Sean Avery Returns To Hockey With Hartford Wolf Pack

Martin AverySenior Writer IFebruary 14, 2009

With Sean Avery in the line-up for the first time, the Hartford Wolf Pack lost 4-1 to the Manitoba Moose. Three days ago, the Wolf Pack, without Sean Avery, lost 4-2 to the Moose.

Despite the loss, Moose coach Scott Arniel complimented Avery, saying it was easy to spot an NHL quality player on the AHL ice, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.

The victory finished the four-game regular season series between the Moose and the Wolf Pack. Manitoba went 3-1-0-0 versus Hartford. Manitoba improved to 19-4-0-3 on the road this season, which works out to a remarkable .788 winning percentage playing away from home. Manitoba owns the best record in the AHL at 37-14-0-5.

In tonight's game, the Moose led 1-0 at the end of the first period, went up 2-0 at the start of the second, and Hartford finally got on the scoreboard in the start of the third. The Moose added two more for the victory.

Karl Goehring had 24 saves for the Moose. Miika Wiikman stopped 24 shots for the Wolf Pack.

The game attracted 5,899 fans, which is 2,055 above the Wolf Pack's average attendance, according to the Hartford Courant.

Avery appeared in his first competitive hockey game in two months. He got lots of ice time, had three shots on goal, and was involved in two minor scrapes.

He was challenged on just his second shift by Manitoba defenseman Nathan McIver, but before Avery could fight back, Wolf Pack teammate Jared Nightengale stepped in, according to the Daily News.

Wolf Pack fans wearing Avery's No. 16 Rangers jersey, didn't have to wait long for the great agitator to mix it up, according to the Hartford Courant.

After entering the game 1:24 in, and then spending another short stint on the bench, Avery was soon involved in a scuffle behind the Manitoba net with defenseman Nathan McIver.

With 2:24 remaining in the second period, according to AP, Avery was quick to come to the defense of his new teammates, thrusting himself into the middle of another fracas behind the Moose net, and trading shoves with several Manitoba skaters.

Many fans wore their favorite Sean Avery jerseys and some even made signs to celebrate his appearance as a member of the AHL's Wolf Pack, according to Newsday.

Avery was used on the power play and penalty-kill units. He had 19 shifts and played a little less than 24 minutes. The play of the night from Avery came during the first period when he made a great no-look pass from behind the goal line to a trailing teammate.

Avery was involved in scuffles all night, but kept his composure and didn't throw a punch. He chirped at a Moose defenseman after a second-period skirmish and then skated away with a mischievous smile.

It was the first time Avery had played in a hockey game since Nov. 30.