The Wolf Pack scored three third-period goals against the Providence Bruins Friday night at the XL Center, but it was not enough to overcome a poor first two periods in a 6-4 loss.
Oscar Lindberg had two goals and an assist for the Wolf Pack, but Seth Griffith led the way for Providence with a goal and two assists, and a two-game Hartford winning streak was snapped. Jesper Fast had a goal and an assist for the Wolf Pack and T.J. Hensick also scored, and Matt Lindblad had a goal and an assist for the Bruins.
“You can’t overlook the first forty minutes of the game.” Wolf Pack head coach Ken Gernander said. “The first two periods were already water over the bridge at that point. Even in games where we come out of the gate strong, we’re still playing from behind at the beginning of most of those games.”
Providence dominated the scoreboard in the first period, outshooting the Wolf Pack 15-9 and jumping out to a 3-0 lead.
Justin Florek opened the scoring for the Bruins at 4:18, slipping a shot through the legs of Wolf Pack starting goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris from between the hash marks. Florek got the puck handed to him by Lindblad in front, and used Hartford defenseman Tommy Hughes as a screen to beat Grumet-Morris.
Griffith made it 2-0 at 8:18, after the Wolf Pack turned the puck over in neutral ice and got caught in a line change. Griffith carried the puck down right wing and angled toward the middle, before firing a shot past Grumet-Morris’ catching glove.
The Bruins then cashed in on their first power play at 18:32 for a 3-0 lead. With Kyle Beach off for hooking, Nick Johnson fed the puck from below the goal line, to Grumet-Morris’ right, across the slot to Joe Morrow in the right circle, and Grumet-Morris had no chance to stop Morrow’s one-timer.
The Bruins kept the offense flowing early in the second period, chasing Grumet-Morris from the game with another power-play goal at 2:57. Grumet-Morris made a kick save on a deflected David Warsofsky point shot, but the rebound went right to Alexander Khokhlachev just below the right faceoff dot, and he whipped it into the goal.
David LeNeveu replaced Grumet-Morris (four goals-against on 19 shots) at that point, and LeNeveu was greeted by a fifth Providence goal at 6:45. Anthony Camara scored on a rebound from close range, after the puck went off of LeNeveu and hopped over Marek Hrivik’s stick.
Hensick got the Wolf Pack on the scoreboard 38 seconds later, with his third goal in nine games with the Wolf Pack. In a delayed penalty situation, Brendon Nash fed the puck off of the left-wing boards to Hensick in front of the goal, and Hensick put a forehand shot past Bruin goaltender Niklas Svedberg (26 saves).
Lindblad replied for Providence, though, at 10:32 in a four-on-four situation. Griffith sent Lindblad through center ice with a pass up left wing, and Griffith was able to fend off Hughes and snap the puck past LeNeveu on the stick side.
Trailing 6-1 going into the third, the Wolf Pack came back to make a game of it, starting with a power-play goal by Fast at 9:45. Danny Syvret bounced the puck toward the net from the blue line, and Fast was able to get a stick on it and deflect it past Svedberg’s left side, scoring his fifth goal in the last four games.
Lindberg then made it a 6-3 game at 11:42, on a wraparound. After a strong forecheck by Micheal Haley, Lindberg grabbed a loose puck behind the net and tucked it inside the post on Svedberg’s glove side.
Lindberg struck again at 16:14 in a four-on-four, off a feed from Fast, but the Wolf Pack could get no closer than 6-4.
The Wolf Pack are back on home ice at the XL Center Saturday night, striving to help “Save the Top Shelf” and battle breast cancer on “Pink in the Rink” Night. The Wolf Pack will wear special pink-accented jerseys in the game, which faces off at 7:00 PM, and the jerseys will be auctioned off to benefit the Connecticut affiliate of Susan G. Komen. Also, fans can take advantage of a special ticket package, subject to ticket availability, that will include a distinctive “Save the Top Shelf” t-shirt. The package is priced at $25, and shirts are available in Medium, Large and X-Large sizes. The Save the Top Shelf t-shirts are also be available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds from those sales going to Komen Connecticut. More information can be found at SaveTheTopShelf.com.
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.
Providence Bruins 6 at Hartford Wolf Pack 4
Friday, January 31, 2014 - XL Center
Providence 3 3 0 - 6
Hartford 0 1 3 - 4
1st Period-1, Providence, Florek 11 (Lindblad, Warsofsky), 4:18. 2, Providence, Griffith 10 (Fraser), 8:18. 3, Providence, Morrow 5 (Johnson, Cunningham), 18:32 (PP). Penalties-Trotman Pro (boarding), 13:57; Beach Hfd (hooking), 17:43.
2nd Period-4, Providence, Khokhlachev 10 (Warsofsky, Griffith), 2:57 (PP). 5, Providence, Camara 7 (Casto), 6:45. 6, Hartford, Hensick 3 (Nash, Stamler), 7:23. 7, Providence, Lindblad 6 (Griffith), 10:32. Penalties-Allen Hfd (hooking), 0:14; Miller Hfd (slashing), 2:13; Flick Pro (fighting), 7:23; Stamler Hfd (fighting), 7:23; Johnson Pro (cross-checking), 8:56; Johnson Hfd (roughing), 8:56; Robins Pro (high-sticking), 13:52; Trotman Pro (hooking), 15:48.
3rd Period-8, Hartford, Fast 9 (Syvret, Lindberg), 9:45 (PP). 9, Hartford, Lindberg 11 (Hughes, Haley), 11:42. 10, Hartford, Lindberg 12 (Fast), 16:14. Penalties-Syvret Hfd (boarding), 0:23; Fraser Pro (roughing, fighting), 9:00; Powe Hfd (fighting), 9:00; Casto Pro (roughing), 14:16; Beach Hfd (roughing), 14:16.
Shots on Goal-Providence 15-13-5-33. Hartford 9-11-10-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Providence 2 / 4; Hartford 1 / 4.
Goalies-Providence, Svedberg 16-10-3 (30 shots-26 saves). Hartford, Grumet-Morris 6-10-4 (19 shots-15 saves); LeNeveu 1-4-0 (14 shots-12 saves).
Referees-Jon McIsaac (45), Tim Mayer (19).
Linesmen-Kevin Redding (16), Derek Wahl (46).