WOLF PACK CRASH IN HIGH SCORING GAME, 6-5 PHANTOMS FINALMar 12, 2022
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack hoped to add to their two-game win streak in Atlantic Division play against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday night. The Wolf Pack built a quick 4-2 lead, but fell 6-5 to the Phantoms after Lehigh Valley reclaimed the lead late in the third period.
Three minutes after the Wolf Pack’s game tying goal, Egor Zamula found his way into the offensive zone. With a drop pass to Linus Sandin along the boards, Zamula joined the rush. Sandin made a quick pass across the Pack’s zone through the seam to a waiting Logan Day. Day reclaimed the lead for the Phantoms when he beat Keith Kinkaid at the 15:53 mark of the final period. This game-winning goal for Day was his fourth goal of the season.
In the final matchup of the regular season between the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Phantoms kicked off the scoring at the 5:01 point of the opening frame. Phantoms’ Max Willman handed the puck off to Charlie Gerard after crossing the blue line. Gerard drove a shot to the net, but Cal O’Reilly ultimately lit the lamp on a deflection. 21 seconds later, Ty Ronning tied the game for the Pack after knocking in a high shot from Justin Richards past Phantoms goaltender, Kirill Ustimenko.
The Pack grew the lead with a power play goal from Zac Jones after a faceoff win from Austin Rueschhoff. The Phantoms bounced back and scored their own power play goal three minutes later. A shot from Sandin sent Kinkaid scrambling for the puck in the Pack’s net. O’Reilly found the puck in Kinkaid’s pads and tapped it across the goal line for his second goal of the evening.
The Wolf Pack reclaimed the lead with their second power play goal of the period on a distance shot from Lauri Pajuniemi. Pajuniemi beat Ustimenko stick side for his 9th goal of the season. The Pack extended their lead on a shot from Rueschhoff. Tanner Fritz beat the Phantoms to the puck behind their own net and made a clean pass to a centered Rueschhoff, to put the Pack ahead 4-2 after the first period of play.
After an opening period that was dominated by the Wolf Pack on the scoreboard, the Phantoms fought to get themselves back in the game. Day took a shot from the right point which found Tanner Laczynski on its way in. This deflection flew past Kinkaid for the Phantoms 3rd of the night. The Phantoms tied the game for the second time on a bad turnover by the Pack. On a patience play by Hayden Hodgson, he settled the puck, picked his spot and fired it by Kinkaid for his 17th of the season.
With 1:04 remaining in the middle frame, Hodgson pushed the Phantoms into the lead with his second goal of the period. A perfect pass from Isaac Ratcliffe set Hodgson up to beat Kinkaid to the pipe as he snuck in the Phantoms 5th of the night. After the Phantoms made a goaltender change at the start of the second, the Wolf Pack were unable to tally a goal in this middle frame against Felix Sandstrom. With 40 minutes of play completed, the Phantoms lea 5-4.
The Wolf Pack broke their scoring drought at the 12:55 mark of the third period. Matt Lorito tied the game at 5 a piece on a rebound off a Pajuniemi shot. Day scored with 4:07 remaining in the third to reclaim the lead once again for the Phantoms.
With less than three minutes remaining in the game, the Wolf Pack pulled Kinkaid to get the extra attacker on. Despite a flurry of shots from the Pack, Sandstrom stood tall and shut down all Wolf Pack tying attempts. The loss snaps a two-game win streak for the Pack and Hartford is now 27-16-5-2 this season.
The Pack will continue their road trip tomorrow Sunday, March 13th, for the second game in a back-to-back weekend as they take on the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. Puck drop is set for 3:05 p.m. The Pack is back at the XL Center on Wednesday, March 23rd, when they host the Springfield Thunderbirds for a 7:00 p.m. puck drop and 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.