Hartford Wolf Pack 3, Providence Bruins 1
By Matt Morin
Hartford, CT, February 3, 2018 – The Hartford Wolf Pack allowed a season-low 17 shots on goal Saturday night at the XL Center in a 3-1 win over the Providence Bruins, earning a split of a home-and-home series between the two teams.
The Wolf Pack had fallen to the Bruins 2-1 in overtime Friday night in Providence, and were outshot 50-21 by the Bruins in that game.
“We kept the shots down, and that was our emphasis before the game,” said Wolf Pack forward Vinni Lettieri, whose late first-period goal turned out to be the game-winner. “I thought we played a lot better, our puck security was a lot better, too, than the night before. We came out and played as a team, we stuck with it, even when stuff wasn’t going our way, when the puck was in our zone for a little longer than we wanted. We just kept fighting back and just kept shifting the momentum back to our side, and that was a big win for us.”
The Wolf Pack got on the board first, thanks to an outstanding play by Steven Fogarty. Hartford was on the penalty kill due to a tripping penalty called on Ryan Graves at 10:52 of the first period. Despite being a man down, Fogarty was able to intercept a Providence pass at the defensive blue line, take the puck the length of the ice and beat Providence goaltender Zane McIntyre with a forehand-backhand move.
After the game Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge had this to say about Fogarty’s skills on the penalty kill, “A big part of his game has always been the penalty kill but there’s also been an offensive element that has bubbled to the top this season. It’s always nice to see someone who works as hard as him get rewarded.”
With 1:19 left in the first, Lettieri would strike again for the Wolf Pack, beating McIntyre on the rebound of a Cole Schneider shot.
“Gotta put everything in the net,” Lettieri said. “You never know what happens. I just shot it through the guy’s legs and just kind of got lucky there.”
“Vinni uses his speed efficiently, he doesn’t give the opposition a lot of room to make plays,” McCambridge said. “When he does have chances to find those quiet areas, he’s able to get the release, that shot, to the net quickly.”
That goal sent the Wolf Pack into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead.
Providence came out swinging in the second period, with a goal just 1:55 in.
Bruin defenseman Rob O’Gara’s shot went wide of the net and bounced off the boards and onto the stick of a crashing Colton Hargrove, who was able to get the puck past Wolf Pack goaltender Alexandar Georgiev before he was able to reposition himself. Anton Blidh was also credited with an assist on the Providence goal.
The Wolf Pack restored their two goal lead just a 2:38 later, when Ryan Gropp scored his ninth goal of the season at 4:33. He was assisted by Scott Kosmachuk.
Neither side would find a way to score in the final frame, and the Wolf Pack would improve to 6-0-1-0 in their last seven games.
“Our group is always growing, always learning what the American Hockey League is all about, and I think we’re gaining some really good traction with how we want to play,” said McCambridge.
Lettieri agreed, adding, “When we have a full team we’re a hard team to beat, despite what our record says.”
The Wolf Pack were 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, including Fogarty’s shorthanded goal, after the Bruins had scored both of their goals on power plays in Friday’s game.
“The mentality there, we made some adjustments from last night’s game,” McCambridge said. “The penalty killers did a nice job of not letting a lot of seam passes come through the middle of the ice, and taking away those rebounds.”
The Wolf Pack’s next action is their “Sonar’s Edu-skate” school-day game vs. the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this Wednesday, February 7. Faceoff is 11:00 AM, and 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 www.hartfordwolfpack.com 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 www.hartfordwolfpack.com. To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451.
Providence Bruins 1 at Hartford Wolf Pack 3
Saturday, February 3, 2018 – XL Center
Providence 0 1 0 – 1
Hartford 2 1 0 – 3
1st Period-1, Hartford, Fogarty 7 12:35 (SH). 2, Hartford, Lettieri 14 (Schneider, Chytil), 18:41. Penalties-Johansson Pro (holding), 3:51; Clifton Pro (elbowing), 6:32; Graves Hfd (tripping), 10:52.
2nd Period-3, Providence, Hargrove 10 (O’Gara, Blidh), 1:55. 4, Hartford, Gropp 9 (Kosmachuk), 4:33. Penalties-Lauzon Pro (elbowing), 5:09; Pedrie Hfd (cross-checking), 5:09.
3rd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Catenacci Hfd (tripping), 3:43; Tambellini Hfd (tripping), 18:39.
Shots on Goal-Providence 5-7-5-17. Hartford 13-4-6-23.
Power Play Opportunities-Providence 0 / 3; Hartford 0 / 2.
Goalies-Providence, McIntyre 15-10-3 (23 shots-20 saves). Hartford, Georgiev 10-11-6 (17 shots-16 saves).
Referees-David Banfield (77), Tim Mayer (19).
Linesmen-Kevin Briganti (39), Derek Wahl (46).