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 Hartford Wolf Pack

Wolf Pack Open Atlantic Division Semifinals vs. Bruins

May 1, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Hartford Wolf Pack News Release


PROVIDENCE, RI - The Hartford Wolf Pack and Providence Bruins open their second Calder Cup Playoff series in as many years against each other tonight at the Amica Mutual Pavilion in Providence.

The puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m., and coverage is available on AHLTV and Mixlr.

Tale of The Tape:

The Wolf Pack and Bruins met ten times during the regular season, with each team winning five games. The Wolf Pack posted a record of 5-4-1-0, while the Bruins went 5-3-1-1. In Providence, the Wolf Pack went 2-2-1-0 during the 2023-24 campaign.

The Bruins claimed a 4-2 victory at the Amica Mutual Pavilion in the last meeting between the teams on April 21 st , which was the regular season finale for both sides.

Trevor Kuntar opened the scoring 13:29 into the game, driving to the net and beating Dylan Garand with a backhand bid for his tenth goal of the season. The Wolf Pack responded moments later, however, tying the game at 16:14. Jake Leschyshyn took a pass from Anton Blidh at the net front and buried his eighth goal of the season.

1:28 later, at 17:42, Blake Hillman put the Wolf Pack ahead with a shot through traffic that Brandon Bussi never saw. The goal was Hillman's career-high fourth of the season.

Georgii Merkulov drew the Bruins even 5:41 into the second period, jamming home a rebound for his 29 th goal of the season after Garand made the save on the initial point shot from Mason Lohrei. The goal sent the sides to the third period deadlocked 2-2.

Patrick Brown drove down the right-wing side just over the halfway mark of the period, flipping a pass to Nick Zabaneh in front of the Wolf Pack net. Zabaneh, in his professional debut, buried his first career goal at 11:11 to make it 3-2 Bruins. The goal would stand as the game-winner.

Merkulov hit the empty net at 18:38, potting his 30 th goal of the season. He became the first Bruin since Frank Vatrano in 2015-16 to hit the 30-goal plateau in a single season.

Veteran forward Jayson Megna led the way for the Bruins in the season series against the Wolf Pack, scoring nine points (3 g, 6 a) in ten games. Brett Berard (4 g, 3 a) and Alex Belzile (3 g, 4 a) led the way for Hartford with seven points each against the Bruins this season.

Wolf Pack Outlook:

The Wolf Pack became just the second team in 21 tries to win a best-of-three, First Round Calder Cup Playoff series after losing Game 1. The comeback was completed on Sunday afternoon in Game 3 when the Wolf Pack defeated the Charlotte Checkers 3-1.

Jaroslav Chmelaø broke the ice 10:10 into the game with his first career Calder Cup Playoff goal, giving the Wolf Pack a lead they never lost. Chmelaø drove in on the right-wing side before cutting to the net and snapping a shot by Magnus Hellberg.

Riley Nash extended the lead to 2-0 at 4:21 of the third period. Brett Berard found Nash at the backdoor, hitting him with a pass that set the veteran up to slam the puck into an empty net for his second goal of the series. The powerplay goal would stand as the game-winner and the series-winner for Nash against his former team.

Berard then used a burst of speed to create a shorthanded breakaway, which he converted for his first career Calder Cup Playoff goal at 14:52 of the third period.

Brendan Perlini got the Checkers on the board 39 seconds later at 15:37, scoring from the top of the left-wing circle on a six-on-four advantage, but it would not be enough. Garand slammed the door shut from there to help the Wolf Pack complete the comeback.

Garand made 38 saves in the victory, tying the single-game Calder Cup Playoff career-high he set in Game 1.

Nash (2 g, 1 a), Berard (1 g, 2 a), and Nic Petan (1 g, 2 a) are all tied for the team lead in points with three each through the First Round. Nash's two goals led the Pack against the Checkers, while Berard, Petan, Brennan Othmann, and Mac Hollowell all exited the series with a pair of assists to their credit.

Bruins Outlook:

For the second consecutive spring, the Bruins earned a bye through the First Round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

The Bruins finished second in the Atlantic Division with a record of 42-21-6-3, good for 93 points behind only the Hershey Bears. Their 93 points were good for second in the Eastern Conference, behind only the Bears, and fourth in the AHL behind the Bears (111 points), Coachella Valley Firebirds (103 points), and Milwaukee Admirals (97 points).

At home this season, the Bruins went 21-9-3-3. They finished with 48 points at home, which is second in the Eastern Conference behind only the Bears. Their 21 wins at home were also second in the Eastern Conference, once again only trailing the Bears (29).

During the regular season, Merklov led the Bruins in both goals with 30 and points with 65 (30 g, 35 a). Megna, meanwhile, led the club in assists with 37. He recorded three assists in the season finale against the Wolf Pack.

Game Information:

WATCH: AHLTV

LISTEN: Mixlr

Play-by-play voice of the Wolf Pack Alex Thomas will have 'Wolf Pack Pregame' starting live at 6:50 p.m. on both AHLTV and Mixlr.

Single-game tickets for both Game 3 and Game 4 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals are on sale now!

For playoff information, please visit www.hartfordwolfpack.com/tickets/playoff-information .


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