WOLF PACK COMEBACK BID COMES UP SHORT IN 4-3 DEFEATJan 2, 2022
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack scored first on Sunday afternoon and fired 39 shots on goal, but their furious comeback bid came up short in a 4-3 loss against the Rochester Americans at the XL Center in downtown Hartford.
Mason Jobst attempted a wrap-around on Hartford goalie Adam Húska but got in too tight and pushed the puck through the crease. Arttu Ruotsalainen was streaking down the far side of the ice and put home his first goal of the season at 9:40 of the third period. The goal put the Americans ahead 4-2 at the time and would stand as the winner.
The Wolf Pack opened the scoring on Lauri Pajuniemi’s seventh goal of the season. Patrick Khodorenko sent a pass into the slot that Hunter Skinner couldn’t connect with. The puck bounced to Pajuniemi, who danced through a few defenders and fired a backhand shot by Michael Houser just 5:15 into the tilt.
The Americans were able to tie the game just 6:30 later, however. Mason Jobst’s initial shot was denied by Húska, but the rebound was jammed home by Ryan Scarfo for his second goal of the season. Scarfo’s tally came at the 11:45 mark.
Hartford regained the lead 3:33 into middle frame on Mike O’Leary’s first goal of the season. Austin Rueschhoff sent a perfect pass into the slot that O’Leary tapped home. Once again, however, Rochester kept the game within reach. JJ Peterka got on the board with his sixth goal of the season at 10:28, evening the score at 2-2. Ruotsalainen fired a shot from distance that Húska denied, but Peterka pounced on the rebound and buried it into an empty net.
Just over four minutes later, at 14:42, Peterka set up the go-ahead goal for Rochester. Peterka collected a loose puck in his own zone and eventually gained the offensive zone with possession. He sent a pass to Brandon Biro, who tipped the puck over the blocker of Húska for his fourth goal of the season.
Ruotsalainen’s first of the season made it a 4-2 game 9:40 into the third, and eventually stood as the winner.
Hartford pushed hard in the final ten minutes of the game and did eventually cut the deficit to 4-3. Tarmo Reunanen got a shot through traffic that O’Leary redirected home for his second of the game and of the season at 16:56.
Hartford had multiple looks in the game’s final minutes, but just couldn’t solve Houser, dropping their third straight game on home ice.
The Wolf Pack will hit the road for two games next weekend, visiting the Rochester Americans on Friday night and the Utica Comets on Saturday night. The Pack is back at the XL Center on Wednesday, January 12th, when they host the Charlotte Checkers. Tickets are still 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.