Utica opened the scoring 4:35 into the first period, when Boucher, in his first game back from a recall stint with the parent Vancouver Canucks, ripped a shot in the top corner past the glove hand of Wolf Pack goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. Assists were credited to David Dziurzynski and Jalen Chatfield.
At 13:28, the Comets received their second power play opportunity, when Ryan Graves was whistled for boarding. Just 33 seconds into the man-up situation, Boucher struck again, scoring his second goal of the game, and 15th on the season. Philip Holm and Carcone earned the assists on the play.
Hartford battled and created some offensive chances throughout the period, but the Pack would remain scoreless for the first 40 minutes.
“Their defenseman did a real good job of keeping us away from the front of the net,” said Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge, “but when we did have some chances, we were sending shots from the point.”
The second frame had a similar start as the first. At the 6:57 mark of the second, Brandon Crawley picked up a two-minute interference penalty. Utica wasted no time scoring on this chance, as Carcone let a shot go from the point and Darren Archibald tipped it past Georgiev in front of the net. Boucher also assisted on the play.
No goals were scored again until the Pack foiled Utica goaltender Richard Bachman’s shutout bid at the 11:17 mark of the final frame. That was on Hartford’s fifth power play chance, with Philip Holm off for high-sticking.
The Wolf Pack swung the puck around on the power play, and Peter Holland was able to put a shot past Bachman from the right-wing boards, off of a defender in front.
Less than a minute later, at 12:12, the Wolf Pack found themselves on their heels again when Boucher cashed in for a hat trick, as he deflected Dylan Blujus’ shot from the point.
The final tally came at 16:53, after the Wolf Pack had pulled Georgiev for an extra attacker. The Comets grabbed possession and Carcone tapped in an empty net goal to complete his three-point night.
Utica finished the game 2-for-6 on the power play, against a Wolf Pack penalty kill that had been 10-for-10 in the previous four games and 30-for-34 in the previous 11.
“It’s hard when you’re playing three [games] in three [nights],” said McCambridge after the game. “That’s a real battle to have to kill that many penalties.”
The Wolf Pack’s next action is this Wednesday night, January 10, when they head to Bridgeport to battle the Sound Tigers, the first of four straight road games for Hartford. Faceoff is 7:00 PM, and all of the action can be heard live on News Radio 1410 WPOP, and on-line at www.newsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.
The next home game for the Wolf Pack is next Friday, January 19, when the Comets are back for a 7:15 contest. 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.
Utica Comets 5 at Hartford Wolf Pack 1
Sunday, January 7, 2018 - XL Center
Utica 2 1 2 - 5
Hartford 0 0 1 - 1
1st Period-1, Utica, Boucher 14 (Dziurzynski, Chatfield), 4:35. 2, Utica, Boucher 15 (Holm, Carcone), 14:01 (PP). Penalties-Graves Hfd (hooking), 0:11; Sautner Uti (slashing), 10:18; Graves Hfd (boarding), 13:28; MacEwen Uti (delay of game), 19:38.
2nd Period-3, Utica, Archibald 5 (Carcone, Boucher), 7:40 (PP). Penalties-Holm Uti (interference), 4:41; Crawley Hfd (interference), 6:57; DeAngelo Hfd (slashing), 8:56; Herbert Hfd (hooking), 17:07.
3rd Period-4, Hartford, Holland 12 (Pionk, DeAngelo), 11:17 (PP). 5, Utica, Boucher 16 (Blujus, Cameranesi), 12:12. 6, Utica, Carcone 8 (Dziurzynski, Archibald), 16:53 (EN). Penalties-Sproul Hfd (hooking), 3:00; Woods Uti (slashing), 5:33; Holm Uti (high-sticking), 10:37; Cherniwchan Uti (slashing), 13:51.
Shots on Goal-Utica 10-11-8-29. Hartford 11-9-12-32.
Power Play Opportunities-Utica 2 / 6; Hartford 1 / 6.
Goalies-Utica, Bachman 3-7-2 (32 shots-31 saves). Hartford, Georgiev 4-10-5 (28 shots-24 saves).
Referees-Reid Anderson (49), Geoff Miller (28).
Linesmen-Nick Briganti (58), Luke Galvin (2).
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