WOLF PACK GAME RECAP - Hartford Wolf Pack 4, Springfield Thunderbirds
Hartford, CT - Nicklas Jensen's goal with 2:21 remaining in the third period lifted the Hartford Wolf Pack to a 4-3 win over the Springfield Thunderbirds Friday night at the XL Center.
Rookie goaltender Chris Nell made 27 saves to post his first professional win for the Wolf Pack, and Marek Hrivik had a goal and an assist. Chris Brown and Matt Carey also scored for Hartford. Ed Wittchow, Tim Bozon and Chase Balisy had the Springfield goals.
At 5:19 of the first period, the Thunderbirds took the early lead when Wittchow took a pass from Anthony Greco and fired a shot from the left point over the right shoulder of Nell to make the score 1-0.
Just 2:40 later, at 5:19, the Wolf Pack were able to respond and beat Springfield goalie Sam Brittain (22 saves). Brown picked off a Paul Thompson pass just outside the Thunderbird blue line, to set up a one on one opportunity with the goalie that he converted with a perfect five-hole shot.
At 13:12, Springfield wound up with their own one on one opportunity, as Bozon streaked down the ice with the puck and deposited it past Nell to reclaim the lead and make the score 2-1.
With just over two minutes remaining in the period, Vince Pedrie was sent to the box for tripping to give the Thunderbirds their first power play of the night. Nell and the defense remained strong, however and managed to keep the deficit at one.
The Wolf Pack's first extra man chance came early in the second period, when Greco was booked for tripping at 1:08. Unlike their opponents, Hartford was able to capitalize on the opportunity, as Marek Hrivik fired a one-timer from the top of the right circle above the shoulder of Brittain to even the game at two.
At the 5:05 mark, Adam Tambellini was called for delay of game to give Springfield a chance to reclaim the lead. With 59 seconds remaining in Hartford's penalty, though Springfield's Balisy committed one of his own to bring it back to even strength.
Seconds after the Thunderbirds killed the penalty, Hrivik took the puck down the right side of the ice before feeding a pass across to Carey, who was able to one-time it into the back of the net to put the Wolf Pack in front for the first time, 3-2.
At 10:13, Balisy took the puck away from Steven Fogarty deep in the Hartford zone and scored an unassisted goal to tie the game for the third time.
With 8:59 remaining in the final period, the Wolf Pack's Carey was whistled for roughing to give Springfield a chance to take the lead. Hartford's defense as able to kill the power play and keep the game knotted at three.
The winning play came after Brown and John Gilmour passed the puck around to create some open space, before ultimately sending it to Jensen, who found a seam in the Thunderbirds' defense and ripped a shot into the top corner on the glove side, that ended up being the game winner for the Wolf Pack.
Jensen noted that, "It's nice to get a win. It's tough to not have the playoffs to push for, but it's a good feeling and great for our confidence."
The Wolf Pack's last home game of the season is Saturday night, as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins visit the XL Center for a 7:00 PM faceoff. That is "Fan Appreciation Night", presented by KOTA, as the Wolf Pack pay tribute to the all the great fans who have supported the team throughout the 2016-17 season. The Wolf Pack will be giving away thousands of dollars-worth of prizes, including a new TV, a round of golf for four and overnight stay at Mohegan Sun, and gift cards to some of Hartford's best local restaurants.
Wolf Pack home game tickets are always available at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.
To speak with a Wolf Pack representative about season or group tickets, or any of the Wolf Pack's many ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.
Springfield Thunderbirds 3 at Hartford Wolf Pack 4 Friday - XL Center
Springfield 2 1 0 - 3 Hartford 1 2 1 - 4
1st Period-1, Springfield, Wittchow 2 (Greco), 5:19. 2, Hartford, Brown 13 7:59. 3, Springfield, Bozon 8 13:12. Penalties-Pedrie Hfd (tripping), 17:41.
2nd Period-4, Hartford, Hrivik 15 (Pedrie, Tambellini), 1:51 (PP). 5, Hartford, Carey 20 (Hrivik, Pedrie), 8:11. 6, Springfield, Balisy 15 10:13. Penalties-Greco Spr (tripping), 1:08; Tambellini Hfd (delay of game), 5:05; Balisy Spr (tripping), 6:06.
3rd Period-7, Hartford, Jensen 29 (Brown, Gilmour), 17:39. Penalties-Carey Hfd (roughing), 11:01.
Shots on Goal-Springfield 12-9-9-30. Hartford 12-6-8-26. Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 0 / 3; Hartford 1 / 2. Goalies-Springfield, Brittain 4-5-0 (26 shots-22 saves). Hartford, Nell 1-2-0 (30 shots-27 saves). A-4,529 Referees-Alex Garon (64), Stephen Reneau (34). Linesmen-Mike Baker (11), Paul Simeon (66).
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