Pack Drop Preseason Opener to Springfield, 4-2Sep 25, 2019
The Wolf Pack had leads of 1-0 and 2-1 Wednesday night at Danbury Ice Arena, but the Springfield Thunderbirds scored the last three goals of the game for a 4-2 win, in the AHL preseason opener for both teams.
Ryan Gropp and Jeff Taylor scored the Wolf Pack goals. Jake Massie, Rodrigo Abols and Jonathan Ang scored for Springfield, and Blaine Byron added an empty-net goal.
“I liked a lot of the guys,” Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch said. “A lot of the guys that we’ve been watching, and who have been trying to make this team, played well. They separated themselves from other guys.”
Gropp opened the scoring only 1:56 in. He came into the Springfield zone on a 2-on-1 with Greg Chase and elected to shoot, firing a snap shot past Thunderbird goaltender Ryan Bednard (32 saves) on the stick side.
The Thunderbirds equalized at 13:50, on a goal by Massie. Matt Marcinew fed a pass across the slot to Massie in the left-wing circle, and his shot got by the glove side of Wolf Pack starting netminder Tom McCollum.
The Wolf Pack enjoyed an 11-3 shots advantage in the opening frame.
Hartford went ahead again at 9:06 of the second period, on a shorthanded goal by Taylor. Similar to the play on which Gropp scored in the first, Taylor kept the puck on a 2-on-1, putting a shot high into the net from the left side.
That lead lasted less than a minute-and-a-half, though, as the Springfield power play answered at 11:21, with only 12 seconds left in a hooking penalty to Brandon Crawley. Abols got the goal, sneaking the puck through McCollum’s legs from the left circle.
Francois Brassard replaced McCollum in the Wolf Pack net at that point, after McCollum stopped five of the seven shots he faced, and the Thunderbirds went ahead for the first time with 1:06 remaining in the period.
Ang gave Springfield the lead, taking a cross-ice pass from Byron and firing the puck past Brassard’s catching glove from the right circle.
The third frame was scoreless, except for an empty-net goal by Byron with eight seconds left. With Brassard (ten saves) on the bench for an extra attacker, Byron worked the puck away from Gropp near the Springfield blue line, and was able to fend Gropp off enough to make his way into the Wolf Pack zone and push the puck into the vacated cage.
The Wolf Pack’s next preseason action is this Friday, September 27, when they host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Koeppel Community Sports Center on the campus of Trinity College. Faceoff is 1:00 PM. Donations will be accepted at the door in lieu of an admission charge, benefitting the Ryan Gordon/Hartford Wolf Pack Community Scholars Fund. The fund memorializes young fan Ryan Gordon, who passed away in 2006 and asked that a portion of the monies set aside for his college education be donated to the Hartford Wolf Pack Community Foundation. Suggested donation is $5 per person.
The Wolf Pack open their 2019-20 regular season next Saturday, October 5, with a home-ice contest vs. the defending Calder Cup-champion Charlotte Checkers. Faceoff is 7:00 PM. Tickets for that game, and 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 4 at Hartford Wolf Pack 2
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 - Danbury Ice Arena
Springfield 1 2 1 - 4
Hartford 1 1 0 - 2
1st Period-1, Hartford, Gropp 1 (Elmer), 1:56. 2, Springfield, Massie 1 (Marcinew), 13:50. Penalties-Bajkov Spr (tripping), 8:59; Massie Spr (delay of game), 19:14.
2nd Period-3, Hartford, Taylor 1 10:54 (SH). 4, Springfield, Abols 1 (Bouramman), 11:21 (PP). 5, Springfield, Ang 1 (Byron, Rockwood), 18:54. Penalties-Geertsen Hfd (cross-checking), 8:07; Crawley Hfd (hooking), 9:33.
3rd Period-6, Springfield, Byron 1 19:52 (EN). Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Springfield 3-12-6-21. Hartford 11-12-11-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 1 / 2; Hartford 0 / 2.
Goalies-Springfield, Bednard 1-0-0 (34 shots-32 saves). Hartford, McCollum 0-0-0 (9 shots-7 saves); Brassard 0-1-0 (11 shots-10 saves).
Referees-Terry Koharski (10), Jeremy Tufts (78).
Linesmen-Eric Ernst (24), Petr Hejna (76).