PRE-GAME REPORT: WOLF PACK LOOK TO FIND POT OF GOLD IN ‘I-91 RIVALRY’Mar 17, 2023
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack continue a massive week of Atlantic Division tilts tonight when they welcome the rival Springfield Thunderbirds to the XL Center.
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 ninth of twelve meetings between the Wolf Pack and the Thunderbirds this season. The sides will meet again a week from tonight on March 24th right back at the XL Center. That will open a back-to-back set, as the rivals will faceoff on March 25th, also in Hartford. The season series wraps up on April 15th at the MassMutual Center.
The Thunderbirds have won two in a row in the season series, recently taking a 4-0 decision on March 8th. Mathias Laferriere opened the scoring 16:30 into the game, pouncing on a rebound for a powerplay goal. The goal would be enough on that night, as it stood as the game-winner. Matthew Peca tacked on insurance with a shorthanded goal 55 seconds in the middle stanza, while Matthew Highmore and Martin Frk both lit the lamp in the third period. Joel Hofer collected his second consecutive shutout against the Wolf Pack, making 31 saves.
The Wolf Pack are just 2-4-0-2 against the T-Birds this season. Springfield has won two of three meetings in Hartford, including a 2-1 shootout decision on December 31st. Hartford’s lone win at home this season was a 2-1 shootout decision on November 9th.
Wolf Pack Outlook:
The Wolf Pack snapped their four-game losing streak with a comeback victory over the Bridgeport Islanders on Wednesday night, 7-5. Trailing 4-3 after two periods, the Wolf Pack scored four unanswered goals in the third to take a lead they never lost. Ryan Carpenter tied the affair 1:39 into the third period, while Tim Gettinger put Hartford ahead at 6:15. Jonny Brodzinski blasted home the eventual game-winner at 12:59, then Tanner Fritz hit an empty net at 17:08.
Brodzinski (2 g, 1 a), Will Cuylle (1 g, 2 a), and Will Lockwood (3 a) all recorded three points in the win. Cuylle’s goal was his 20th of the season, while Lockwood’s three assists gave him his first multi-point game with the club. Ty Emberson also registered two helpers.
The victory gave the Wolf Pack 61 points on the season, moving them within a point of the Islanders for the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.
Cuylle leads the Wolf Pack in scoring with 36 points (20 g, 16 a) on the campaign. His 20 goals pace the club in that category.
The Thunderbirds rattled off their third consecutive victory on Saturday night, defeating the Laval Rocket 5-2. Frk and John Parker-Jones traded first period goals at 6:36 and 16:47, respectively, setting up a 1-1 tie heading into the final 20 minutes.
That’s when Austin Osmanski played hero, lighting the lamp for the first time this season 3:59 into the final stanza to give the T-Birds a lead they would not lose. Frk extended the lead at 4:31, potting his second of the night and the eventual game-winner, while Hugh McGing also found twine. Frk completed the hat trick at 17:04, sinking a shot into the empty net.
The Thunderbirds sit fourth in the Atlantic Division with 68 points on the season, seven points ahead of the Wolf Pack for a playoff spot.
Frk leads the Thunderbirds in scoring with 53 points (26 g, 27 a) on the season. His 26 goals are the most among Thunderbirds skaters.
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 Wolf Pack return to action tomorrow night when they visit the Bridgeport Islanders for round ten of the ‘Battle of Connecticut’. The puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. and coverage of this crucial tilt will be available on AHLTV and Mixlr. The Pack is back at the XL Center next Friday, March 24th, when the Thunderbirds return to town. Join us for $2 beers and $1 hot dogs until the end of the first intermission. 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.