Pack Finish off Hershey with 6-3 Win in Game SixMay 15, 2015
The Wolf Pack advanced to the AHL’s Eastern Conference Finals Friday night at the XL Center, defeating the Hershey Bears 6-3 in Game Six of the teams’ best-of-seven, second-round playoff series.
The victory gave the Wolf Pack a four-games-to-two triumph in the series, and earned Hartford a matchup with the AHL regular season-champion Manchester Monarchs in the Conference Final.
Marek Hrivik led the way for the Wolf Pack in Game Six, scoring a hat trick, and Chris Bourque had three assists. Joey Crabb notched the shorthanded game-winning goal and had an assist. Yann Danis stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced.
Hershey had goals from Andre Burakovsky, Dustin Gazley and Nate Schmidt. Cameron Schilling had two assists in the loss. Philipp Grubauer had 31 saves on 36 shots.
“I got the monkey off my back, that’s for sure,” said Hrivik. “Obviously I’m glad we won the game. That was a great team effort and I think it was a well-deserved win.”
The Bears drew first blood in Game Six, when Burakovsky walked in on a two-on-one and fired a shot to the high glove side of Danis.
“We don’t want to have to come from behind, but we know if we stick with it we’ll get our chances, and as of late we’ve been paying them off,” said Hartford coach Ken Gernander.
Hartford answered back at 9:02 on an odd bounce. Chris Bourque sent the puck around the boards from the blue line and it bounced to the front of the net. Hrivik was in the right place at the right time and was able to beat Grubauer to tie the game at one.
“There were a few bounces before that too,” said Hrivik. “There was one right before that, but I didn’t go to the front. I kind of went to the side, and next time I just tried to go to the net, and I was lucky to get it.”
The scoring started early in the second, as it did in the first. Hrivik tallied another one to give the Pack a 2-1 lead, at 1:26. Bourque sent the puck below the goal line for Hrivik, and he continued around the net and put the puck through Grubauer’s legs.
“I think he’s been one of our better players in this series,” said Gernander of Hrivik. “He’s been very good distributing the puck, defensively, winning face-offs. He’s done so many things. I think the offense, or the goals I guess, is just a matter of time, and it’s good to see him rewarded in a big way.”
Hershey then scored their fourth shorthanded goal of the series to tie the game at two. It was Gazley who came in to the zone with a burst of speed and fired a shot past Danis, for Gazley’s second goal of the post-season.
Michael Kostka gave the Pack a 3-2 lead at 9:00 of the second. He jumped into the play and was fed the puck. Grubauer made the original stop, but Kostka stuck with it and went to the backhand. He calmly put the puck home for his first goal of the playoffs.
“All playoffs we’ve been getting contributions from everyone,” said Bourque. “(Tommy) Hughes in OT in the first series against Providence. Obviously Mike [Kostka] with the big play there to get a big goal in the second period to give us the lead when they came and scored a shorthanded goal. It seemed like every time they scored a big goal we came back with one of our own, so that shows a lot about a team.”
With the Wolf Pack killing off a Danny Kristo interference penalty, Crabb scored a shorthanded goal. Lindberg blocked a shot in the defensive end and then carried the puck deep along the boards. He cut back when he got near the corner, and found Crabb breaking in to the zone. Crabb fired a slap shot from the slot to give the Pack a two-goal cushion.
“NHL play right there,” said Bourque. “He fought off a lot of guys there and found Joe [Crabb] in the slot. Oscar [Lindberg] obviously has all of the tools, and he showed them on that play. It was an unbelievable individual play and a great job by Joe to finish it off.”
The Bears cut it to a one-goal-game at 12:44, when Schmidt drove the puck through the slot and fired a backhander. His shot slipped past Danis, for Schmidt’s fourth of the playoffs.
Klingberg answered back just 1:30 later with a goal of his own. Klingberg walked through the slot and fired a shot under the crossbar to give the Pack a 5-3 lead.
Hrivik secured a hat-trick on the night with 35.5 seconds left, when he scored an empty-netter and secured the Pack series victory.
The Wolf Pack and Monarchs will open the Eastern Conference Finals Thursday, May 21 in Manchester. The Wolf Pack’s first two home games of the series will be Games Three and Four, which will be Tuesday, May 26 and Wednesday, May 27, with 7:00 PM faceoffs both nights.
“We know they’re a skilled team,” said Lindberg of the Monarchs. “I think we just have to keep playing the way we’re playing and don’t try to change things too much. We know they’re a good team, but we’re a pretty good team right now too.”
Wolf Pack playoff tickets are available at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.
Hershey Bears 3 at Hartford Wolf Pack 6
Friday, May 15, 2015 - XL Center
Hershey 1 1 1 - 3
Hartford 1 3 2 - 6
1st Period-1, Hershey, Burakovsky 1 (Conner, Schilling), 1:24. 2, Hartford, Hrivik 1 (Skjei, C. Bourque), 9:02. Penalties-Mueller Hfd (elbowing), 18:08.
2nd Period-3, Hartford, Hrivik 2 (C. Bourque), 1:26. 4, Hershey, Gazley 2 (Newbury, Schilling), 5:39 (SH). 5, Hartford, Kostka 1 (Lindberg, Crabb), 9:00. 6, Hartford, Crabb 4 (Lindberg), 16:37 (SH). Penalties-Wellman Her (holding), 5:27; Mitchell Her (roughing), 11:02; served by Kristo Hfd (bench minor - interference from bench), 15:25.
3rd Period-7, Hershey, Schmidt 4 12:44. 8, Hartford, Klingberg 2 (Haggerty, McIlrath), 14:14. 9, Hartford, Hrivik 3 (C. Bourque, Hughes), 19:24 (EN). Penalties-Mitchell Her (interference), 0:53; Crabb Hfd (interference), 1:50.
Shots on Goal-Hershey 7-11-8-26. Hartford 16-11-10-37.
Power Play Opportunities-Hershey 0 / 3; Hartford 0 / 3.
Goalies-Hershey, Grubauer 2-4-0 (36 shots-31 saves). Hartford, Danis 7-3-0 (26 shots-23 saves).
Referees-Garrett Rank (48), Terry Koharski (10).
Linesmen-Shandor Alphonso (52), Luke Galvin (2).