WOLF PACK BATTLE TO THE END, BUT FALL SHORT IN ROCHESTERApr 16, 2022
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack battled hard on Saturday night in Rochester but came up just short in the finale of their seven-game road trip. The Wolf Pack surrendered two powerplay goals in an eventual 2-1 loss to the Americans, dropping their record to 1-5-1-0 on the trip.
Mark Jankowski extended the Rochester lead to 2-0 at 19:37 of the middle frame, firing home his tenth of the season on the powerplay. Brandon Biro took a pass from Ethan Prow along the far boards while setting up the second Rochester powerplay of the evening. Biro then fired a centering pass to Jankowski, who blasted a one-timer by Adam Húska for the insurance goal. Jankowski’s marker would stand as the winning goal on this night.
For the sixth time in seven games on the road trip, the Wolf Pack surrendered the first goal. This time, it was the Americans’ powerplay that would do the honors. JJ Peterka, Rochester’s dynamic rookie, fed veteran forward Michael Mersch down low in the Hartford zone on the club’s first powerplay of the night. From the side of the net, Mersch spun and fired a shot that Húska struggled to collect. With the puck still loose, Mersch dove in and jammed it home for his 25th goal of the year at 6:31.
The Wolf Pack would get three powerplays of their own in the first period, including nearly a minute of five-on-three time, but failed to find the back of the net.
In the second period, the tide began to turn more in the Amerks’ favor. Rochester outshot Hartford 14-8 in the period, then ballooned their lead to 2-0 at 19:37 on Jankowski’s powerplay marker. The Americans finished the night two-for-two on the powerplay.
The Wolf Pack did not quit, however, and made things quite interesting in the final twenty minutes.
Nick Merkley got the Pack on the board on the club’s fourth powerplay of the night. With Mark Alt off for boarding, the Pack gained the Rochester just about a minute into the advantage. With the puck deep in the offensive zone, Patrick Khodorenko was able to collect possession and fired a quick centering feed to Merkley. Merkley made no mistake on his 16th goal of the season at 12:59, continuing a career year.
The Wolf Pack nearly tied the game moments later. During a frantic sequence in the offensive zone, the puck hit the goal post and nearly trickled in. Goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was up to the task, however, and covered the puck up to keep it a one goal game.
Although Hartford was able to pull Húska in the final minute, they were unable to find the equalizer.
The Wolf Pack, with the defeat, will remain in seventh place in the Atlantic Division. The Americans, meanwhile, take the season series with a 3-1-0-0 record.
The Pack is back at the XL Center on Friday night, April 22nd, when they host the Charlotte Checkers. Join us for Pride Night! We’ll also have $2 beers and $1 hot dogs compliments of our friends at Nomads Entertainment. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.
The season concludes on Sunday, April 24th, when the Wolf Pack host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on ‘Fan Appreciation Day’. Puck drop is set for 3:00 p.m.
Tickets for both 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.