Dov Grumet-Morris had his first shutout of the season Saturday night at the XL Center, stopping 23 shots as the Wolf Pack finished their season with a 2-0 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Ryan Bourque’s first-period power-play goal was the only offense the Wolf Pack would need, and T.J. Hensick added an empty-net goal with 32.2 seconds left in the game. Danny Syvret assisted on both goals. Kevin Poulin made 36 saves in the Bridgeport net.
The victory was the Wolf Pack’s ninth in the last ten games, and Hartford finished 18-6-1-0 in the last 25 games of the year, for a final record of 37-32-1-6 for 81 points. The shutout was Hartford’s fourth in the last ten games, after the team went without one in the first 66 games of the year.
“We kept fighting right until the end,” the Wolf Pack’s Dylan McIlrath said. “Unfortunately we got the news (last Friday) in St. John’s that we were out of it (playoff contention), but I liked how we came together as a group and played with a lot of pride. It was good to see.”
Bourque’s 21st goal of the season, the game-winner, came on the game’s first power play, with Bridgeport’s Justin Johnson in the penalty box for roughing.
Marek Hrivik set Syvret up for a shot from the middle of the blue line, and Bourque deflected the blast past Poulin at 6:35.
That was it for the offense until the final minute of the game, despite the Wolf Pack outshooting the Sound Tigers 11-6 in the second period and 17-9 in the third.
Bridgeport pulled Poulin for a sixth attacker with just over 1:30 remaining in the third, but never seriously threatened, and Hensick was able to ice the game at 19:27.
Dylan McIlrath cleared the puck out of the corner to Grumet-Morris’ right, and it deflected off of a Sound Tiger into the Bridgeport end. Hensick beat a Sound Tiger defender to the loose puck along the right-wing boards, and bounced it into the empty cage.
Season tickets for the Wolf Pack’s 2014-15 AHL season are on sale now. In addition to getting the best deal on Wolf Pack seats, full season-ticket subscribers will be part of the Pack’s new season ticket-holder “Mug Club”, whose members can enjoy $4 beers and $2 sodas at every Wolf Pack home game. Call 855-764-6451 now to get placed in seats, or visit www.hartfordwolfpack.com for more information.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers 0 at Hartford Wolf Pack 2
Saturday, April 19, 2014 - XL Center
Bridgeport 0 0 0 - 0
Hartford 1 0 1 - 2
1st Period-1, Hartford, Bourque 21 (Syvret, Hrivik), 6:35 (PP). Penalties-Johnson Bri (roughing), 6:20.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Bourque Hfd (hooking), 1:50; Bruton Bri (fighting), 15:54; McIlrath Hfd (fighting), 15:54; Johnson Hfd (interference), 16:55.
3rd Period-2, Hartford, Hensick 11 (McIlrath, Syvret), 19:27 (EN). Penalties-Allen Hfd (tripping), 7:26; Poulin Bri (delay of game), 10:25.
Shots on Goal-Bridgeport 8-6-9-23. Hartford 10-11-17-38.
Power Play Opportunities-Bridgeport 0 / 3; Hartford 1 / 2.
Goalies-Bridgeport, Poulin 2-12-1 (37 shots-36 saves). Hartford, Grumet-Morris 17-15-5 (23 shots-23 saves).
Referees-David Banfield (77).
Linesmen-Jim Briggs (83), Brent Colby (7).