Early Struggles Hinder Wolf Pack
Springfield, MA - The Hartford Wolf Pack's Nick Jones had his first two pro points, with a goal and an assist, Wednesday night at the MassMutual Center, but Joel Lowry scored twice for the Springfield Thunderbirds, and Anthony Greco added a goal and two assists, in a 5-2 Springfield victory.
Josh Wesley had the other Hartford goal, his first point in ten Wolf Pack games, and Blaine Byron had a goal and an assist for the Thunderbirds, in the last of ten meetings on the year between the close regional rivals.
"I thought Springfield looked like a team that's still is trying to keep their playoff hopes alive," Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said, "and we had a couple of breakdowns in the first five minutes, and it's in the back of our net."
The two teams combined for five goals in a high-scoring first period, starting with a pair of scores by Lowry in the first 3:24.
Lowry got the Thunderbirds on the board at the 1:01 mark, after the Wolf Pack failed to clear the puck out of their zone. Matt Mangene snapped the puck at the net from the right point, and Lowry deflected it past Wolf Pack goaltender Adam Huska (22 saves).
Lowry struck again only 2:23 later, at 3:24, on the game's first power play. With Brandon Crawley off for hooking, Mangene passed to Vincent Praplan at the left side of the goal crease, and he handed the puck in front to Lowry for the close-in finish.
The Wolf Pack got one back only 2:12 after that, as a Jones pass for Ty Ronning was broken up, and the puck came to Wesley at the right point. He let go a quick shot that eluded Thunderbird netminder Chris Driedger (34 saves) at 5:36.
It took Springfield just 2:10 to restore the two-goal margin, though, as Jonathan Ang made it 3-1 at 7:46. Greco sent a feed from the left side of the slot to Ang in front of the goal, and he quickly knifed the puck past Huska.
The Wolf Pack clicked on their first power play of the game at 13:46, with Sebastian Repo in the penalty box for a hook. It was Jones connecting for his first pro goal, as he got a pass from the right-wing boards from Ville Meskanen, moved to the bottom of the circle and fired a shot that hit Driedger before trickling through him and into the goal.
The Wolf Pack outshot the Thunderbirds 14-7 in the second period, but Springfield got the only goal, a shorthanded tally by Greco at 12:54. With Lowry off for hooking, Juho Lammikko broke up a Ryan Gropp pass in the Springfield zone and sent Greco away behind the Hartford defense. Greco finished the breakaway with a forehand shot past Huska on the stick side.
The third-period shots on goal were also dominated by the Wolf Pack, 15-7, but they could not finish any of those chances. The Thunderbirds iced the game with an empty-net goal by Byron, who put a shot in from just outside his own blue line with 1:24 remaining.
"I like the pushback that we had, but the dagger was the shorthanded goal-against," said McCambridge. "We had a couple of power-play opportunities, and I have to give credit to their goaltender. I thought he made some key saves when we were in good scoring position."
The Wolf Pack are next in action this Saturday night, April 6, when they host the Utica Comets in a 7:00 PM contest at the XL Center. Tickets for all remaining 2018-19 Wolf Pack 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. Tickets purchased in advance for kids 12 or younger start at just $13 each, and all tickets will have a $3 day-of-game increase.
Information about all of the Wolf Pack's many attractive ticketing options can be found on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com. To speak with a Wolf Pack representative, call (855) 762-6451.
Hartford Wolf Pack 2 at Springfield Thunderbirds 5
Wednesday - MassMutual Center
Hartford 2 0 0 - 2
Springfield 3 1 1 - 5
1st Period-1, Springfield, Lowry 9 (Mangene, Praplan), 1:01. 2, Springfield, Lowry 10 (Praplan, Mangene), 3:24 (PP). 3, Hartford, Wesley 1 (Ronning, Jones), 5:36. 4, Springfield, Ang 5 (Greco, Byron), 7:46. 5, Hartford, Jones 1 (Meskanen, Register), 13:46 (PP). Penalties-Crawley Hfd (hooking), 2:54; Repo Spr (hooking), 12:18; St. Amant Hfd (slashing), 17:41; Breton Spr (tripping), 20:00.
2nd Period-6, Springfield, Greco 27 (Lammikko), 12:54 (SH). Penalties-Lowry Spr (hooking), 12:17; Fogarty Hfd (hooking), 14:39; Lammikko Spr (holding), 20:00.
3rd Period-7, Springfield, Byron 13 (Greco), 18:36 (EN). Penalties-St. Amant Hfd (roughing), 7:46; Dea Spr (roughing, slashing), 7:46; Day Hfd (checking to the head), 10:16.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 7-14-15-36. Springfield 13-7-7-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 1 / 5; Springfield 1 / 4.
Goalies-Hartford, Huska 1-3-1 (26 shots-22 saves). Springfield, Driedger 15-10-2 (36 shots-34 saves).
Referees-Brandon Blandina (39), Andrew Howard (50).
Linesmen-Robert St. Lawrence (10), Nick Briganti (58).
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