HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack loaded up the bus and trekked out of New England for the first time in 18 months as they paid a visit to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night. Despite outshooting the Penguins by a 31-27 margin, the Pack dropped a tough 2-1 decision in overtime.
Defenseman Cam Lee weaved his way into scoring position during the three-on-three overtime, sending a backhander onto the Wolf Pack goal. The initial shot was kicked away, but the rebound came right to Kasper Bjorkqvist. Bjorkqvist quickly fired the puck into the empty net, propelling the Penguins to their second victory of the season.
The Penguins opened the scoring on this night, as Filip Hallander buried his first career AHL goal just 6:53 into the contest. Nathan Legare fired a shot on the rush that Wolf Pack goaltender Keith Kinkaid cleanly denied, but the rebound popped right into the slot and onto the stick of Hallander. With Kinkaid committed to the initial save, Hallander had a wide-open net to break the ice.
Just 50 seconds later, the Wolf Pack found themselves on the penalty kill after Austin Rueschhoff took a tripping penalty at the 7:43 mark. For the second game in a row, however, the Hartford penalty kill stole the momentum. A strong, uneventful, kill settled things down, and Hartford began to tilt the ice in the second half of the period.
Finally, with just under half a minute to play in the period, the Wolf Pack were rewarded. P.C. Labrie settled a puck down in front of the goal, then spun a pass onto the stick of an open Anthony Greco. Greco quickly released a shot that Filip Lindberg couldn’t get to, evening the affair 1-1 with his first goal of the season at the 19:37 mark.
The second period saw no scoring, as the game tightened up. The Wolf Pack went to the powerplay twice in the middle frame, while the Penguins had the skater advantage on three occasions. Both penalty kills shined, however, and the Pack held a 7-4 advantage in shots in the stanza.
Nathan Legare had a glorious chance to break the tie just over the midway point of the third period. After a Wolf Pack turnover in the offensive zone, Legare was sprung free on a breakaway and cleanly beat Kinkaid but rang the iron on the best chance of the period.
For the second straight game, 60 minutes was not enough for a verdict. The sides went to overtime, where the Wolf Pack had a few good chances early to claim the extra point. The Penguins capitalized on their second good look of overtime, as Bjorkqvist buried the rebound for his first of the season 2:40 into the overtime to give the home team a 2-1 victory. With the loss, Hartford falls to 2-1-1-0 on the season.
The Wolf Pack are back in action tomorrow night as they wrap up their weekend back-to-back in Lehigh Valley against the Phantoms. Puck drop is set for 7:05 pm. The Pack return home next Friday, October 29th, when they host the Penguins in a rematch at 7:00 pm. For tickets, please visit 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.