieri threaded a perfect pass from the right side to Schneider in the left circle, and the former Amerk easily one-timed it into the net.
Yannick Veilleux ended Mazanec’s shutout bid at 9:15, cutting the Wolf Pack lead to 4-1. Eric Cornel fed the puck from the right-wing boards to Veilleux in the middle, and he cut to his left before firing a shot back against the grain that beat Mazanec to the stick side.
Rochester’s comeback hopes were hampered by a high-sticking double minor taken by Brendan Guhle with 6:19 left, when he hit Lettieri in the face in the Wolf Pack zone.
With 14 seconds left on the long man advantage, Schneider bagged his second of the game at 17:27, to make the final margin 4-1. Schneider took a pass from Holland at the right side of the slot and, after his first attempt was blocked, got a second whack at the puck and put it underneath Wedgewood (16 saves).
The Wolf Pack’s next game is this Thursday night, December 27, a 7:00 PM visit to Bridgeport to take on the Sound Tigers. 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’s next home game is next Saturday, December 29, the completion of a home-and-home with Bridgeport. Faceoff is 7:00 PM, and the first 2,000 fans into the XL Center for that game will receive a free Wolf Pack team trading card set, presented by CM Concessions.
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.
Hartford Wolf Pack 5 at Rochester Americans 1
Saturday, December 22, 2018 - Blue Cross Arena
Hartford 2 1 2 - 5
Rochester 0 0 1 - 1
1st Period-1, Hartford, Holland 8 (Beleskey, Crawley), 11:00. 2, Hartford, Holland 9 (Meskanen, Lindgren), 15:26. Penalties-Fogarty Hfd (slashing), 0:59; Leedahl Hfd (hooking), 16:33.
2nd Period-3, Hartford, Lettieri 7 (Schneider, Bigras), 19:51. Penalties-No Penalties
3rd Period-4, Hartford, Schneider 10 (Lettieri, Fogarty), 4:25. 5, Rochester, Veilleux 2 (Cornel, Randell), 9:15. 6, Hartford, Schneider 11 (Holland, Fogarty), 17:27 (PP). Penalties-Randell Roc (roughing), 9:44; Fogarty Hfd (hooking), 11:13; Guhle Roc (double minor - high-sticking), 13:41; Beleskey Hfd (fighting), 19:00; Lindgren Hfd (fighting), 19:00; Randell Roc (fighting), 19:00; Veilleux Roc (fighting), 19:00.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 13-6-18-37. Rochester 23-9-9-41.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 1 / 3; Rochester 0 / 3.
Goalies-Hartford, Mazanec 5-5-2 (41 shots-40 saves). Rochester, Wilcox 7-3-1 (19 shots-16 saves); Wedgewood 9-6-1 (18 shots-16 saves).
Referees-Mackenzie Nichol (68), Michael Sheehan (74).
Linesmen-Peter Feola (33), Derek Sylvester (76).
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