Jensen's Natural Hat Trick Lifts Pack to fourth Straight WinDec 26, 2016
(Photo by Jon Tenca/Puck Stopper Photography)
Nicklas Jensen scored a natural hat trick, the Wolf Pack’s first hat trick of the season, Monday night at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, to lead the Wolf Pack to a 5-2 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
The victory extended the Wolf Pack’s longest winning streak of the season to four games, and brought Hartford (11-14-3-1, 26 pts., .448) to within one point of sixth-place Springfield in the Atlantic Division.
“We started off okay, but definitely as the game went on, it was better and better,” Jensen said. “Our whole team played a strong defensive game, and at the end we took over. I think we’re playing as a team right now, and we’re having fun together and enjoying going to the rink. Everything’s obviously a lot more fun when we’re winning, and we have a good streak going, so we’ve got to keep it going.”
After his first goal of the game tied the score at two, with 58.7 seconds left in the second period, Jensen scored what would prove to be the game-winner at 8:46 of the third. A lead pass by Adam Tambellini sent Jensen down the right side in the Bridgeport end, and he cut towards the middle before firing a snap shot. Sound Tiger goaltender Eamon McAdam (25 saves) got a piece of the shot but could not keep it out of the goal.
Jensen then completed the hat trick at 12:42, increasing his team-leading goal total to 13 and stretching the Wolf Pack’s lead to 4-2. A Robin Kovacs try was blocked, but the puck caromed to Jensen at the right side of the slot, and his spinning shot went under the pads of McAdam, who had lost his stick.
Philip McRae completed the scoring at 15:41 with his first goal of the season, a shot through McAdam’s legs after Ahti Oksanen passed the puck to the slot out of the right-wing corner.
The two teams traded goals in the first period, with the Wolf Pack drawing first blood at 10:07.
Boo Nieves and Justin Fontaine passed the puck across the middle, with Fontaine finding Nieves with a backhanded feed at the right side of the goal mouth, and Nieves’ quick shot beating McAdam.
That lead lasted until the 16:28 mark, when Tanner Fritz put Bridgeport on the board with his ninth goal of the season. After taking a head-man pass from Andrew Rowe, Fritz unloaded a shot from the right-wing boards that appeared to deflect off of a Wolf Pack defender’s stick and eluded Hartford goaltender Magnus Hellberg (35 saves) on the stick side.
The Sound Tigers jumped on top at 4:07 of the second period, after a boarding penalty on Tommy Hughes at 3:20, and a high-sticking minor against Michael Paliotta nine seconds later, gave Bridgeport 1:51 of two-man advantage.
Ryan Pulock capitalized on that for the Sound Tigers, hammering a slap shot past Hellberg from the top of the right circle.
This time it would be the Wolf Pack who would score late to equalize, though, with Jensen’s tying tally coming on a rebound, after Kovacs had stickhandled down the right side in the Bridgeport zone and gotten to his forehand for a shot. McAdam denied that bid, but Jensen, driving the middle, buried the rebound into the top left corner.
The Wolf Pack are right back in action on Tuesday night, hosting the Providence Bruins in a 7:00 PM contest at the XL Center. The first 2,000 fans into that game receive a Wolf Pack winter ski hat, courtesy of People’s United Bank, and that is also another “Click It or Ticket Family Value Pack” game. 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.
Hartford Wolf Pack 5 at Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2
Monday, December 26, 2016 - Webster Bank Arena
Hartford 1 1 3 - 5
Bridgeport 1 1 0 - 2
1st Period-1, Hartford, Nieves 3 (Fontaine, Glass), 10:07. 2, Bridgeport, Fritz 9 (Rowe, Cullity), 16:28. Penalties-B. Holmstrom Bri (tripping), 6:02; Bodie Hfd (slashing), 11:21.
2nd Period-3, Bridgeport, Pulock 2 (Dal Colle, Toews), 4:07 (PP). 4, Hartford, Jensen 11 (Kovacs, Paliotta), 19:01. Penalties-Hughes Hfd (boarding), 3:20; Paliotta Hfd (high-sticking), 3:29; Fritz Bri (hooking), 7:51; Cullity Bri (interference), 10:48; Summers Hfd (cross-checking), 15:54; C. Jones Bri (diving/embellishment), 15:54.
3rd Period-5, Hartford, Jensen 12 (Tambellini, Graves), 8:46. 6, Hartford, Jensen 13 (Kovacs, Tambellini), 12:12. 7, Hartford, McRae 4 (Oksanen, Fontaine), 15:41. Penalties-Bodie Hfd (delay of game), 8:56; Rowe Bri (elbowing), 12:44; Kampfer Hfd (fighting), 14:55; J. Holmstrom Bri (fighting), 14:55.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 9-9-12-30. Bridgeport 14-12-11-37.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 / 4; Bridgeport 1 / 4.
Goalies-Hartford, Hellberg 8-7-4 (37 shots-35 saves). Bridgeport, McAdam 7-2-0 (30 shots-25 saves).
Referees-Terry Koharski (10), Pierre Lambert (47).
Linesmen-Nick Briganti (58), Paul Simeon (66).