Hartford Wolf Pack 3, Springfield Thunderbirds 1
By Micah Collins
Hartford, CT, October 12, 2019 – The Hartford Wolf Pack defeated the Springfield Thunderbirds 3-1 Saturday night at the XL Center, to improve to 3-0-0-0 to start their season.
The victory was keyed by the strong play of some of the Wolf Pack’s more junior players. Nick Jones and Filip Chytil both scored their first goals of the season to secure the victory, and Chytil also added an assist.
“We have a lot of young guys, the biggest thing as a pro is learning how to win games,” said Phil Di Giuseppe, who scored the game winning goal. “Tonight wasn’t the prettiest, but it’ll benefit [the younger players] and encourage them to keep doing the right things.”
The Thunderbirds opened up the scoring when Jonathan Ang scored his second goal of the season, sneaking one past Igor Shesterkin (17 saves) on the power play at 9:49 of the first period. Kevin Roy and Ethan Prow got the assists on the goal.
Springfield would not be able to carry the lead into the intermission, though, as Jones would find the back of the net for the first time this year off a close shot past Philippe Desrosiers (24 saves) to tie things up with 1:54 left to play in the period. Patrick Newell and Ryan Lindgren assisted on the goal, and the 1-1 tie would hold up through the end of the period.
“Jones and Newell complement each other well,” said Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch about the two young players. “You can see the skill. The pass by Newell was an elite play, and the shot was a quick release.”
It was the battle of the goaltenders for most of the second period, as Shesterkin and Desrosiers traded saves back and forth.
Eventually the Wolf Pack were able to break the tie when Di Giuseppe scored his first of the season off a smooth-sailing wrist shot from the right circle on the power play at 15:33. Chytil and Vincent LoVerde got the assists.
The Wolf Pack would find themselves fending off a seemingly endless Thunderbirds attack for much of the third period, but thanks to the strong play of Shesterkin, Springfield was not able to tie the game.
“Shesterkin was huge for us” said Di Giuseppe. “He kept us in for sure, especially late. We were fortunate, and kudos to our goaltender for getting us the win.”
The Thunderbirds pulled their goaltender in the dying minutes of the third, but it would not prove successful, as Chytil buried his first goal of the season into the empty net with one second left to guarantee the Wolf Pack their third straight victory.
Knoblauch was quick to compliment Chytil and the work he has put in so far. “Chytil has been playing well. He’s trying to make a play every time he has the puck but he’s not forcing it. He has lots of skill, and he uses his assets to create offense.”
The Wolf Pack are right back at the XL Center on Sunday, hosting the Rochester in a 3:00 PM game. That is another chance to take advantage of the Wolf Pack’s “Click It or Ticket Hat Trick Pack”. The Hat Trick Pack includes two tickets, two sodas and one large popcorn, all for just $40.
Tickets for all 2019-20 Wolf Pack home games are on sale now at the Sunwave Gas & Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. Tickets purchased in advance for kids 12 or younger start at just $10 each, and all tickets will have a $3 day-of-game increase.
To speak with a Wolf Pack representative about season or group tickets, or any of the Wolf Pack’s many ticketing options, call (860) 722-9425, or click here to request more info. To visit the Wolf Pack on line, go to www.hartfordwolfpack.com.
Springfield Thunderbirds 1 at Hartford Wolf Pack 3
Saturday, October 12, 2019 – XL Center
Springfield 1 0 0 – 1
Hartford 1 1 1 – 3
1st Period-1, Springfield, Ang 2 (Roy, Prow), 9:49 (PP). 2, Hartford, Jones 1 (Newell, Lindgren), 18:06. Penalties-Toninato Spr (boarding), 0:47; LoVerde Hfd (interference), 4:39; Day Hfd (tripping), 8:16; O’Regan Hfd (hooking), 10:11.
2nd Period-3, Hartford, Di Giuseppe 1 (Chytil, LoVerde), 15:33 (PP). Penalties-Lindgren Hfd (tripping), 0:50; Toninato Spr (holding), 9:18; Ang Spr (goaltender interference), 11:22; McCoshen Spr (hooking), 15:08.
3rd Period-4, Hartford, Chytil 1 (O’Regan, Raddysh), 19:59 (EN). Penalties-Mangene Spr (slashing), 5:07; Greco Spr (tripping), 11:28; Gettinger Hfd (tripping), 14:46.
Shots on Goal-Springfield 3-4-11-18. Hartford 8-11-8-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 1 / 5; Hartford 1 / 6.
Goalies-Springfield, Desrosiers 0-1-0 (26 shots-24 saves). Hartford, Shesterkin 2-0-0 (18 shots-17 saves).
Referees-Guillaume Labonte (35), Alex Normandin (65).
Linesmen-Kyle Flemington (55), Kevin Briganti (39).