Akim Aliu scored his first goal in a Wolf Pack uniform Saturday night at the XL Center, and Dov Grumet-Morris made 30 saves, but Andrew Joudrey and Jonathan Marchessault scored shootout goals to give the Springfield Falcons a 2-1 win.
“Whenever you have a shutout or a one-goal game, that’s a great team effort,” said Grumet-Morris, who made his fourth straight start since joining the Wolf Pack in a trade with the San Antonio Rampage.
Marchessault also scored in regulation for the Falcons, and Jeremy Smith made 27 saves in regulation and overtime, and went four-for-four in the shootout.
With the win, Springfield is now 6-0-0 on the year against the Wolf Pack, who increased their point total to 22 (9-15-0-4) with the standings point for the shootout loss.
An early Springfield goal by the former Connecticut Whale Marchessault was the only scoring of the first period. Broc Little carried the puck down left wing into the Wolf Pack zone and handed off to Marchessault, who snapped a shot past the catching glove of Grumet-Morris at 4:59.
The Wolf Pack, who had been shut out 3-0 by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers the night before, ended a run of more than four-and-a-half scoreless periods at 10:20 of the second session, courtesy of Aliu’s first goal in two games with the Pack.
Aliu took a feed from Jesper Fast and burst down left wing, and was able to thread a backhand shot through Smith from along the goal line.. That fortunate break for the Wolf Pack gave the crowd of 4,278 a chance to fling the toys that they brought to the game for the Liberty Honda Teddy Bear Toss, which benefits The Joy of Sharing and Toys for Tots.
That was it for the offense, although Grumet-Morris had to be especially strong for the Wolf Pack in the third period, in which Hartford was outshot 16-9. Smith then had to stand tall in the overtime, which featured a full two-minute Wolf Pack power play and a 6-2 Hartford shots advantage.
In the shootout, Springfield improved to 6-2 on the season, as Grumet-Morris was only able to stop one of the three Falcon shooters, Sean Collins, and Smith denied Danny Kristo, Marek Hrivik, Aliu and Aaron Johnson.
The Wolf Pack’s next action is this Thursday night, December 26, when they travel to Bridgeport to meet the Sound Tigers. Faceoff is 7:00, and all the action 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 next Saturday, December 28, a 7:00 PM battle with the Worcester Sharks at the XL Center. That is the Wolf Pack’s Military Appreciation Night, and tickets 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.
Springfield Falcons 2 (SO) at Hartford Wolf Pack 1
Saturday, December 21, 2013 - XL Center
Springfield 1 0 0 0 - 2
Hartford 0 1 0 0 - 1
1st Period-1, Springfield, Marchessault 8 (Little, McNeill), 4:59. Penalties-Allen Hfd (holding), 0:32; Boyce Spr (tripping), 9:03; Powe Hfd (double minor - high-sticking), 15:55; Lindberg Hfd (tripping), 19:57.
2nd Period-2, Hartford, Aliu 4 (Fast), 10:20. Penalties-McIlrath Hfd (interference), 6:40; Craig Spr (fighting), 17:56; Aliu Hfd (fighting), 17:56; Collins Spr (hooking), 19:26.
3rd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Machacek Spr (hooking, fighting), 7:34; O'Donnell Hfd (fighting), 7:34; Parlett Spr (elbowing), 10:18; Allen Hfd (roughing), 12:38.
OT Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Goloubef Spr (interference, unsportsmanlike conduct - disputing decision), 1:45; Hrivik Hfd (goaltender interference), 4:15.
Shootout - Springfield 2 (Joudrey G, Collins NG, Marchessault G), Hartford 0 (Kristo NG, Hrivik NG, Aliu NG, Johnson NG).
Shots on Goal-Springfield 7-6-16-2-1-32. Hartford 9-4-9-6-0-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 0 / 7; Hartford 0 / 5.
Goalies-Springfield, Smith 13-3-1 (28 shots-27 saves). Hartford, Grumet-Morris 1-8-3 (31 shots-30 saves).
Referees-Tim Mayer (19).
Linesmen-Paul Simeon (66), Glen Cooke (6).