HARTFORD, CT – Despite a late five-on-three powerplay opportunity and plenty of chances, the Wolf Pack were unable to complete the comeback on Saturday night and dropped a tightly contested 2-1 decision to the Springfield Thunderbirds.
Veteran Matthew Peca snapped home his first goal as a member of the Thunderbirds 6:08 into the third period to break a 1-1 tie, propelling Springfield to an Opening Night victory and their first win as the primary affiliate of the St. Louis Blues.
Springfield got the party started with a strong first period, outshooting the Wolf Pack by a 13-7 margin and scoring the game’s first goal. Rookie defenseman Scott Perunovich, in his first career AHL game, took a pass from Logan Brown and maneuvered his way into perfect scoring position near the top of the slot. His shot was deflected on the way toward goal by Nikita Alexandrov, beating Wolf Pack starter Adam Huska. The powerplay goal was Alexandrov’s first with the Thunderbirds.
The second period was played at an even pace, as Springfield held a slight 9-8 advantage in shots. The Pack, however, fired the shot that mattered most as they evened the game 1-1 just 76 seconds into the frame. Jonny Brodzinski found Morgan Barron parked in the slot and fed a perfect pass to him, setting Barron up for a glorious scoring chance. The second year forward snapped home a quick shot for his second goal in as many nights, giving the Pack their first powerplay tally of the season.
Hartford ran into penalty trouble in the final period, however, and it cost them in a big way. Nathan Todd fed a streaking Peca on Springfield’s sixth skater advantage of the contest. Peca then fired a perfect shot that rocketed by Huska to give Springfield the 2-1 lead.
The Wolf Pack had some strong looks to tie the game late but couldn’t find a way to beat Joel Hofer. The Pack had a five-on-three powerplay midway through the frame but were denied by the Springfield netminder. Hartford also had a late five-on-four and six-on-four but failed to convert on both advantage situations.
The Pack conclude their three-in-three stretch tomorrow afternoon when they play host to the Providence Bruins at the XL Center. Puck drop is set for 3:00 pm, with the broadcast airing live and for free on AHLTV.
For tickets, please visit 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.