Alex Belzile OT goal keeps Rangers affiliate alive in AHL playoffs

Alex Belzile
Alex Belzile Credit: Hartford Wolf Pack

Alex Belzile scored at 8:11 of overtime to lift the Hartford Wolf Pack to a 3-2 win against the Charlotte Checkers in Game 2 of their first-round Calder Cup Playoff series on Saturday.

The win kept the Wolf Pack alive in the best-of-3 series, which is now tied 1-1. The third and deciding game will be play Sunday in Charlotte.

Belzile knocked a rebound of a Nic Petan shot past Checkers goalie Spencer Knight for the game winner. It was the first goal in these AHL playoffs for the 32-year-old forward, who led the Wolf Pack with 50 points in 61 games this season.

Petan earned the primary assist, his second point of the game. The forward earlier tied the game 1-1 at 8:21 of the second period for his first goal of the series.

Neither Belzile nor Petan are in the Rangers prospects pool at Hartford, but they could join the Black Aces in New York if the Wolf Pack playoff run ends before the Rangers. Petan has 170 games of NHL experience with five teams and Belzile played 44 games with the Montreal Canadiens, including 31 last season.

Related: Rangers look for rare playoff sweep against Capitals

Rangers goalie prospect stars again in Calder Cup Playoffs

Dylan Garand — Photo courtesy Hartford Wolf Pack Credit: Hartford Wolf Pack

Several younger Rangers prospects contributed to the big win Saturday, starting with goalie Dylan Garand.

After starring with a season-high 38 saves in a 3-1 Game 1 loss, Garand stopped three shots in overtime and finished with 28 saves in the Game 2 victory. The 21-year-old also earned the secondary assist on Petan’s goal with a breakout pass to Ryder Korczak.

It was a good game for Korczak, as well. New York’s third-round pick (No. 70) in the 2021 NHL Draft had two points, including the tying goal 3:06 into the third period.

That goal was assisted by two of the Rangers top forward prospects, Brennan Othamnn and Brett Berard. It was the second assist in the series for Othmann, who was New York’s first-round pick in 2021.

Berard has one point in the series.

The win was Hartford’s second in 10 games, including the regular season, against Charlotte this season. The Wolf Pack will look to pull off the first-round upset when the teams meet Sunday afternoon.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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