Oct 28, 2023

WILKES-BARRE, PA – The Hartford Wolf Pack pushed hard in the final stretch on Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton against the Penguins, but a 4-0 deficit proved to be too big of a hole to dig out of. The Penguins used their four first period goals to take a 4-2 decision, handing the Wolf Pack their second consecutive loss.

Jack St. Ivany fired a shot from the point that Wolf Pack goaltender Dylan Garand was able to deny just over the midway mark of the first period. Jonathan Gruden was stationed at the side of the net, however, and was able to find the rebound. Garand made a second save, but the third time proved to be the charm as Gruden potted his second goal of the season 11:11 into the contest.

The goal extended the Penguins’ lead to 3-0 and proved to be the game-winning tally.

The Penguins jumped out to an early lead, scoring just 3:24 into the game. Valtteri Puustinen raced down the right-wing side and ripped a shot by Garand for his first goal of the season. Ty Smith picked up the primary assist, the first of two points on the night for the defenseman.

8:47 into the game, the Wolf Pack got their first powerplay of the night as Marc Johnstone was whistled for slashing. Despite being outshot 7-2 at the time, the penalty represented an opportunity for the Wolf Pack to get on even footing.

Unfortunately, it did not play out that way for the visitors. Joona Koppanen instead rushed into the offensive zone and darted towards the goal. He went backhand-to-forehand and lifted a shot over the right pad of Garand for his first goal of the season at 9:04.

It was the second shorthanded goal allowed by the Wolf Pack this season.

Gruden’s rebound goal at 11:11 extended the lead to 3-0, while Rem Pitlick made it 4-0 at 13:41 when he fired a shot home from the left-wing circle on the powerplay.

The Wolf Pack found their footing in the middle stanza, eventually getting on the board late. Turner Elson took a pass from Jonny Brodzinski and cut to the front of the Penguin goal, tucking a forehand shot by Joel Blomqvist at 16:45. The goal was Elson’s first of the season, while the assist extended Brodzinski’s point streak to six games.

Brodzinski wasn’t done there, as he also found the back of the net early in the third period. Corey Andonovski took a cross-checking penalty at 18:41 of the second period, allowing the Wolf Pack to start the final frame on the man advantage.

Just 39 seconds in, Brodzinski wired a shot from the left-wing circle off the bar and in for his fifth goal of the season. Alex Belzile and Mac Hollowell picked up the assists, extending their point streaks. Belzile now has a point in five straight games, while Hollowell has a point in six straight.

Despite a strong push late, the Wolf Pack just could not find that next goal as Blomqvist made 15 saves in the final twenty minutes.

The Wolf Pack’s season-long five-game road trip continues tomorrow when they visit the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The puck drop is set for 5:05 p.m., with ‘Wolf Pack Pregame’ starting live at 4:50 p.m. on AHLTV and Mixlr.

# # #

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.  

Back to All