Dec 30, 2023

HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack welcomed the Bridgeport Islanders to the XL Center for their final game of the calendar year on Saturday night. The Islanders jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first period, but the Wolf Pack mounted a dramatic comeback to steal the 3-2 victory in front of 7,522 fans.

It was Cristiano DiGiacinto coming up big for the Pack at the 6:57 mark of period three, deflecting a shot from the point off the stick of Connor Mackey that beat Ken Appleby to propel Hartford to a 3-2 lead. The hard work along the boards from Bobby Trivigno put Mackey in position to find DiGiacinto in front of the Islander net. The goal, DiGiacinto’s first of the season, proved to be the game-winning tally.

The Wolf Pack took an early penalty as Nikolas Brouillard closed his hand on the puck at 3:09, giving the Islanders the game’s first-man advantage. A little over a minute into the Bridgeport powerplay, Samuel Asselin got alone in front of the net and tipped a point shot from Robin Salo past Louis Domingue to put the Isles up 1-0.

The clubs battled for control of the pace in the ensuing minutes, as Domingue and Appleby each denied a slew of high-danger chances. Bridgeport extended their lead at 13:42, as Ruslan Iskhakov got a piece of Seth Helgeson’s shot from the blue line for his tenth goal of the season, making it 2-0 Islanders.

The Wolf Pack got their first crack at the powerplay early in the middle stanza as Helgeson went off for slashing. Karl Henriksson got the ball rolling for the Pack as he walked down the wall and ripped a shot above the left shoulder of Appleby, with Jake Leschyshyn providing the screen. The tally was Henriksson’s fifth of the year, making it a 2-1 game at 4:41.

Hartford applied some pressure in the ensuing minutes, pairing together some strong shifts and testing Appleby with some dangerous chances. The pressure resulted in a powerplay opportunity, as Asselin was whistled for hooking at 6:16.

The Wolf Pack capitalized on their momentum as Brett Berard stuffed home his eighth tally of the year to tie it up at 2-2 at 7:32. Berard drove to the net hard before burying his rebound past Appleby. The goal was Hartford’s second powerplay marker of the game and their fourth of the year against the Islanders.

An early penalty in the third period saw Connor Mackey head off for interference. A strong kill by Hartford led to extended time in the offensive zone, as numerous lines strung together good chances.

DiGiacinto capitalized on the momentum by deflecting home the goal that put the Wolf Pack ahead for good at 6:57. Mackey earned the primary assist with his point shot, while Trivigno was credited with the secondary helper.

A late roughing call on Alex Belzile called for some late-game heroics from the Pack’s penalty kill units, who were able to stave off the Islanders’ attack, courtesy of some big saves by Domingue. In all, Domingue made 14 saves in the third period to earn his ninth win of the season.

The Wolf Pack hit the road for their next four contests, beginning with a rematch in Bridgeport against the Islanders on January 4th. The puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m., with coverage available on both AHLTV & Mixlr.

Hartford’s first home game of 2024 will be on January 13th as they host the Providence Bruins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available on www.hartfordwolfpack.com.

# # #

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.  

Back to All