Wolf Pack Shrug off Early Deficit to Beat Bridgeport in Opener
Hartford, CT - The Hartford Wolf Pack exploded for four third-period goals Sunday at the XL Center, for a 5-2 win in their season opener over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
The Wolf Pack scored five straight goals in the game, after spotting the visitors a 2-0 lead. Jonny Brodzinski, Patrick Newell, Morgan Barron and Will Cuylle all scored in the third for Hartford, and Justin Richards had two assists. Defenseman Tarmo Reunanen also had a goal and an assist in the game for the Wolf Pack.
Brodzinski started the big third period for the Wolf Pack, scoring only 26 seconds in. The puck went off of Bridgeport forward Kyle MacLean's stick to Brodzinski just inside the left faceoff dot, and he flicked a shot into the top corner on the glove side of Sound Tiger goaltender Jakub Skarek (21 saves).
Newell then gave the Wolf Pack its first lead of the game at 4:23, with what turned out to be the game-winner. Richards spun a backhanded feed off of the right-wing boards to Newell, who worked his way behind Bridgeport defenseman Mitch Vande Sompel and put a shot in off of the goal post on Skarek's stick side.
Rookies Barron and Cuylle put the game out of reach with goals only 34 seconds apart, starting with Barron's first as a pro at 10:51. He dropped the puck to Richards covering the right point, and he handed it back to Barron at the top of the circle. Barron's shot from there beat Skarek for a 4-2 lead.
Cuylle completed the scoring at 11:25. Austin Rueschhoff spun on the right-wing boards and threw a shot towards the net that was blocked. The puck caromed right to Cuylle between the hash marks, though, and he had Skarek at his mercy for a forehand finish.
Bridgeport outshot the Wolf Pack 8-4 in the first period and took a 1-0 lead at 14:12, on defenseman Samuel Bolduc's first professional goal. Felix Bibeau wrapped the puck around the goal post to Wolf Pack netminder Keith Kinkaid's left, and it deflected off the opposite boards and out to Bolduc at the left point. He slapped a quick shot that went through traffic and eluded Kinkaid (25 saves).
Another Sound Tiger rookie, Cole Coskey, netted his first pro goal at 6:55 of the second period to increase Bridgeport's lead to 2-0. Coskey intercepted Reunanen's pass out of the corner to Kinkaid's left, broke to the front of the net and put a backhand shot into the top shelf.
Only 2:27 later, though, at 9:22, Reunanen turned the tables by notching his first North American pro goal and putting the Wolf Pack on the scoreboard. He intercepted Parker Wotherspoon's clearing attempt at the left point and flung a shot that got by Skarek's catching glove.
The Wolf Pack's next action is their first road game of 2021, a battle this Thursday, February 11 with the Providence Bruins at the New England Sports Center in Marlboro, MA. Faceoff is 1:00 PM. All of the Wolf Pack's 2021 action can be seen live on-line at theahl.com/AHLTV.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2 at Hartford Wolf Pack 5
Sunday - XL Center
Bridgeport 1 1 0 - 2
Hartford 0 1 4 - 5
1st Period-1, Bridgeport, Bolduc 1 (Bibeau, Brown), 14:12. Penalties-Greer Bri (roughing), 10:46; Rueschhoff Hfd (high-sticking), 19:13.
2nd Period-2, Bridgeport, Coskey 1 6:55. 3, Hartford, Reunanen 1 9:22. Penalties-Hutton Bri (tripping), 10:41; Helgeson Bri (checking to the head, fighting), 13:31; Rueschhoff Hfd (fighting), 13:31.
3rd Period-4, Hartford, Brodzinski 1 0:26. 5, Hartford, Newell 1 (Richards, Reunanen), 4:23. 6, Hartford, Barron 1 (Richards), 10:51 (PP). 7, Hartford, Cuylle 1 (Rueschhoff), 11:25. Penalties-Richards Hfd (interference), 8:04; Coskey Bri (slashing), 9:10.
Shots on Goal-Bridgeport 8-12-7-27. Hartford 4-9-13-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Bridgeport 0 / 2; Hartford 1 / 4.
Goalies-Bridgeport, Skarek 0-2-0 (26 shots-21 saves). Hartford, Kinkaid 1-0-0 (27 shots-25 saves).
Referees-Jordan Deckard (14), Conor O'Donnell (41).
Linesmen-Luke Galvin (2), Kevin Briganti (39).
Hartford Wolf Pack 5, Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2
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