With a win and a loss this past week, the Hartford Wolf Pack slipped into the eigth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference of the American Hockey League (AHL).
Things were looking great in the 5-1 victory over the Springfeild Falcons on Friday. Roman Lyashenko led the way with two goals and an assist, while Nils Ekman tallied three assists to help the pack defeat the 10th seeded Falcons. The Pack did not fair as well against Albany on Saturday. Without injured forwards Ekman and John Tripp, Hartford was handed a 6-3 loss. Ted Donato scored a pair of goals and recorded one assist in the contest.
The Pack look to get healthy and back on track this week when they face Portland on Wednesday before oprning a three-game weekend against Albany, Providence, and Springfeild.
GAME RECAPS: Hartford, March 7, 2003 -- Nils Ekman had three assists to lead the Hartford Wolf Pack past the Springfield Falcons, 5-1. Ekman, who has 13 points in his last seven games, assisted on a Roman Lyashenko (right) goal just 4:15 into the first period, set up the game-winner by Cory Larose just under four minutes later and helped out on a second goal by Lyashenko late in the second to make it 4-0. Bobby Andrews scored midway through the second and Layne Ulmer added a marker early in the third to close out the scoring for Hartford, which is 3-1-2 in its last six games to keep pace with Manitoba for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. Johan Holmqvist stopped 21 of 22 shots to earn the victory for the Wolf Pack. Boyd Kane notched the lone goal for Springfield and Evgeny Konstantinov surrendered five goals on just 22 shots to suffer the loss for the Falcons, who are winless in their last three (0-2-1).
Hartford, March 8, 2003 -- Greg Crozier scored a pair of goals and Craig Darby added a goal and an assist to help the Albany River Rats top the Hartford Wolf Pack, 6-3. Crozier snapped a 1-1 tie 48 seconds into the second period and added an empty-netter with 52 seconds remaining in the contest. Darby assisted on a power-play tally by Brett Clouthier that gave Albany a 3-2 lead with 61 seconds left in the middle stanza and scored 8:49 into the third to push the advantage to a pair of goals. Ari Ahonen stopped 23 of 26 shots to record just his second win since January 29. Ted Donato finished with a pair of goals and an assist for Hartford, which went 0-for-4 on the power play. Johan Holmqvist finished with 20 saves in the loss.
WOLF PACK NOTES: * The Pack acquired defenseman Ryan Bast on loan from the Philadelphia Flyers. He had contributed one assist in 11 games for the Phantoms, along with 21 penalty minutes.
* Harford announced the signing of center Chris Pittman. In 57 games with the East Coast Hockey League's Columbia Inferno, Pittman netted 21 goals and 25 assists for 46 points, along with 85 penalty minutes.
* Wolf Pack to Assist Brian Aselton Memorial Fund East Hartford Police Officers' Association Selling Tickets ... Hartford Wolf Pack Vice President and General Manager Al Coates announced that the Wolf Pack will be helping to raise funds for the Brian Aselton Memorial Fund. Aselton, an East Hartford Police Officer, was the first officer in his department to be slain by a suspect during the commission of a felony. The East Hartford Police Officers' Association will be selling lower-bowl tickets for the Wolf Pack's home game Saturday, March 22nd vs. the Saint John Flames. The tickets will be priced at $20.00, and $5.50 from each ticket sold will go to the Brian Aselton Memorial Fund. To purchase these tickets, contact Stacie Rosedale at the East Hartford Police Department (860-528-4407, or Hockeytix251@aol.com). The Brian Aselton Memorial Fund was started by the EHPOA to ensure that an appropriate, honorable and distinguished memorial is erected in the memory of Officer Aselton. The Wolf Pack are home this weekend against Springfield on Friday and Albany Saturday (both 7:05 PM starts). Wolf Pack 2002-03 multi-game, coupon book and group-discount packages, as well as single-game tickets, are all currently on sale. For further information, contact the Wolf Pack ticket office at 860-548-2000.