Hartford Wolf Pack 3, Springfield Thunderbirds 2 (SO)
By Henry Lucey
Hartford, CT, November 16, 2016 – After falling behind 2-0, the Hartford Wolf Pack stormed back to beat the Springfield Thunderbirds, 3-2, Wednesday night at the XL Center. Nicklas Jensen scored twice for the Wolf Pack, and rookie center Steven Fogarty provided the shootout winner.
Both teams struggled to develop any offensive rhythm in the opening period. Hartford did not land their first shot on goal until the 4:25 mark, while it took Springfield just over six and half minutes to get a shot on Brandon Halverson’s net.
The Wolf Pack got into penalty trouble late in the period, though, as Carey and Jensen were booked for holding and high sticking, at 16:10 and 16:29 respectively. With a two-man advantage, the Thunderbirds were quick to capitalize. Captain Brent Regner deflected Paul Thompson’s feed past Halverson at 17:29. Just thirty-one seconds later, with Hartford still a man down, Sena Acolatse notched his second score of the year to the give Thunderbirds a 2-0 lead at the eighteen-minute mark.
Down two scores, the Wolf Pack came out with a vengeance in the second period, outshooting the Thunderbirds 11-6. At the 11:17 mark, however, it appeared that Springfield had extended their lead to 3-0, when Paul Thompson batted in an errant shot that bounced back over the net. Fortunately for the Hartford, Thompson was ruled to have hit the puck with a high stick and the goal was called off.
After that scare, the Wolf Pack were finally able to get on the scoreboard when Jensen deposited a slap pass from Justin Fontaine into the back of Springfield’s net at 14:52. The goal was also assisted by Marek Hrivik, and sent the Wolf Pack into the dressing room trailing by just one score.
Wolf Pack head coach Ken Gernander, explained that after getting on the scoreboard, “You could feel the energy lift on the bench, and I think our whole game got better from that point on.”
Nine minutes and twenty-seven seconds into the third period, the combination of Jensen and Fontaine struck again. This time, Fontaine found a streaking Jensen, who, after a couple strides fired a snap shot that nicked off the right post on its way past Reto Berra’s glove. The goal, Jensen’s second of the game and sixth of the season, would be the final score in the period, thus sending the contest to overtime.
Neither side was able to convert in the five-minute overtime period, sending the game into a shootout. After Springfield’s Thompson and Rihards Bukarts and Hartford’s Adam Tambellini and Philip McRae were all denied, Fogarty beat Berra through the legs to win the game for the Wolf Pack.
Following the game, Fogarty explained, “I’ve been working on that in practice a little a bit, and it’s been working, so I’m just thankful it went in.”
Jensen later praised the confidence that his team displayed in later stages of the game, saying, “That’s the way you’ve got to play, or it’s tough to win hockey games in the league, and today we did. We came back, and it was just a great team win.”
The Wolf Pack are next in action this Saturday night, November 19, when they travel to Binghamton to take on the Senators. All of the action of that battle can be heard live on News Radio 1410 WPOP, and on-line at www.newsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.
The next home game for the Wolf Pack is this Sunday, November 20 vs. the Providence Bruins, with faceoff at 5:00 PM. The first 3,000 fans into this game will receive a free Wolf Pack ice scraper, compliments of Aer Lingus, and each of the Wolf Pack’s Sunday home games features the Wolf Pack’s “Click It or Ticket Family Value Pack”. The Family Value Pack includes two tickets, two sodas and two hot dogs, all for just $40.
Tickets for all Wolf Pack 2016-17 home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.
Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2016-17 AHL season can be found on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com. To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451.
Springfield Thunderbirds 2 at Hartford Wolf Pack 3 (SO)
Wednesday, November 16, 2016 – XL Center
Springfield 2 0 0 0 – 2
Hartford 0 1 1 0 – 3
1st Period-1, Springfield, Regner 2 (Thompson, Kindl), 17:29 (PP). 2, Springfield, Acolatse 2 (Leitner, Harper), 18:00 (PP). Penalties-Carey Hfd (holding), 16:10; Jensen Hfd (high-sticking), 16:29; Brown Spr (roughing), 19:02; Brown Hfd (roughing), 19:02.
2nd Period-3, Hartford, Jensen 5 (Fontaine, Hrivik), 14:52. Penalties-No Penalties
3rd Period-4, Hartford, Jensen 6 (Fontaine, Halverson), 9:27. Penalties-MacAulay Spr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 2:56; Paliotta Hfd (unsportsmanlike conduct), 2:56; Tambellini Hfd (cross-checking), 18:38.
OT Period- No Scoring. Penalties-No Penalties
Shootout – Springfield 0 (Thompson NG, Bukarts NG, Harper NG), Hartford 1 (Tambellini NG, McRae NG, Fogarty G).
Shots on Goal-Springfield 10-6-9-2-0-27. Hartford 5-11-9-4-1-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 2 / 3; Hartford 0 / 0.
Goalies-Springfield, Berra 5-2-1 (29 shots-27 saves). Hartford, Halverson 1-1-0 (27 shots-25 saves).
Referees-Mike Langin (90), Chris Pontes (21).
Linesmen-Kevin Briganti (39), Paul Simeon (66).