The Wolf Pack gave up two shorthanded goals, the second of which was the game-winner, in a 3-2 loss to the Springfield Falcons Saturday night at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.
Springfield swept a pair of back-to-back home games against the Wolf Pack, having won 3-2 in a shootout on Friday night.
Jake Hansen scored one of Springfield’s shorthanders and set up the winner, which was scored by Darryl Boyce. Cody Bass also scored for the Falcons, and Jeremy Smith made 22 saves. Stu Bickel and Danny Kristo scored Wolf Pack goals, and Scott Stajcer stopped 19 shots.
“A good, hard-fought game, it was back and forth,” Kristo said. “I thought we took a couple too many penalties and gave up two shorthanded goals, so we lost the special teams battle, and you usually lose the game when that happens. We had a good push at the end, but just came up a little bit short. It was a tough loss, so we’ll have to regroup.”
Springfield got the jump early in the first period, with Bass scoring only 2:20 into the game. The Wolf Pack gave up a two-on-one when Michael St. Croix could not keep the puck in the Springfield zone at the right point, and Bass used Andrew Joudrey as a decoy and fired a high shot past Stajcer’s stick side for a 1-0 Falcons lead.
Springfield then made it a 2-0 advantage with the first shorthanded goal only 42 seconds into the second, the first shorthander given up by the Wolf Pack on the year. Danny Syvret was unable to keep the puck in at the right point, and Hansen was able to break free. Syvret tried hard to catch up but could not, and Hansen’s shot got by Stajcer on the stick side.
The Wolf Pack answered that goal at 15:32, when Bickel scored his first goal of the season, and the sixth of his AHL career. Bickel, normally a defenseman, was playing forward and got a feed from Oscar Lindberg in front of the net, and backhanded it past the stick glove of Smith.
In the latter stages of a tightly-played third period, the Wolf Pack appeared to have a big opportunity when Dalton Smith was sent off for tripping Ryan Bourque at 15:42. Disaster struck the Hartford power play again, though, at 16:24, when Boyce scored what turned out to be the difference-making goal.
A Syvret pass eluded Aaron Johnson near the Springfield line, and Hansen and Boyce broke two-on-one the other way. Hansen’s pass to Boyce from right to left was perfect, and a diving Stajcer had no chance to stop Boyce’s shot.
That goal loomed large, when the Wolf Pack got Stajcer to the bench for an extra attacker and cut the lead in half with 1:20 still to play. A shot by Johnson from the right point went wide, but Kristo read the carom off the end boards perfectly, and his quick shot beat Smith’s desperation dive.
Hartford was able to pull Stajcer again after that goal and got some good pressure, but was unable to get anything else past Smith, and the Wolf Pack suffered only their third regulation loss in 12 games on the season (7-3-0-2).
The Wolf Pack now are back home at the XL Center for their next game, this Friday, November 8, a 7:00 battle with the Providence Bruins. Once again this season, each and every Wolf Pack Friday-night home game features $1 hot dogs and $2 beers, through the start of the second period, presented by Marc's Appliance Warehouse, located at 75 Prospect St., Hartford, CT.
Tickets for all Wolf Pack 2013-14 home games are on sale now at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. Wolf Pack tickets start as low as $12 for youth 12 years old or younger. To speak with a representative about season or group tickets, call (855) 762-6451.
Hartford Wolf Pack 2 at Springfield Falcons 3
Saturday, November 2, 2013 - MassMutual Center
Hartford 0 1 1 - 2
Springfield 1 1 1 - 3
1st Period-1, Springfield, Bass 1 (Little), 2:20. Penalties-Lindberg Hfd (tripping), 3:29; Haley Hfd (interference), 10:56; Hrivik Hfd (tripping), 16:51; Joudrey Spr (hooking), 19:29.
2nd Period-2, Springfield, Hansen 4 (Collins), 0:42 (SH). 3, Hartford, Bickel 1 (Lindberg), 15:32. Penalties-Yogan Hfd (cross-checking), 1:13; Powe Hfd (slashing), 4:43; Allen Hfd (unsportsmanlike conduct), 5:58; Aleardi Spr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 5:58; Nash Hfd (holding the stick), 8:20; Lindberg Hfd (hooking), 19:29.
3rd Period-4, Springfield, Boyce 3 (Hansen), 16:24 (SH). 5, Hartford, Kristo 8 (Hrivik, Johnson), 18:40. Penalties-Aleardi Spr (hooking), 5:52; Smith Spr (tripping), 15:42.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 6-14-4-24. Springfield 8-9-5-22.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 / 3; Springfield 0 / 7.
Goalies-Hartford, Stajcer 1-1-0 (22 shots-19 saves). Springfield, Smith 4-1-1 (24 shots-22 saves).
Referees-T.J. Luxmore (49), Brett Iverson (51).
Linesmen-Chris Low (88), Derek Wahl (46).