WOLF PACK DROP 5-2 DECISION TO PHANTOMS IN HOMESTAND FINALEFeb 10, 2023
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack returned from the AHL All-Star break on Friday night, hosting the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at the XL Center in front of 6,769 fans. Turner Elson earned his team-leading 26th point of the campaign, but the Wolf Pack’s comeback bid would fall short in a 5-2 defeat.
Zayde Wisdom scored the eventual game-winner for the Phantoms midway through the tilt. Cooper Marody attempted a centering pass from behind the Hartford net. The puck deflected off Matthew Robertson, Louis Domingue, and then finally Elliot Desnoyers before Wisdom finally corralled it. Wisdom promptly sent a backhand shot through traffic that beat Domingue to push the Lehigh Valley lead to 3-1 at the time. The goal stood as the eventual game-winner.
The Phantoms opened the scoring late in the first period. Bobby Brink corralled the puck along the wall, skated to the right-wing circle, and sent a centering pass to Max Willman. Willman quickly switched to the backhand and snapped a shot past the blocker of Domingue to give the Phantoms the game’s first lead.
The Wolf Pack answered back about midway through the middle stanza. Austin Rueschhoff held the puck along the left-wing wall before sending a pass across the ice to Turner Elson. Elson took the feed in the right-wing circle before blasting a goal into the Lehigh Valley net to even the score at one at the 9:11 mark. The goal was Elson’s team-leading 26th point of the campaign.
The Phantoms would respond to the tune of two goals in a span of 2:29. Willman put Lehigh Valley back on top with his second goal of the game. Willman sent a shot towards the Hartford net that was originally ruled no goal. After a review, officials reversed the decision and awarded Willman the goal, reinstating the Phantoms’ lead for good.
Wisdom lit the lamp at 12:50, putting the game out of reach with his second goal of the season.
The Pack drew within one midway through the final period. With Jackson Cates in the box for hooking, Tanner Fritz sent a pass from the right-wing boards for Zac Jones. The All-Star defenseman walked in and fired a shot from beyond the right circle that beat Samuel Ersson. The goal was Jones’ 19th point of the season, leading all Wolf Pack defenders.
However, the Phantoms would tack on two insurance goals late in the third, ending the Wolf Pack’s chances for a comeback despite not registering a shot at five-on-five in the period. Desnoyers tallied the first goal, taking advantage of a holding penalty by Elson and finding twine from the top of the crease at 16:16.
Olle Lycksell capped the game by scoring on the empty Hartford net at 18:58.
The Wolf Pack return to the ice tomorrow, as they hit the road for the first time in two weeks for a meeting with the Hershey Bears. The puck drop is set for 7:00 pm.
The Pack return home next Friday, February 17th, for a matchup with the Bridgeport Islanders. Join us for $2 drafts and $1 hot dogs! The puck drop is set for 7:00 pm. To get tickets, 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.