Wolf Pack Finish 2019 with Win over Sound TigersDec 31, 2019
By Micah Collins
Matt Beleskey scored twice, and Yegor Rykov had a pair of assists, Tuesday night at the XL Center, helping the Hartford Wolf Pack to a 3-2 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
The win improved the Wolf Pack’s record against their in-state rivals to 4-1-0-0, and moved Hartford (19-8-2-4, 45 pts.) past the idle Providence Bruins into sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division.
“Every game they put up a good fight,” Beleskey said of the Sound Tigers, “but we’re proud of how we stuck with it and played hard. “We came out ready to play, and that pays off any time you can get on a team early.
“Confidence is a huge part of this game. When you play with confidence you play well, and we want to keep that rolling and keep going down the stretch here. The schedule always ramps up in the second half, so any cushion we can have is good.”
The Sound Tigers seemed to have all the momentum until Beleskey scored his eighth of the season from behind the net, rebounding a shot off of the leg of Bridgeport starting goaltender Jared Coreau (five saves) with 11:02 left in the first period.
“(Phil) Di Giuseppe made a great pass,” said Beleskey. “It kind of bounced around in front and ended up in the net.” Di Giuseppe and Rykov assisted on the goal.
Just 51 seconds later, Darren Raddysh scored his fourth goal of the year off of a tight-angle shot from just below the right circle, giving the Wolf Pack a two-goal lead.
“I didn’t know what I was doing, I kind of blacked out then,” joked Raddysh. “I just threw it at the net, luckily it went in.” The goal was unassisted.
With just 1:32 left in the period, Beleskey scored his second of the game and ninth of the year on the power play.
“It was nice to see Beleskey get two goals,” said Raddysh of his teammate’s offensive performance. “It’s a shame we couldn’t get him the hat trick, but it was still a great game by him.” Rykov and Nick Ebert both assisted on the goal.
With just 17 seconds left in the first, Otto Koivula scored his third of the year to put Bridgeport on the board, sneaking a shot past Igor Shesterkin (18 saves). Ryan Bourque and Seth Helgeson assisted on the goal.
The Sound Tigers started the second period with a goaltending change, as Coreau was replaced by Jakub Skarek (15 saves). Both teams would lock down defensively for the middle frame, with Shesterkin making key saves, as has become his standard. Beleskey was quick to praise his netminder, saying, “Shesterkin has been unbelievable, we just try to help him out where we can and make it easier on him.”
Andrew Ladd beat Shesterkin with 5:51 left in the third period to bring the Sound Tigers within one. The goal was Ladd’s 10th of the season, and was assisted by Sebastian Aho and Travis St. Denis.
The goal would prove to be the only one of the period, even when Bridgeport put on the pressure in the final minute of the game, pulling Skarek for the extra attacker.
“They came hard at the end, we knew they wouldn’t quit,” said Raddysh.
The Wolf Pack’s next action is this Friday night, January 3 in Providence against the Bruins. Faceoff is 7:05, and all of the action can be heard live on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com. Video streaming is available at theahl.com/AHLTV.
The next Wolf Pack home game is this Saturday night, January 4, a 7:00 battle with the Utica Comets. That is #MillenialNight at the XL Center, featuring a reusable straw set giveaway to all fans attending the game, presented by ProHealth.
Tickets for all 2019-20 Wolf Pack home games are on sale now at the Sunwave Gas & Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. Tickets purchased in advance for kids 12 or younger start at just $10 each, and all tickets will have a $3 day-of-game increase.
To speak with a Wolf Pack representative about season or group tickets, or any of the Wolf Pack’s many ticketing options, call (860) 722-9425, or click here to request more info. To visit the Wolf Pack on line, go to www.hartfordwolfpack.com.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2 at Hartford Wolf Pack 3
Tuesday, December 31, 2019 - XL Center
Bridgeport 1 0 1 - 2
Hartford 3 0 0 - 3
1st Period-1, Hartford, Beleskey 8 (Di Giuseppe, Rykov), 8:58. 2, Hartford, Raddysh 4 9:49. 3, Hartford, Beleskey 9 (Rykov, Ebert), 18:28 (PP). 4, Bridgeport, Koivula 3 (R. Bourque, Helgeson), 19:43. Penalties-Geertsen Hfd (tripping), 4:14; Burroughs Bri (tripping), 6:48; Koivula Bri (hooking), 16:42.
2nd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Wotherspoon Bri (roughing), 11:46; Di Giuseppe Hfd (roughing), 11:46; St. Denis Bri (tripping), 15:57.
3rd Period-5, Bridgeport, Ladd 10 (Aho, St. Denis), 14:09. Penalties-Beleskey Hfd (interference), 1:38; O'Regan Hfd (tripping), 9:25; Ladd Bri (hooking), 9:40; LoVerde Hfd (holding), 12:06.
Shots on Goal-Bridgeport 9-3-8-20. Hartford 8-8-7-23.
Power Play Opportunities-Bridgeport 0 / 4; Hartford 1 / 4.
Goalies-Bridgeport, Coreau 5-9-1 (8 shots-5 saves); Skarek 3-5-1 (15 shots-15 saves). Hartford, Shesterkin 14-4-3 (20 shots-18 saves).
Referees-Mason Riley (79), Jim Curtin (90).
Linesmen-Kevin Briganti (39), Robert St. Lawrence (10).