Skapski Blanks Bruins in Pack ReturnMar 27, 2015
It was “Anti-Bullying Night” at the XL Center Wednesday, yet the Wolf Pack were anything but kind to visiting Providence Bruins. The Wolf Pack put on a dominant performance, winning convincingly by a score of 5-0 before a crowd of 8,629, the Wolf Pack’s second-largest of the season and the sixth lower-bowl sellout in the last nine home games.
Mackenzie Skapski made 27 saves to post the shutout, in his return to AHL action after nearly two months on recall to the parent New York Rangers.
The win had big playoff implications, as the Wolf Pack (35-22-5-4, 79 pts.) jumped into a tie with the Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings, and it seemed as if everything was going right for the Wolf Pack in Friday night’s game.
“I was pretty happy with the game,” said Head Coach Ken Gernander in his postgame press conference. “There’s always one or two things that you’d like to say we could have done without, but it’s a huge two points. Big home win for us, a lot of good stuff.”
“We were awesome tonight,” said Skapski. “Part of that is puck possession, and we had the puck quite a bit.”
The offense came in droves as the Wolf Pack attacked Providence starting netminder Jeremy Smith.
Kodie Curran, in his professional debut, helped start the scoring by holding the puck at the point and playing a half-shot/half-pass towards the net. Tyler Brown, occupying the crease area, tipped it past Smith to give the Wolf Pack a 1-0 lead. Brown brought his goal total on the season up to six, with the goal coming with 6:58 elapsed in the first. Curran and Marek Hrivik were credited with the assists.
“It was good to see Kodie get that first point in his pro debut,” said Brown after the game. “We don’t know much about him, but just from watching him in today’s game, he definitely opened up some eyes and played really well.”
The second goal came off an odd-man rush created when a Providence shot rang hard off the post. The puck shot out of the zone straight to a waiting Brown. As he came screaming down the ice to the right of Smith, Brown fired a shot that also hit a post, and went straight to the stick of Ryan Haggerty. It was an easy goal for Haggerty, who recorded his 13th of the season, coming with 16:43 elapsed in the first period. The assists were credited to Brown and Chad Nehring.
Only 26 seconds into the second period, the Wolf Pack struck again. Carl Klingberg put a shot on net that was re-directed by Justin Vaive crashing to the net. Smith was on the ice and Vaive was able to tip his own rebound over Smith’s head into the back of the net for Vaive’s 12th of the season. The goal was assisted by Klingberg and Oscar Lindberg.
After that goal Providence coach Bruce Cassidy felt there needed to be a change in net, replacing Smith with Malcolm Subban. The trends, though, were not reversed by this switch.
Joey Crabb was the beneficiary of a nice bounce on the fourth Wolf Pack goal. As the Bruins were trying to set up their power play offense, Crabb lunged at a pass with his stick, which sent the puck high into the air and back towards the Providence zone. Crabb was quick to the loose change and found himself on a clean breakaway, tucking it past Subban with a couple of nifty moves. The goal came with 5:27 elapsed, Crabb’s 11th of the season. His goal was indicative of the hustle and heart that was shown by the Wolf Pack all night.
“It was a great stop start play getting his stick in the lane to break it (the pass) up,” said Gernander. “Out-hustled them for the breakaway and didn’t score on the original one, even though he put on a really good move, but was there for the rebound. Guys that were putting in the extra effort got rewarded tonight.”
The fifth Wolf Pack goal put the game out of reach at 4:54 of the third. Connor Allen fired a pass across the slot to Ryan Bourque, who put some mustard on his wrist shot that just slipped behind Subban. Malcolm did get a piece of the shot, but it was yet another bounce in favor of the Pack. Bourque recorded his 12th tally of the season on the play.
The Wolf Pack head up to Springfield Saturday night, visiting the Falcons for a 7:00 PM game. All of the action of that contest can be heard live on Fox Sports Radio 1410, and on-line at www.foxsportsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.
The Wolf Pack’s next home game is Friday, April 3, when the Syracuse Crunch invade the XL Center for a 7:00 game. As at all Friday-night Wolf Pack games, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs an $2 beers through the start of the second period.
Tickets for all 2014-15 Wolf Pack home games are now on sale at the Agera Energy 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 Wolf Pack representative about season or group tickets, or any of the Wolf Pack’s many ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.
Providence Bruins 0 at Hartford Wolf Pack 5
Friday, March 27, 2015 - XL Center
Providence 0 0 0 - 0
Hartford 2 2 1 - 5
1st Period-1, Hartford, Brown 6 (Curran, Hrivik), 6:58. 2, Hartford, Haggerty 13 (Brown, Nehring), 16:43. Penalties-Lindberg Hfd (boarding), 0:41; Smith Pro (delay of game - restricted area), 9:50; Vaive Hfd (goaltender interference), 11:48.
2nd Period-3, Hartford, Vaive 12 (Klingberg, Lindberg), 0:26. 4, Hartford, Crabb 11 5:27 (SH). Penalties-R. Bourque Hfd (tripping), 4:12; Sexton Pro (high-sticking), 10:09.
3rd Period-5, Hartford, R. Bourque 12 (Allen), 4:54. Penalties-Haggerty Hfd (holding), 2:23; Ferlin Pro (hooking), 5:25; Lindberg Hfd (high-sticking), 5:53; Arnesson Pro (high-sticking), 14:34; Mueller Hfd (hooking), 18:44.
Shots on Goal-Providence 6-12-9-27. Hartford 8-13-9-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Providence 0 / 6; Hartford 0 / 4.
Goalies-Providence, Smith 18-9-2 (11 shots-8 saves); Subban 14-12-0 (19 shots-17 saves). Hartford, Skapski 13-7-1 (27 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Tim Mayer (19).
Linesmen-Luke Galvin (2), Mike Baker (11).