Pack can't build on early goal, fall in Springfield

Pack can't build on early goal, fall in Springfield

Feb 21, 2020

(Photo by Kelly Shea)


The Wolf Pack scored first against the Springfield Thunderbirds Friday night at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, MA, but then gave up four straight goals in a 4-1 loss.


Ryan Gropp tallied only 3:55 into the game, but that was the extent of the Wolf Pack offense, despite a 37-27 Hartford shot advantage.  Philippe Desrosiers made 36 saves in the Springfield net, and the Thunderbirds got goals from Jack Rodewald, Paul Thompson and Aleksi Heponiemi. Newly-acquired Danick Martel added an empty-net goal and an assist.


J-F Berube took the loss in the Wolf Pack net, in his first game in a Hartford uniform after coming over in a trade Wednesday night from the Philadelphia Flyers organization.


“We started out well,” Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch said.  “The first ten minutes, I thought we had a lot of possession, we were playing hard, make a mistake, and they capitalized on it.  And I don’t think we responded very well after that.” 


On the Wolf Pack goal, a Yegor Rykov feed sent Steven Fogarty up the middle in the Springfield zone, and he got clear of the Thunderbird defense, before handing a feed to Gropp at the right side of the goalmouth.  He had Desrosiers at his mercy, and easily deposited the puck into the net.


The Thunderbirds would come back with a pair of late goals, though, only two minutes apart.


Rodewald tied the score at 16:45, pushing a rebound over the goal line past Berube.  A shot from the right point by Will Lochead deflected on net, and Berube made the save, but was unable to control the rebound.


Springfield took the lead for the first time at 18:15, on a goal by Thompson.  Martel fed the puck from center ice to the left side in the Wolf Pack zone, and Daniel Audette chased it down.  He found Thompson charging up the middle, and he put a hard shot past Berube.


The Thunderbirds scored a late goal in the second period as well, with Heponiemi increasing Springfield’s lead to 3-1 at 18:28.  After the Thunderbirds’ Henrik Borgstrom won a draw from Nick Jones in the circle to Berube’s right, Brady Keeper passed the puck from the left point to Ethan Prow at the right point.  Berube stopped his shot, but the puck went off of him, and Heponiemi knocked it out of the air and into the net from in front.


The Wolf Pack dominated the shots on goal in the third period, outgunning Springfield 18-5, but they could not solve Desrosiers.


“I thought, throughout the game, there were times when we had a good push, and in the third period we had some scoring chances,” said Knoblauch.  “They were sitting back, just defending, not making mistakes, and what happens is, you have to defend a lot.  But a lot of credit to their goalie, he played well.”


Martel put an end to any Wolf Pack comeback hopes with 1:16 left, after the Wolf Pack had pulled Berube.  A centering pass from below the goal line by Vinni Lettieri went off of Tim Gettinger’s stick in front of the net, and the puck came to Martel, just to Desrosiers’ right.  He quickly fired it all the down the ice into the vacated cage.


The Wolf Pack are in home-ice action at the XL Center Saturday night, when they host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 7:00.  That is “Hartford Hockey Heritage Night”, as the Wolf Pack celebrate over 40 years of Hartford hockey history.  The first 2,00 fans into the game that night will receive a free 2020 Wolf Pack Sonar bobblehead, presented by Xfinity.


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 and by phone at (860) 722-9425.  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






Hartford Wolf Pack 1 at Springfield Thunderbirds 4
Friday, February 21, 2020 - MassMutual Center

Hartford 1 0 0 - 1
Springfield 2 1 1 - 4

1st Period-1, Hartford, Gropp 4 (Fogarty, Rykov), 3:55. 2, Springfield, Rodewald 5 (Lochead, Mangene), 16:45. 3, Springfield, Thompson 12 (Audette, Martel), 18:45. Penalties-No Penalties

2nd Period-4, Springfield, Heponiemi 2 (Prow, Keeper), 18:28. Penalties-served by Kravtsov Hfd (bench minor - too many men), 2:39.

3rd Period-5, Springfield, Martel 17   18:44 (EN). Penalties-Dmowski Hfd (cross-checking, fighting), 2:48; Lochead Spr (fighting), 2:48; Prow Spr (tripping), 11:36; Lochead Spr (boarding), 16:07.

Shots on Goal-Hartford 12-7-18-37. Springfield 10-12-5-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 / 2; Springfield 0 / 2.
Goalies-Hartford, Berube 12-12-4 (26 shots-23 saves). Springfield, Desrosiers 14-9-1 (37 shots-36 saves).
Referees-Ryan Hersey (8), Terry Koharski (10).
Linesmen-Paul Simeon (66), Derek Wahl (46).

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