KEITH KINKAID SHINES AS WOLF PACK SCORE THREE IN THIRD PERIOD TO KNOCK OFF THUNDERBIRDSFeb 25, 2022
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack got a spectacular performance from veteran goaltender Keith Kinkaid on Friday night in Springfield. Kinkaid made 44 saves on the night, including four off breakaways, to frustrate the first-place Springfield Thunderbirds and allow the Wolf Pack time to find their game. His teammates rewarded him with a three-goal third period, giving the Pack a critical 3-1 victory over the Thunderbirds.
The Wolf Pack secured their 15th comeback victory of the season thanks to a pair of Justin Richards tallies in the final period. Anthony Greco stepped into a shot high in the offensive zone that Ty Ronning perfectly redirected from the slot. The puck clipped Richards, who was providing a screen in front of Charlie Lindgren, and found the back of the net at 12:16. The goal, which put Hartford ahead 2-1, proved to be the winner.
The Thunderbirds opened the scoring 15:52 into the second period, a frame they largely dominated. Nathan Walker and Will Bitten came in on a two-on-one, with only Hunter Skinner back for the Wolf Pack. Walker’s pass got across to Bitten, who was unable to get his stick on it. The puck bounced off Bitten’s leg, however, and beat Kinkaid for his ninth goal of the season.
That would be all the scoring in the game for the Thunderbirds, who held a 17-7 advantage in shots. Kinkaid was spectacular in the period, making 17 saves, with three off breakaways, to keep it a 1-0 game after forty minutes.
Matthew Peca got his second breakaway opportunity of the game early in the third period but was denied by the glove of Kinkaid. Finally, the Wolf Pack were able to give their goaltender some run support following his fourth breakaway stop of the evening.
Justin Richards scored his fourth goal of the season 8:33 into the third period, tying the game 1-1. Greco fired a shot that Lindgren denied, but the rebound popped into the slot. Richards found it and fired home Hartford’s first goal in over 120:00 of play. Richards’ second tally of the night would give Hartford their first lead just under four minutes later at 12:16.
The Thunderbirds pressed hard in the final minute but could not solve Kinkaid. Jonny Brodzinski would cement the victory with his team-leading 18th goal of the season, depositing an empty-net tally at 19:47.
The win snapped a six-game home winning streak for the Thunderbirds and was Hartford’s second win in Western Massachusetts this season.
The Pack is back at the XL Center tomorrow night when they host the Providence Bruins in another key Atlantic Division matchup. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. on ‘Hartford Hockey Heritage Night’. The Pack conclude the weekend on Sunday with a trip to Providence, with puck drop set for 3:05 p.m.
Tickets for tomorrow night’s game, and all remaining Wolf Pack home games, are available at 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.