Hartford Wolf Pack 4, Springfield Thunderbirds 3 (OT)
By Chris Kohler
Hartford, CT, March 1, 2017 – Pavel Buchnevich’s second goal of the game, a power-play strike with 16.4 seconds left in overtime, gave the Hartford Wolf Pack a 4-3 win over the Springfield Thunderbirds Wednesday night at the XL Center.
Brandon Halverson made 26 saves in the Hartford net to get the win, and Matt Carey and Dan Catenacci also scored for the Wolf Pack. Steven Kampfer had three assists. Chase Balisy tied the game for the Thunderbirds with 19.4 seconds remaining in regulation, and Dryden Hunt and Jace Hawryluk had the other Springfield goals. Reto Berra made 34 saves.
The Thunderbirds opened the scoring only 4:51 into the first period. Hunt fired a shot that Halverson managed to reject. Hunt, however, was able to follow his shot and convert on the rebound opportunity to make the score 1-0.
The Wolf Pack responded just 33 seconds later, at 5:24, as Carey chased down a rebound of a shot off the stick off Kampfer, and flung it towards the goal to beat Berra and even the score at one.
With a minute remaining in the period, the puck made its way to Marek Hrivik, who deposited it into the back of the Springfield net. Unfortunately for the Wolf Pack, the referees determined that defenseman Ryan Graves was guilty of a hand pass that discredited the goal.
After a scoreless second period, the Wolf Pack offense displayed some beautiful chemistry 1:49 into the third, as Nicklas Jensen found Buchnevich, who then passed to the newly-acquired Catenacci for the goal, to make the score 2-1 in favor of Hartford.
At 5:13, Jensen and Buchnevich teamed up again to score another goal for the Wolf Pack. Jensen skated the puck down the left side of the ice before firing a cross-slot pass that made its way to Buchnevich, who easily netted the puck.
Just 1:47 later, at 7:00, Springfield was able to stop the bleeding and add a goal of their own. Hawryluk buried his sixth goal of the season from the left circle, with the assist credited to winger Anthony Greco.
Springfield pulled Berra late in the third period and the strategy paid off for them, as Balisy deflected the puck past Halverson at 19:40, after Mackenzie Weegar threw it at the net from the right-wing boards.
That sent the game to overtime, and Balisy ended up taking a penalty at 3:14 of the extra session for tripping Buchnevich. He made Balisy pay for that penalty by firing the winner high into the net from the right side of the slot, beating Berra to the short side at 4:43.
Jensen noted that, “We’re happy with the way it went today. Obviously we would’ve liked to win in regulation, but we got the win and that’s all that matters.”
Catenacci, who was acquired by the Rangers from Buffalo Tuesday, in exchange for Wolf Pack captain Mat Bodie, said, “The guys, the coaches, and the whole staff have been first class and made me feel like part of the team already. They made it very easy for me to adjust quickly.”
The Wolf Pack’s next game is this Saturday, March 4, a home contest vs. the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. That is a special 3:00 PM faceoff, and the first 3,000 fans to enter this game receive a special Wolf Pack Mark Twain bobblehead, presented by XFINITY. Saturday is also “Military Appreciation Day”, with the Wolf Pack wearing special military-themed jerseys that will be auctioned off, with proceeds benefitting military-related charities.
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 3 at Hartford Wolf Pack 4 (OT)
Wednesday, March 1, 2017 – XL Center
Springfield 1 0 2 0 – 3
Hartford 1 0 2 1 – 4
1st Period-1, Springfield, Hunt 9 (McCann, Thompson), 4:51. 2, Hartford, Carey 14 (Kampfer, Tambellini), 5:24. Penalties-MacKenzie Spr (delay of game), 14:20.
2nd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Hughes Hfd (tripping), 4:20; Bukarts Spr (interference), 6:55; Thompson Spr (roughing), 14:47.
3rd Period-3, Hartford, Catenacci 6 (Buchnevich, Jensen), 1:49. 4, Hartford, Buchnevich 2 (Jensen, Kampfer), 5:13. 5, Springfield, Hawryluk 6 (Greco), 7:00. 6, Springfield, Balisy 11 (Rau, Weegar), 19:40. Penalties-Downing Spr (roughing), 8:03; Jensen Hfd (roughing), 8:03; Greco Spr (high-sticking), 11:06; served by Summers Hfd (bench minor – too many men), 13:52.
OT Period-7, Hartford, Buchnevich 3 (Tambellini, Kampfer), 4:43 (PP). Penalties-Balisy Spr (tripping), 3:14.
Shots on Goal-Springfield 8-8-12-1-29. Hartford 14-11-9-4-38.
Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 0 / 2; Hartford 1 / 5.
Goalies-Springfield, Berra 12-14-3 (38 shots-34 saves). Hartford, Halverson 9-12-0 (29 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Evgenii Romasko (39), Olivier Gouin (54).
Linesmen-Kevin Briganti (39), Robert St. Lawrence (10).