Gropp scores as Pack lose in shootout

December 17, 2017, by

Springfield Thunderbirds 2, Hartford Wolf Pack 1 (SO)

Springfield, MA, December 16, 2017 – A Hartford Wolf Pack offense that scored a season-high seven goals against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday night at home could only manage one Saturday night at the MassMutual Center, in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds.

Marek Mazanec made 42 saves in his third straight start in the Hartford net, and Ryan Gropp scored the only Wolf Pack goal. Samuel Montembeault got the win in goal for Springfield, stopping 32 shots in regulation in overtime and going 3-for-3 in the shootout. Bobby Farnham scored the only Thunderbird goal, and Francois Beauchemin had the only goal of the shootout.

The result stretched a Wolf Pack streak of games with at least a standings point to seven (4-0-1-2)

Despite being outshot 12-8 in the first period, the Wolf Pack came out of it leading 1-0, courtesy of a power-play goal by Gropp at the 16:38 mark.

With Rob Hamilton in the penalty box for slashing, John Gilmour snapped a shot at the net from the middle of the blue line, and Gropp deflected it past Montembeault, for Gropp’s sixth goal of the season.

The Thunderbirds equalized early in the second frame, on a goal at the 3:34 mark by Farnham. Mazanec attempted to clear the puck, and Farnham stopped it near the blue line. He fed to Alexandre Grenier, who worked it to Curtis Valk on the right side. He found Farnham all alone in front of the goal, and he was able to get to his backhand to put a shot past Mazanec.

That was it for the scoring until the shootout, and the goaltenders were perfect through the first two rounds of that, with Montembeault stopping Adam Tambellini and Peter Holland, and Mazanec denying Valk and Blaine Byron. After Scott Kosmachuk was unable to beat Montembeault on the Wolf Pack’s third shot, though, Beauchemin put a forehand bid past Mazanec’s glove side for the shootout winner.

The Wolf Pack’s next game is this Wednesday night, December 20, when they travel to Allentown, PA to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Faceoff is 7:05, and all of the action can be heard live on News Radio 1410 WPOP, and on-line at and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at

The next home game for the Wolf Pack is this Friday, December 22, when they host the Providence Bruins in a 7:15 PM contest, and, as at all Friday-night Wolf Pack home games, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period, presented by Dave & Buster’s.

Tickets for all Wolf Pack 2017-18 home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at and by phone at (877) 522-8499.

Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2017-18 AHL season can be found on-line at To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451.

Hartford Wolf Pack 1 at Springfield Thunderbirds 2 (SO)
Saturday, December 16, 2017 – MassMutual Center

Hartford 1 0 0 0 – 1
Springfield 0 1 0 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Hartford, Gropp 6 (Gilmour, Kosmachuk), 16:38 (PP). Penalties-Erixon Spr (interference), 7:20; Gilmour Hfd (hooking), 12:22; Hamilton Spr (slashing), 16:14; Beauchemin Spr (high-sticking), 18:10.

2nd Period-2, Springfield, Farnham 4 (Valk, Grenier), 3:34. Penalties-Grenier Spr (tripping), 1:22; Kosmachuk Hfd (goaltender interference), 15:10.

3rd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Fortunus Spr (tripping), 1:02; Gilmour Hfd (tripping), 6:11; Beauchemin Spr (slashing), 8:12.

OT Period- No Scoring. Penalties-No Penalties

Shootout – Hartford 0 (Tambellini NG, Holland NG, Kosmachuk NG), Springfield 1 (Valk NG, Byron NG, Beauchemin G).
Shots on Goal-Hartford 8-12-9-4-0-33. Springfield 12-20-11-0-1-44.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 1 / 6; Springfield 0 / 3.
Goalies-Hartford, Mazanec 2-0-1 (43 shots-42 saves). Springfield, Montembeault 6-11-1 (33 shots-32 saves).
Referees-Michael Mullen (7), Corey Syvret (42).
Linesmen-Derek Wahl (46), Glen Cooke (6).

