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 Hartford Wolf Pack

Wolf Pack Weekend Recap: April 15th, 2024

April 15, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Hartford Wolf Pack News Release

HARTFORD, CT - The Hartford Wolf Pack have punched their ticket to the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs. The club is heading back to the dance following back-to-back victories over the weekend, their first consecutive victories since early March.

With three games to go in the season, the Wolf Pack will look to lock up seeding and set the tone for a showdown with one of three division rivals.

Friday, April 12th, 2024, Vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (5-3 W): The Wolf Pack snapped a six-game overall losing streak, five-game skid at home, and four-game losing streak head-to-head against the Thunderbirds on Friday night. The victory also officially clinched the Wolf Pack a spot in the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Riley Nash and Mathias Laferriere traded goals in the opening period before the Pack took control of the game in the middle stanza.

Alex Belzile's long-range shot beat Colten Ellis at 6:41 of the second period, giving the Pack a lead they never lost. Jake Leschyshyn tipped in a Nikolas Brouillard shot at 10:30 to make it a 3-1 game, then Blake Hillman made it 4-1 with a shot through traffic at 18:18.

The T-Birds struck twice in 81 seconds to make it a 4-3 tilt early in the third period. Mikhail Abramov converted on a breakaway at 6:34, then Adam Gaudette took a nice feed from Joseph Duszak and potted his 41st goal of the season at 7:55.

The Pack was able to kill the clock in the final minutes with suffocating defensive play and plenty of offensive zone time. Louis Domingue then sealed the deal at 19:37, hitting an empty net for his first career goal and the second goalie goal in Wolf Pack history.

Sunday, April 14th, 2024, Vs. Charlotte Checkers (5-2 W): For the first time since January 10th, 2020, the Wolf Pack claimed a regulation victory on home ice against the Charlotte Checkers on Sunday. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Checkers overall, and a six-game skid on home ice dating back to October 29th, 2022.

Casey Fitzgerald opened the scoring for the visitors just 43 seconds into the second period, scoring on a beautiful individual effort. The goal, Fitzgerald's fourth of the season, marked the seventh time in eight meetings that the Checkers struck first.

The Pack responded with a powerplay goal at 9:06, as Adam Sýkora fired a shot into traffic that eluded Spencer Knight. The goal was Sýkora's eighth of the season and first in ten games.

Brett Berard then snapped a shot by Knight from the left-wing circle on a five-minute powerplay at 14:33, giving the Pack their first lead in six games over the Checkers. Initially, the call on the ice was no goal. At the next stoppage, the officials reviewed the play and determined that the puck hit the back bar and rocketed out, giving Berard his team-leading 25th goal of the season.

Adam Edström potted the game-winning goal at 16:28, converting on a shorthanded breakaway for his tenth goal of the season. Edström waited out Knight before lifting a backhander over the goaltender for the club's eighth shorthanded goal of the season.

Jaroslav Chmelaø made it 4-1 3:55 into the third period, scoring his first professional goal on a breakaway. Berard then found Brennan Othmann at the back door at 6:36, making it 5-1. Othmann tapped his 19th goal of the season into the net after a nifty feed from Berard.

Rasmus Asplund scored at 13:13 to make it a 5-2 game, but two late penalty kills by the Wolf Pack cemented the club's first victory against the Checkers this season.

Quick Hits:

Domingue's goal on Friday night was the fourth goal scored by an AHL goalie this season. He joins Laval's Strauss Mann, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's Alex Nedeljkovic, and Rockford's Jaxson Stauber.

His goal was the second goalie goal in Wolf Pack history. AHL Hall of Famer J.F. Labbe accomplished the feat on February 5th, 2000.

The Wolf Pack have clinched a Calder Cup Playoff berth in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 2010-11 and 2011-12 campaigns.

On Sunday, forward Kalle Väisänen became the seventh player to make his AHL debut with the Wolf Pack this season.

Thanks to his goal on Sunday, Berard sits second in the AHL in goals by a rookie with 25. He trails only Josh Doan of the Tucson Roadrunners. Doan has scored 26 goals this season.

The Week Ahead:

Friday, April 19th, 2024, Vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (7:00 p.m., XL Center, $2 hot dogs & $2 drafts, Fan Appreciation Night)

Saturday, April 20th, 2024, @ Springfield Thunderbirds (7:05 p.m., MassMutual Center)

Sunday, April 21st, 2024, @ Providence Bruins (3:05 p.m., Amica Mutual Pavilion)

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