WOLF PACK COME UP SHORT AGAINST THUNDERBIRDS IN FIRST GAME OF HOMESTANDMar 23, 2022
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack opened a four-game homestand at the XL Center on Wednesday night against the Springfield Thunderbirds with an inspired first period. The Pack jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the strength of a determined opening twenty minutes. Unfortunately for the Pack, the division-leading T-Birds flexed their muscles in the final forty minutes, taking a 3-1 decision in the first of two meetings this week.
Sam Anas broke a 1-1 tie 2:38 into the third period thanks to a booming shot. James Neal collected a loose puck along the boards in the Wolf Pack zone, beating a defender for possession. Neal sent a backhand pass into the slot area, where Anas stepped into a one-timer that beat Keith Kinkaid blocker side. The goal, Anas’ 16th of the season, proved to be the winner in a crucial Atlantic Division battle.
For the first time since March 6th, the Wolf Pack struck first. On their second powerplay of the night, Nils Lundkvist fired a shot that Joel Hofer denied. The rebound popped in front of the Thunderbirds’ netminder, where Matt Lorito was positioned. Lorito batted the puck out of the air and by Hofer for his seventh goal of the season just 9:18 into the affair.
The Wolf Pack carried a 1-0 lead into the middle frame but couldn’t hold off the Thunderbirds attack. Matthew Peca tied the game 1-1 5:49 into the middle stanza when he pounced on a rebound. Neal fired a heavy shot that beat Kinkaid but crushed the goal post. Kinkaid searched for the rebound, but Peca was able to locate it first and stuff it home for his 20th goal of the season.
For the third time in four games, the Wolf Pack entered the third period tied with their opponent. For the second time in four games, however, the Wolf Pack couldn’t find a way to collect the two points.
Anas broke the tie with his rocket of a one-timer at 2:38 to put Springfield ahead for good. The Thunderbirds tacked on an insurance marker at 8:01, when their powerplay clicked for the ninth game in eleven meetings against the Pack. Peca’s shot from the slot was deflected by Dakota Joshua to make it a 3-1 game. Joshua’s goal was his fourth of the season.
The Pack will get their shot at revenge on Friday night, when the Thunderbirds visit for the final time this regular season. Join us for $2 beers and $1 hot dogs, along with ‘College Night’! Show your valid college ID at the box office to score a $10 ticket to the game! Offer is only valid at the box office and for one ticket per ID. The Pack will also play host to the Hershey Bears on Saturday night. Both games are scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
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 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.