Jan 21, 2023

HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack and Rochester Americans met for the first time this season at the XL Center on Saturday night. Dylan Garand had a stellar game, stopping 23 shots and leading the Wolf Pack to a 4-1 victory.

Cristiano DiGiacinto scored the deciding goal for the Wolf Pack late in the first period. DiGiacinto took a pass from Ty Emberson, skated to the right face-off circle, and snapped a wrist shot past the blocker of Michael Houser for his third goal of the season. The goal stood as the eventual game-winner and was DiGiacinto’s first career game-winning tally.

The Wolf Pack broke the ice midway through the first period. A high-sticking call against Peter Tischke gave the Wolf Pack a powerplay opportunity. Matthew Robertson took a shot, but the puck deflected off the skate of an Americans defender and fell in front of the net. A scramble for the loose puck ensued, and Turner Elson managed to gain control and bury it into the goal to give the Pack a lead they would not surrender. It was Elson’s second goal in as many nights and marked his team-leading 22nd point of the campaign.

DiGiacinto potted the eventual game-winner at 17:53, putting the game out of reach for good.

The netminders kept the middle stanza scoreless. Houser blocked nine shots, while Garand denied the Americans twelve times. Both goaltenders stopped three shots in separate 18-second sprints, with Houser’s coming from 10:29 to 10:47 and Garand’s flurry from 11:19 to 11:37, sending the game to the third period with the score remaining 2-0.

Lauri Pajuniemi added an insurance goal late in the final stanza. After Jiri Kulich was sent to the box for cross-checking, Pajuniemi took a feed from Zac Jones and blasted home a one-timer from the left circle to pad the Pack’s lead. The goal was Pajuniemi’s ninth on the campaign. It also marked the second time this season that Hartford’s powerplay struck multiple times in the same game.

Garand’s bid for a shutout would fall just short as Isak Rosen converted a powerplay goal with just 68 seconds remaining in the contest. A penalty to Gustav Rydahl forced the Wolf Pack to play six-on-four hockey. Garand denied a shot from Lawrence Pilut, but Michael Mersch pushed the rebound to Rosen who found twine to put the Americans on the board.

Zach Giuttari capped off the scoring, potting an empty netter with just 1.8 seconds remaining in the game. Giuttari fired a shot from the opposite blue line and the puck sailed untouched into the Rochester net for his first goal of the year. After one final face-off, the Wolf Pack earned a 4-1 victory.

The Wolf Pack hit the road for a matinee matchup with the Providence Bruins tomorrow, the fourth of five meetings between the teams this month. The puck drop is set for 4:05 pm. The Pack return to the XL Center on Wednesday, January 25th, hosting the Bridgeport Islanders for the latest installment of the ‘Battle of Connecticut’. The puck drop is set for 7:00 pm. To get tickets, visit www.hartfordwolfpack.com.

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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.  

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