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 Hartford Wolf Pack

Wolf Pack Visit Thunderbirds in 'I-91 Rivalry' Finale

April 20, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Hartford Wolf Pack News Release

SPRINGFIELD, MA - The Hartford Wolf Pack continue their final weekend of the regular season tonight in Western Massachusetts. The Wolf Pack visit the Springfield Thunderbirds for the final installment of the 2023-24 chapter of the 'I-91 Rivalry'.

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

Tale of The Tape:

This is the tenth and final meeting between the Wolf Pack and Thunderbirds this season. It is the fifth and final meeting at the MassMutual Center.

Hartford can earn a split of the season series with a victory tonight. Currently, the T-Birds hold a 5-4 edge after four straight victories from December 27 th through March 29 th .

The Wolf Pack countered in the last meeting, however, clinching a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs on April 12 th with a 5-3 victory.

Riley Nash opened the scoring 3:55 into the game, potting a rebound for his eleventh goal of the season. Mathias Laferriere countered for the T-Birds at 17:27, converting off a turnover from the left-wing circle to send the game to the middle frame tied 1-1.

Alex Belzile gave the Wolf Pack the lead for good at 6:41 of the second period, beating Colten Ellis with a long shot for his 19 th tally. Jake Leschyshyn tipped home a shot at 10:30 to make it 3-1 Wolf Pack, then Blake Hillman blasted a shot through traffic at 18:18 to make it 4-1.

Hillman's goal would stand as the eventual game-winner.

Mikhail Abramov and Adam Gaudette made things interesting with two goals in 81 seconds at 6:34 and 7:55 of the third period, but the Wolf Pack shut things down from there.

Louis Domingue, who made 24 saves to collect the victory, hit an empty net at 19:37 to seal the deal. The goal was Domingue's first career marker and was the second goalie goal in Wolf Pack history.

The Thunderbirds claimed a 6-3 victory in the last meeting at the MassMutual Center on February 23 rd . They have won each of the last two meetings in their building, including a 3-1 triumph on December 27 th .

The Wolf Pack's last win at the MassMutual Center was a 4-2 decision on November 24 th .

Wolf Pack Outlook:

The Wolf Pack won their third straight game last night, taking a 3-2 decision over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the XL Center.

Bryan Yoon buried the icebreaker 17:26 into the second period, collecting a rebound and snapping it by the glove of Joel Blomqvist. Nikolas Brouillard extended the lead just 43 seconds into the third period, taking a feed from Nic Petan and beating Blomqvist by the glove for his fifth goal of the season.

The Penguins countered with two goals in 39 seconds, tying the game at 8:37. Jack Rathbone made it a 2-1 game at 7:58, waiting out a sliding defenseman before beating Domingue for his ninth goal. Austin Rueschhoff then tied the game when he poked home a rebound for his 15 th goal at 8:37.

Thanks to a pair of slashing penalties at 12:04 and 12:59, the Pack were given a five-on-three for 65 seconds. Petan converted, scoring his 15 th at 13:22 to give Hartford the lead for good. Petan blasted a one-timer through Blomqvist from the right-wing circle, set up by Brouillard.

Rookie Brett Berard leads the Wolf Pack in goals with 25 on the season. Alex Belzile, who collected an assist last night, leads the club in points with 50 (19 g, 31 a), while Mac Hollowell leads the way in assists with 39.

Thunderbirds Outlook:

The Thunderbirds were eliminated from Calder Cup Playoff contention with a 4-2 loss last night in Providence.

Anton Malmstrom scored his first career AHL goal 8:45 into the game, tying it 1-1 after Georgii Merkulov opened the scoring 4:47 in. Jayson Megna restored the lead for the Bruins at 19:14, putting them ahead 2-1 through 20 minutes.

Ryan Suzuki scored his 14 th goal of the season 6:10 into the second period, evening the contest and keeping the Thunderbirds alive for the moment.

Riley Duran's second career goal would prove to be the dagger, as he scored the game-winning goal at 17:12 of the third period. Merkulov polished off the victory with an empty net tally, his 28 th , at 18:54.

Gaudette leads the Thunderbirds in goals with 44 and points with 71 (44 g, 27 a). Hugh McGing, meanwhile, leads the club in assists with 31.

Game Information:



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.

The Wolf Pack conclude the 2023-24 regular season tomorrow afternoon when they visit the Bruins. The puck drop is set for 3:05 p.m., and coverage is available starting at 2:50 p.m. on AHLTV and Mixlr.

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