Joly Nets first AHL goal, but Pack Fall to Thunderbirds, 4-2Dec 7, 2016
By Henry Lucey
The Springfield Thunderbirds’ Joe Diamond and Tim Bozon both scored second period goals to propel the visiting Thunderbirds to a 4-2 victory over the Wolf Pack Wednesday night at the XL Center in Hartford.
Despite taking just over four minutes to record their first shot on goal, the Wolf Pack managed to land several threatening attempts on Mike McKenna’s net in the game’s opening frame. Hartford’s best opportunity came when Matt Carey feed a cross-ice pass to an unmarked Boo Nieves, but like he did nine other times, McKenna came up with the save.
After a stretch of sloppy play, much of which took place in the neutral zone, the Thunderbirds drew first blood. Springfield defenseman Sena Acolatse sent a back-handed drive off Magnus Hellberg’s pad, and onto the waiting stick of Jared McCann, who easily deposited the puck to give the visitors a 1-0 advantage at the 14:22 mark. McCann’s tally, his second of the year, would prove to be the period’s lone score.
It did not make take long, however, for the Pack to exact their revenge. Just thirty-six seconds into the second period, rookie defenseman John Gilmour received a pass at the left point from Michael Paliotta, took a few strides in, and fired a snap-shot into the top-right corner of McKenna’s net, tying the contest at 1-1.
Following the game, the Wolf Pack’s Adam Tambellini noted, “That’s what Coach (Ken) Gernander has been big on, not sulking over goals against, and coming right back out and pushing even harder against them.”
Unfortunately for the Wolf Pack, Gilmour’s score would be their only glimmer of hope in the period, as Geordie Kinnear’s Thunderbird club would later respond with two goals of their own.
The first of those came at 13:29, when Juho Lammikko sent a high wrist-shot into a crowd of players in front of Hartford’s net. Upon entering the crowd, the puck deflected off of Diamond and trickled past a heavily screened Hellberg.
Less than four minutes later, Bozon pounced on a Hartford turnover, giving the Thunderbirds a 2-on-1 opportunity. Bozon faked a pass, instead choosing to launch a snap-shot towards Hartford’s net, which caromed off Hellberg’s catching glove and directly back to Bozon, who easily slid the puck past the Swedish netminder at 16:56.
Trailing by two scores, Gernander’s squad refused quit in the game’s final period. At the 7:04 mark, Hartford’s Michael Joly netted a breakaway attempt to bring the Pack within a goal of the lead. Chris Summers assisted on the tally, Joly’s first American Hockey League point.
As the Pack continued to bombard Springfield’s net, McKenna refused to be beaten again. Harford was finally left with no choice but to pull Hellberg, and did so with two minutes and seven seconds to play. Fifty-nine seconds later, Mike Sgarbossa sealed a Springfield victory with an empty-net goal from his own defensive zone, to make the final score 4-2 Thunderbirds.
In his post-game press conference, Gernander stated, “I liked our third (period), and during the other two, I thought we needed more energy.”
The Wolf Pack are back at the XL Center this Saturday night, December 10, hosting the Toronto Marlies in a 7:00 PM game. The first 2,000 fans into the game receive a free 2017 Wolf Pack team calendar, compliments of Key Bank, and it’s also “Star Wars Night”, featuring the opportunity to hang out with favorite Star Wars characters and win some awesome Star Wars prizes.
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.
Springfield Thunderbirds 4 at Hartford Wolf Pack 2
Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - XL Center
Springfield 1 2 1 - 4
Hartford 0 1 1 - 2
1st Period-1, Springfield, McCann 2 (Acolatse, Harper), 14:22. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period-2, Hartford, Gilmour 4 (Paliotta, Tambellini), 0:36. 3, Springfield, Diamond 1 (Lammikko, MacAulay), 13:29. 4, Springfield, Bozon 3 16:56. Penalties-Nieves Hfd (roughing), 0:47; Brown Spr (tripping), 3:44; Glass Hfd (slashing), 6:52; Hunt Spr (holding), 14:34.
3rd Period-5, Hartford, Joly 1 (Summers), 7:04. 6, Springfield, Sgarbossa 5 (Downing), 18:56 (EN). Penalties-Glass Hfd (boarding), 19:21.
Shots on Goal-Springfield 11-14-5-30. Hartford 10-13-11-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 0 / 3; Hartford 0 / 2.
Goalies-Springfield, McKenna 4-4-3 (34 shots-32 saves). Hartford, Hellberg 6-6-3 (29 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Furman South (44), Stephen Reneau (34).
Linesmen-Glen Cooke (6), Robert St. Lawrence (10).