PRE-GAME REPORT: WOLF PACK EYE REVENGE AS CRUNCH COME TO TOWNNov 18, 2023
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack returns to the XL Center this evening to wrap up a home-and-home set with the Syracuse Crunch. Tonight is ‘Military Appreciation Night’ and also the first postgame skate with Wolf Pack players of the season!
The puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. and coverage is available on both AHLTV and Mixlr.
Tale of The Tape:
This is the second and final meeting between the Wolf Pack and Crunch during the 2023-24 season. It wraps up a home-and-home set for the foes. Last night, they opened the set with a meeting at the Upstate Medical University Arena in Syracuse.
A back-and-forth affair went in the favor of the Crunch by a final score of 5-3 thanks to three goals in the third period.
Maxim Groshev opened the scoring 9:32 into the contest, ripping a shot over the right shoulder of Dylan Garand for his eighth goal of the season. Hartford answered just two seconds into their first powerplay of the night, as Riley Nash won a faceoff back to Matthew Robertson. Robertson slid a pass to Jonny Brodzinski in the left-wing circle, where the captain blasted a one-timer home for his ninth goal of the season at 13:05.
2:32 later, at the 17:37 mark, Anton Blidh put Hartford ahead when a Blake Hillman shot rocketed off the pads of Brandon Halverson, off of Blidh, and into the net. The goal was Blidh’s third of the season.
The Crunch evened the contest 10:25 into the middle frame, as Daniel Walcott tipped home a point shot from Phillipe Myers to send the game into the final period deadlocked 2-2.
Just 3:21 in, Walcott broke the tie with his second of the game, converting a two-on-one with Gabriel Dumont. Hartford would respond at 6:52, scoring their second powerplay goal of the night. Brodzinski fired another one-timer from the left-wing circle, this time set up by Brennan Othmann.
Unfortunately for the Pack, the Crunch would wrestle the lead back for good at 13:23. Dumont scored his fourth goal of the season after a loose puck found his stick. He curled into the left-wing circle and beat Garand for the game-winning tally. Dumont added an insurance goal at 18:34 to complete a four-point night.
Wolf Pack Outlook:
The Wolf Pack’s 5-3 loss to the Crunch last night snapped a five-game point streak (3-0-2-0) on the road for the club.
Brodzinski became the third Wolf Pack player to score two powerplay goals in a game this season, joining Othmann (10/13/23 @ PRO) and Nash (10/29/23 @ LHV). He leads the Pack in powerplay goals with five and is second in the AHL in that category.
The Wolf Pack’s 22 shots on goal last night were a season-low. Their previous low was 23 in a 3-2 victory at Utica on November 4th.
Including tonight, the Wolf Pack will play six of their next seven games at home. Their lone road contest in that span comes on November 24th in Springfield.
Brodzinski leads the club in both goals with ten and points with 16 (10 g, 6 a). His ten goals are tied for second most in the league, and his 16 points are tied for sixth. Mac Hollowell and Alex Belzile are tied for the team lead in assists with nine each.
On Friday, the parent New York Rangers (NHL) recalled defenseman Connor Mackey from Hartford.
The Crunch won their third consecutive game on Friday night. They have also defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 6-3 on November 11th and the Bridgeport Islanders 5-4 on November 14th during this winning streak.
The Crunch are 6-1-0-0 in their last seven games against the Wolf Pack. Their lone loss in that span was a 4-1 home defeat on February 25th, 2023.
Groshev is second in the AHL in goals amongst rookies with eight this season. He only trails Logan Stankoven of the Texas Stars, who has nine goals.
Dumont led the way with four points (2 g, 2 a) for the Crunch last night. It was his first four-point outing since February 26th, 2022, against the Utica Comets (1 g, 3 a). Walcott collected two goals and three points (2 g, 1 a) in the win. It was his first two-goal performance since April 14th, 2023, at Laval. It was his first three-point showing since October 22nd, 2022, against the Rochester Americans.
Groshev (8 g, 5 a) and Felix Robert (6 g, 7 a) are tied for the team lead in points with 13. Groshev’s eight goals lead in that department, while Gage Goncalves’ nine assists pace the club.
Play-by-play voice of the Wolf Pack Alex Thomas will have ‘Wolf Pack Pregame’ starting live at 6:45 p.m. on both AHLTV and Mixlr.
The Pack is back at the XL Center on Thanksgiving Eve as they welcome the Providence Bruins to town for the second time this season. The puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m., and tickets 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 is the top player-development affiliate of the NHL's New York Rangers and plays 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.