Shesterkin, Pack Blank Thunderbirds, 1-0Oct 18, 2019
By Bryce Grundy
The Wolf Pack opened up the third week of their season with a 1-0 shutout victory over the Springfield Thunderbirds Friday night at the XL Center, behind Wolf Pack goalie Igor Shesterkin (36 saves), improving the Wolf Pack’s record to 4-0-0-1 on the year.
“We feel very confident when [Shesterkin] is in the net. He’s very composed,” said Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch after Shesterkin’s first shutout of his North American professional career.
Phil Di Giuseppe’s second goal of the season, scored at 7:04 of the second period, proved to be the game-winner. Linemates Vinni Lettieri and Filip Chytil were credited with the assists, as Di Giuseppe was hit with a pass in stride, allowing him to the Thunderbirds defense and then sneak the puck past Springfield netminder Chris Driedger (22 saves).
“We’re an exciting team with a strong offense,” commented Di Giuseppe.
Knoblauch noted that the turning point in the game was a Shesterkin breakaway save that allowed the Wolf Pack to transition into the offensive zone, and ultimately led to the game-winning goal.
Strong goaltending and physical play continued into the third period. “We have guys who can pick up that load,” said Di Giuseppe, “Guys are laying down for shots and willing to sacrifice.”
“Leadership has been big,” added defensemen Mason Geertsen, “especially on the bench. Coach has preached quick puck movement and continuous pressure.”
The balance of veteran leadership and talent has propelled the Pack to the top of the Atlantic standings. “Good teams finish 1-0 games,” said veteran forward Matt Beleskey, a promising sign to start the season.
The Wolf Pack’s next action is their first road game of the season, Saturday night at Binghamton with faceoff at 7:05 PM. Then the Wolf Pack are right back on home ice next Friday night, October 25, hosting the Laval Rocket in a 7:15 PM game. Once again this season, Friday-night Wolf Pack home games feature $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period, presented by Nomads Adventure Quest.
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 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 0 at Hartford Wolf Pack 1
Friday, October 18, 2019 - XL Center
Springfield 0 0 0 - 0
Hartford 0 1 0 - 1
1st Period- No Scoring. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period-1, Hartford, Di Giuseppe 2 (Lettieri, Chytil), 7:04. Penalties-O'Regan Hfd (tripping), 4:17; Prow Spr (closing hand on puck, roughing), 13:30; Gettinger Hfd (roughing), 13:30; served by Kravtsov Hfd (bench minor - too many men), 16:39.
3rd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Roy Spr (holding), 5:45; Chytil Hfd (tripping), 6:36; Geertsen Hfd (interference), 9:01.
Shots on Goal-Springfield 7-12-17-36. Hartford 9-7-7-23.
Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 0 / 4; Hartford 0 / 2.
Goalies-Springfield, Driedger 2-3-0 (23 shots-22 saves). Hartford, Shesterkin 3-0-0 (36 shots-36 saves).
Referees-Furman South (44), Anthony Tapper (9).
Linesmen-Glen Cooke (6), Mike Baker (11).