ADAM SÝKORA NETS FIRST AHL GOAL AS WOLF PACK SOUNDLY DEFEAT THUNDERBIRDS 5-1Nov 15, 2023
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack welcomed the Springfield Thunderbirds to the XL Center for this season’s ‘School Day Game’, their third of ten meetings during the 2023-24 campaign. Five Wolf Pack players found the back of the net, including Adam Sýkora who buried his first AHL goal as the Wolf Pack comfortably knocked off the Thunderbirds 5-1.
Alex Belzile found the back of the net for his 4th goal of the season 10:59 into the contest. Jonny Brodzinski drew in a defender behind the net before executing a pinpoint spinning pass to Belzile who one-timed it over the shoulder of Vadim Zherenko to make it a 2-0 game. The goal would stand as the game-winner.
Hartford was shot out of a cannon in the opening minutes, forcing Zherenko to make some tough saves out of the gate. Brett Berard’s hard work drew a tripping penalty to give the Wolf Pack an early powerplay.
The Wolf Pack made quick work on the man advantage as Brodzinski scored his team-leading 8th goal of the season at 5:05 to put Hartford up 1-0. Zherenko made the initial save on a point shot from Matthew Robertson, but Belzile sent the rebound to a lurking Brodzinski on the far post who made no mistake about it.
Just over five minutes later, Belzile would strike for the third time in as many games against the Thunderbirds to extend the lead.
To cap off a stellar first period, Sýkora buried his first career AHL goal at 18:53 to put Hartford up 3-0. Turner Elson pulled in two Thunderbirds before hitting a streaking Sýkora who beat Zherenko up high. Riley Nash was credited with the secondary assist as he sprung Elson on the rush.
The second period began in a similar fashion to the prior frame, with the Wolf Pack stringing together high-octane shifts in the offensive zone keeping Zherenko on his toes. Springfield’s first grade-A chance came from Wyatt Kalynuk who was robbed by the glove of Louis Domingue at point-blank range.
Nikolas Brouillard scored his 2nd of the season at 12:58 to make it 4-0 Wolf Pack. Brouillard snuck into a wild scrum in front of the net to bury a rebound. Matt Rempe recorded his first assist of the season, while Elson recorded his second assist of the game.
Two and a half minutes later, Springfield got on the board courtesy of Mathias Lafferiere’s first goal of the season, making it 4-1 at 15:20. Laferriere fired a shot through traffic from the right-wing circle that hit a body on the way to get by Domingue.
Springfield would have another golden opportunity minutes later as Laferriere was sprung on a breakaway, but this time Domingue came up with the save. Robertson was penalized for high-sticking in the final minute, giving Springfield some powerplay time to start period three.
It was a stalemate in the opening minutes of the third before Adam Edström netted his fourth goal of the season to make it 5-1 at 5:54. Connor Mackey’s initial point shot was blocked, but his second try was tipped by a screening Edström. Mackey and Brouillard had the assists, giving both two points in the contest.
The physicality ramped up as the period progressed, but the score remained the same. The Wolf Pack got back to their winning ways on home ice with a 5-1 victory over the Thunderbirds. Domingue recorded 23 saves in another confident outing.
The Wolf Pack take on the Syracuse Crunch in a home-and-home series this weekend, with the latter of the games coming this Saturday night at the XL Center! Tickets are available at www.hartfordwolfpack.com, and the puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.
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ABOUT THE HARTFORD WOLF PACK: The Hartford Wolf Pack has been a premier franchise in the American Hockey League since the team’s inception in 1997. The Wolf Pack are the top player-development affiliate of the NHL's New York Rangers and play at the XL Center. The Wolf Pack has been home to some of the Rangers newest faces including Igor Shesterkin, Filip Chytil, and Ryan Lindgren. Follow the Wolf Pack on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.