Pack drop second straight as defense falters

Springfield Thunderbirds 4, Hartford Wolf Pack 2

By Chris Kohler

Hartford, CT, February 19, 2017 – Justin Fontaine and Steven Kampfer scored first-period goals for the Hartford Wolf Pack Sunday at the XL Center, but goaltender Mike McKenna and the Springfield Thunderbirds were able to fend off Hartford’s offensive attack for the remainder of the game, to earn a 4-2 victory.

The Thunderbirds did not take long to open the scoring, as just 1:07 into the contest, Mackenzie Weegar fired a shot from right point, off of a pass from Jayce Hawryluk, that found its way past Wolf Pack goaltender Magnus Hellberg (23 saves).

At 3:41, Hartford’s Adam Chapie caused a Thunderbird turnover and fired a beautiful outlet pass to Fontaine to create a breakaway opportunity for the Pack. Fontaine was able to corral the puck and send it to the front of the cage, where it was ultimately deflected by Springfield defender Mike Downing’s skate into the back of the net to even the score at one.

At 9:30, Tanner Glass was called for tripping, which gave the Thunderbirds their first power play opportunity of the game. Just 36 seconds later, defenseman Chris Summers was also whistled for tripping, giving Springfield a two-man advantage.

Hartford did well to try and fight off the Thunderbirds’ 5-on-3, but with eight seconds remaining on the first penalty, Sena Acolatse took a pass from Shane Harper and fired a shot past Hellberg, who had 13 saves in the period, to regain the lead.

With 4-01 remaining in the period, Hartford leveled the score for the second time in the game, as Kampfer was able to beat Mike McKenna with a shot from the center point, to even the game going into the second period.

The Thunderbirds would net the eventual game-winner at 11:36 of the second period. Denis Malgin deflected in a shot from the right point by former Wolf Pack Dylan McIlrath, who was set up by Juho Lammikko.

The Thunderbirds started off the third period hot and doubled their lead just 1:25 into the frame. Jared McCann received an assist for his linemate Chase Balisy before he snuck the puck past Hellberg to make the score 4-2.

Wolf Pack head coach Ken Gernander noted, “It becomes more of an uphill climb when we’re playing our third game in three nights with some travel mixed in there. We can’t let our opponent have the lead. We’re better served going into the third period with a lead.”

The Wolf Pack are now off until this Friday night, February 24, when the Hershey Bears come to the XL Center for a 7:15 PM game. As at all Friday-night Wolf Pack home games, fans can enjoy $1 and $2 beers through the start of the second period, and the first 2,000 fans will receive the fourth of four sets of Wolf Pack 20th-anniversary trading cards being given away during this 2016-17 season, presented by KOTA. The set is comprised of the group of the players chosen as the top five all-time in franchise history.

Tickets for all remaining 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 4 at Hartford Wolf Pack 2
Sunday, February 19, 2017 – XL Center

Springfield 2 1 1 – 4
Hartford 2 0 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Springfield, Weegar 12 (Hawryluk, McCann), 1:07. 2, Hartford, Fontaine 9 (Chapie), 3:41. 3, Springfield, Acolatse 6 (Harper, MacKenzie), 11:22 (PP). 4, Hartford, Kampfer 4 (Fogarty, Glass), 15:59. Penalties-Glass Hfd (tripping), 9:30; Summers Hfd (tripping), 10:06; Brown Spr (tripping), 17:55.

2nd Period-5, Springfield, Malgin 3 (McIlrath, Lammikko), 11:36. Penalties-Hawryluk Spr (instigating, fighting, misconduct – instigating), 1:24; Carey Hfd (fighting), 1:24; Acolatse Spr (slashing, roughing), 5:47; Jensen Hfd (roughing), 5:47; Tambellini Hfd (slashing), 5:47; Acolatse Spr (misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:42; Greco Spr (slashing), 15:42; Carey Hfd (misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:42; Horvat Spr (holding), 17:13.

3rd Period-6, Springfield, McCann 6 (Balisy), 1:25. Penalties-Hughes Hfd (roughing), 9:49.

Shots on Goal-Springfield 15-5-7-27. Hartford 9-12-5-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 1 / 3; Hartford 0 / 4.
Goalies-Springfield, McKenna 8-10-7 (26 shots-24 saves). Hartford, Hellberg 10-11-5 (27 shots-23 saves).
Referees-David Banfield (77), Tom Chmielewski (43).
Linesmen-Luke Galvin (2), Glen Cooke (6).

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  • Former Ranger Dylan McIlrath was outstanding in this game. He set up the winning goal by Malgin, had five shots on goal!, was a +1 and was selected as third star of the game.

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