Categories : AHL, Analysis


  1. tanto says:

    I know pretty much everybody has given up on Gropp, but in his first pro year I give him (as I would give any 20-21 year old) something of a pass.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Agreed. No reason at all to give up on a 21 year old kid in his first AHL season, anymore than we should overrate guys in Hartford that we insist should be called up when they are still learning the game. Patience in both directions is what’s needed.

      • Richter1994 says:


        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          IF he keeps improving…then sure. No point in having a Ho-sang situation where the guy is promoted before he is ready. That just will cost the team critical points—as Weight found out first hand.

          • Richter1994 says:

            I admire your loyalty, lol.

          • tanto says:

            Right NOW there’s no reason to promote anyone. I believe Lettieri is close to being ready, but the forwards are pretty much set — Carey has been contributing … and Chytil should spend the year on the farm unless they can give him the proper ice time in a Top 9 role.

            • Bloomer says:

              I am looking forward to watching Chytil play in the World Juniors. Is whatshisname the Swedish kid going to be there also?

            • Richter1994 says:

              Why wouldn’t you play Lettieri over Carey?

              • tanto says:

                Because the 4th line with Carey has played real well over the last 10+ games, in fact it’s been the most consistently good line during that time frame. Clearly there’s some chemistry there, why screw with it “now”?

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Tanto is correct. The bigger question to ask here is, “why WOULD you play Lettieri over Carey”? The 4th line is working. Carey is nothing special as a player but that line has chemistry now. Why mess with it? The only reason you would is if you believe Lettieri is actually a better option right now….not a month from now or three months from now….but NOW. If you believe he is, please explain how you know this? Have you seen him play, beyond some meaningless pre-season minutes? Are you sure he is even a 4th liner? Is he defensively responsible enough, which would seem to be mandatory to play on the 4th line?

                I have no idea whether Lettieri is ready or not. But this is what we do know. Take out his spectacular performance 8 days ago in Hartford, and he’s a 0-0-0 -3 in 4 out of the last 5 games. He’s 1-2-3 -9 in 10 out of the last 11 games. Heck, even in his terrific game I mentioned when he scored two goals and notched an assist, he was still only a +1 that day. On the surface, there is every reason to fear that he is still struggling to be a defensively responsible player on the AHL level. So if that’s true, why would he be successful defensively if he makes the quantum leap jump to the NHL level? That seems like a Hail Mary move made only in desperation.

                It seems to me you are sending mixed messages here my friend. On the one hand, you say “In Gorton We Trust”. Then you change your mind. On the one hand, given your apparent obsession with the player, you obviously trust Gorton and Drury’s judgement as it pertains to signing Lettieri, yet you doubt their ability to determine if the kid is NHL ready or not—that we, the jury of BSB, must see it for ourselves in order to render a verdict. So you are saying that you only trust the two of them to acquire a young player, but not when to promote that player? Based on what exactly? Can you think of a recent example when the Rangers have been proven wrong on the handling of a young player? I can’t.

                On the other hand, the track record of some out here on guys who were supposedly “better options”, has hardly been stellar. Clendening was supposedly the better option last year—now he’s in the minors. McIlrath was the guy two years ago. Minors. I remember a few years back people were obsessed with Bourque as a 4th line guy—minors. None of these guys were better options. None of them.

                Sorry my friend—I will gladly wait until when and IF the player is actually ready for NHL action. Rangers management can be criticized for many things, but making the wrong call on when to promote a player doesn’t seem to be one of them.

              • Richter1994 says:

                They played well for a while and I even acknowledged it at the time. But the time has past, they have been invisible the last few games.

                And that’s because they’re not that good and their talent eventually catches up with them. Fast needs to drive that line, like I’ve said since Fast has been playing with the Rangers.

  2. Michael says:

    Any chance anyone on staff could provide more opinion/editorial in the Wolf Pack pieces? It would help to know if Gropp or DeAngelo are turning a corner, or if the Pack continue to be mediocre/have structural problems that ultimately hurt the end product.
    I know that may be possible, but wanted to ask anyway.