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Hartford Wolf Pack Update - December 30 to January 5

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers


As the 2002 calendar year ended and with a new year underway, the Wolf Pack find themselves in third place in the East at 16-14-6-2 (40 points) through 38 games. The Pack trail Bridgeport (45 points) and Binghamton (42 points) in the division standings. Hartford prepares to hit the road for a three-game trip that includes stops in Binghamton (Wednesday, 7:05 PM ET) and a pair in Manitoba (Friday, 8:30 PM ET and Saturday, 8:30 PM ET).

GAME RECAPS:
Providence, December 31, 2002 -- Matt Herr scored early in the third period to help the Providence Bruins extend their unbeaten streak to 10 games with a 2-1 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack. Herr put a power-play feed from Andy Hilbert behind goaltender Johan Holmqvist 5:25 into the final stanza to snap a 1-1 tie. Lee Goren contributed his 14th goal of the season for Providence, which improved to 9-0-1 since December 8. Andrew Raycroft yielded a goal on 15 shots to pick up his fifth win in as many starts. Garth Murray netted his first goal since November 23 and Holmqvist made 27 saves for Hartford, which fell to 1-4-1 against the Bruins this season.

Hartford, January 3, 2003 -- Patrick DesRochers made a season-high 44 saves and Jeff Daw had a pair of goals and an assist to help the Lowell Lock Monsters post a 4-1 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack. DesRochers made double-digit saves in each period, including 20 in the third, for his third win of the year. Daw opened the scoring with 4:21 left in the first with his fifth power-play goal of the season. He later broke a 1-1 tie with 6:54 left in the second on the man advantage and assisted Jeff Heerema on a power-play tally with 2:58 remaining in the period. Heerema added an assist and Brent McDonald chipped in with his fourth goal of the year for Lowell, which won at Hartford for the second time in a week. Nils Ekman scored the lone goal for the Wolf Pack 6:21 into the second with help from Dave Karpa. Johan Holmqvist stopped all 14 shots he faced in the first period, but had his winless streak extended to nine games (0-6-3) after allowing three goals on seven shots in the second before being pulled. Hartford went 0-for-6 on the power play and is winless in its last four games (0-3-1).

Bridgeport, January 4, 2003 -- Dixon Ward scored his first game-winning goal of the season and John Tripp posted a pair of markers and an assist as the Hartford Wolf Pack edged the Bridgeport SoundTigers, 4-3. Ward snapped a 3-3 tie with help from Garth Murray and Jamie Lundmark at 12:45 in the third period. Tripp, who put Hartford on the board 4:53 into the second session, knotted the score at 3-3 with 8:05 left in the third with his team-leading 21st goal of the year. Nils Ekman contributed a goal and an assist for Hartford, which snapped its four-game winless streak. Jason LaBarbera made 18 saves for the win, improving to 11-7-2. Justin Mapletoft opened the scoring 3:08 into the opening period and Sven Butenschon gave Bridgeport a two-goal lead with his first goal of the season less than two minutes later. Jeremy Adduano added the final goal for the SoundTigers, who had their winless streak extended to four games (0-3-1). Rick DiPietro turned aside 22 shots in the loss.

Hartford, January 5, 2003 -- Mikko Jokela scored with less than five minutes remaining to lift the Albany River Rats over the Hartford Wolf Pack, 2-1. Jokela scored his fifth goal of the season with 4:50 remaining in the match to break a 1-1 tie, giving Albany the lead for good. Rob Skrlac netted his first marker of the season earlier in the period for the River Rats, who snapped a five-game winless streak (0-4-1-0). Ari Ahonen stopped a season-high 38 shots to pick up his seventh win of the season. Nils Ekman scored in his third straight game for Hartford midway through the third period. Jason LaBarbera turned aside 18 shots and suffered the loss to fall to 11-8-2.

WOLF PACK NOTES:
* Hartford ranks third in the AHL with 133 goals for and first in the league with 1,130 total penalty minutes ... Through 18 home games thus far, the Pack have averaged 5,281 fans to the Civic Center, ranking 11th in the 28-team AHL.

* Dixon Ward leads Hartford and is tied for 11th in the AHL with 35 points (12 goals, 23 assists) in 28 games ... Ranks first on the team with 23 assists.

* John Tripp ranks second in the AHL with 21 goals and fourth in the league with 139 shots on goal ... Ranks second on the Wolf Pack with 32 points (21 goals, 11 assists) in 38 games ... Leads the club with eight power play goals and three game-winning tallies ... Was named to the 2003 Canadian AHL All-Star roster, marking his first trip to the All-Star Classic.

* Roman Lyashenko ranks third on Hartford with 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 31 games ... His 15 assists rank second on the club and his +15 rating is tied for third among Hartford players.

* Nils Ekman is averaging nearly a point per game, collecting 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 23 games this season.

* Dave Karpa made his Wolf Pack debut on January 3 vs. Lowell, collecting an assist on Ekman's goal ... Has appeared in 80 career AHL matches with Halifax and Cornwall (1991-92 to 1994-95), collecting four goals and 29 assists and 190 penalty minutes.

* Mike Mottau returned to the lineup on January 3 vs. Lowell after missing the previous 16 games with a knee injury.

Wolf Pack Announce "Snow Exchange"
Unused Tickets and Stubs From January 3 Game Can Be Redeemed

Hartford Wolf Pack Vice-President and General Manager Al Coates announced a special ticket exchange for theJanuary 3 home game vs. the Lowell Lock Monsters, in view of the inclement weather.

Any ticket-holder (including the Wolf Pack's valued season seat and mini-game plan-holders) who was not able to attend the game tonight (January 3) can take their unused ticket to the Civic Center Box Office and exchangeit for a best-available ticket to any remaining Friday home game during theregular season. Those fans who braved the "elements" and attended the gamecan also take advantage of this same opportunity by exchanging their usedticket stub.

"We truly appreciate the support of those fans who made their wayout to get to the game tonight," Coates said. "And we certainly understandwhy others would have made the decision to stay at home and off the roads.We hope that all those good fans who purchased tickets for tonight will joinus at a future game."

For more information, call the Wolf Pack ticket office at 860-548-2000.
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