WOLF PACK DROP 4-3 OVERTIME HEARTBREAKER IN PROVIDENCEApr 4, 2022
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack opened a season long seven-game road trip on Monday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence in thrilling fashion. The Pack battled hard, scoring late to tie the affair, but eventually fell 4-3 in overtime to the rival Providence Bruins.
Steven Fogarty, a former Wolf Pack forward and captain, extracted revenge on his former team just 45 seconds into overtime Monday night. Wolf Pack defenseman Zac Jones blocked a shot from Oskar Steen but lost his skate blade in the process. That allowed the Bruins to regain possession, as Steen found a loose puck. Steen quickly sent it into the high slot for Fogarty, who snapped a wrister over the blocker of Adam Húska to give the Bruins the important second point in this Atlantic Division battle. It was Providence’s second overtime victory over Hartford this season.
The Bruins opened the scoring for the ninth time in ten meetings head-to-head, as Joona Koppanen scored shorthanded just 13:32 into the proceedings. Nick Wolff collected a loose puck in the neutral zone after the Wolf Pack were unable to maintain the offensive zone on their second powerplay of the night. Wolff found Chris Wagner, who elected to pass the puck off to Koppanen instead of dumping it into the Hartford zone. The move proved to be wise, as Koppanen and Wagner played catch briefly before Koppanen got in behind the defense. He went from his backhand to his forehand before beating Húska for his eleventh goal of the campaign.
The Wolf Pack used a turnover by the Bruins to even the scoring in the middle stanza. Wolff bobbled the puck at the offensive blueline, allowing Alex Whelan to collect possession for the Wolf Pack. Whelan cut in on goal and got a shot off but was denied by Troy Grosenick. The rebound sat in the crease, however, and Cristiano DiGiacinto was gifted his sixth goal of the year. DiGiacinto tapped home the loose change 2:38 into the stanza to even the score 1-1.
Hartford gained their first lead of the evening just under six minutes later. On their third powerplay of the night, the Wolf Pack finally snapped a stretch of 16 unsuccessful tries. Jones found Nick Merkley in the far faceoff circle in the Bruin end, and he released a heavy shot that Grosenick couldn’t get to at 8:05 for his 14th goal of the season.
Just 2:43 later, however, the Bruins got back to even footing. Wolff flipped a high pass up to the Hartford blueline, where Koppanen collected it in stride. The Finnish forward cut into the Wolf Pack zone before dropping the puck to Matt Filipe. Filipe beat a defenseman, then tucked a backhand shot by Húska for his seventh goal of the season.
Tied at two apiece after forty minutes, the Wolf Pack and Bruins embarked on a massive final frame. Shorthanded, the Wolf Pack nearly retook the lead. Tanner Fritz fired a shot that beat Grosenick, sliding behind him, but the Bruin netminder was able to kick the rebound into the corner to keep the score tied. Seconds later, the Bruins found paydirt. Jesper Froden fired a shot from the slot that clipped the goalpost and beat Húska for his 15th goal of the season at 11:19 on the powerplay. It was the Bruins’ tenth powerplay goal against the Wolf Pack this season.
The Wolf Pack dug deep, however, and equalized at 17:24. Lauri Pajuniemi refused to quit on a puck battle along the near boards that eventually shifted behind the Bruin net. Pajuniemi was able to gain possession and send a pass to the top of the crease, where Patrick Khodorenko was waiting. Khodorenko fired a low shot that beat Grosenick for his ninth goal of the season and second in as many games.
The goal proved important, as the Wolf Pack were able to get it to overtime and secure a point. In overtime, however, the Pack couldn’t hold off the Bruins as Fogarty needed just 45 seconds to push the Bruins back into the win column.
The Wolf Pack continue their seven-game road trip with three straight games against the Charlotte Checkers. The club will be in Charlotte on Thursday and Friday night for 7:00 p.m. puck drops, then again on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.
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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.