Pack Win Regular-season Finale in BridgeportApr 19, 2015
The Wolf Pack ended their regular season in winning fashion Sunday at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT, defeating the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 2-1.
The Wolf Pack, who clinched the Northeast Division title the night before, finished the year with a record of 43-24-5-4 for 95 points and will be the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoff draw. Hartford will meet the sixth-seeded Providence Bruins in the first round of the postseason, starting this Wednesday, April 22 at the XL Center (7:00 PM faceoff).
With nothing at stake in the standings, the Wolf Pack rested six regulars and goaltender Yann Danis Sunday, and it was veteran forward Ryan Potulny, a healthy scratch for the previous 24 contests, who scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal. Chris Mueller had the other Wolf Pack goal and Jeff Malcolm, in his first AHL appearance since March 22, got the win with 27 saves.
“It’s a pretty good reflection on the guys that have had a long stretch where they haven’t had games, in terms of their preparation,” Wolf Pack coach Ken Gernander said. “And it’s pretty encouraging, some of the young guys being able to step right in. I thought there were a lot of positives to today’s game.”
After a scoreless first 36 minutes of the game, the entirety of the Wolf Pack offense came in a span of 11 seconds, starting at the 16:34 mark of the second period.
Mueller got his 14th goal of the season at 16:34, as Bridgeport’s Colton Gillies tried to stickhandle past his own net but lost the puck. The loose puck hit Mueller’s leg to the right of Sound Tiger starting goaltender Kevin Poulin, and deflected into the net.
Moments later, Poulin attempted to play the puck behind the net and had it get away from him. With Poulin scrambling to get back into position, the puck trickled into the slot, and Potulny jumped on it and fired into the virtually open net. That goal came at 16:45 and was the second goal of the season for the veteran Potulny, who was playing in only his 25th game of the year. The 11-second span between the two goals was a Wolf Pack season best.
The Sound Tigers’ Alan Quine foiled Malcolm’s shutout bid with 6:45 remaining in the third period, taking a pass from Brett Gallant and beating Malcolm with a snap shot to the glove side.
Malcolm and the Wolf Pack shut the door after that, though, and the Wolf Pack finished the regular season with wins in seven of their last eight games, and 13-3-0-1 in their last 17
Tickets for the Wolf Pack’s Wednesday playoff opener are 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.
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.
Hartford Wolf Pack 2 at Bridgeport Sound Tigers 1
Sunday, April 19, 2015 - Webster Bank Arena
Hartford 0 2 0 - 2
Bridgeport 0 0 1 - 1
1st Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Sundstrom Bri (tripping), 11:54; Gallant Bri (unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:38; Tarnasky Hfd (hooking), 18:39.
2nd Period-1, Hartford, Mueller 14 16:34. 2, Hartford, Potulny 2 (Kristo), 16:45. Penalties-Brooks Bri (hooking), 2:25.
3rd Period-3, Bridgeport, Quine 23 (Gallant, Ness), 13:15. Penalties-O'Donnell Hfd (roughing, fighting), 6:22; Carkner Bri (cross-checking, fighting), 6:22; Bourque Hfd (tripping), 8:30.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 10-14-9-33. Bridgeport 4-9-15-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 / 3; Bridgeport 0 / 2.
Goalies-Hartford, Malcolm 7-4-0 (28 shots-27 saves). Bridgeport, Poulin 16-21-1 (24 shots-22 saves); Williams 3-1-0 (9 shots-9 saves).
Referees-Ryan Hersey (8), Pierre Lambert (39).
Linesmen-Paul Simeon (66), Luke Galvin (2).