WOLF PACK EDGE ISLANDERS IN FINAL ‘BATTLE OF CONNECTICUT’ OF 2021-22 SEASONApr 23, 2022
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack closed out the road portion of their 2021-22 regular season on a winning note Saturday night, hanging on for a 3-2 decision in the tenth and final edition of the ‘Battle of Connecticut’ against the rival Bridgeport Islanders.
Zach Giuttari collected the puck at the blue line following a strong push by the Wolf Pack in the offensive zone. Giuttari fired a shot from the point that clipped the stick of Anthony Greco and deflected onto Islanders starter Jakub Skarek. Skarek made the initial save, but Ty Ronning was on the doorstop and found the rebound, burying it for his 18th goal of the season 13:05 into the final frame. The goal, which made it 3-1 at the time, would stand as the game winner.
The Islanders opened the scoring on this night, as the club’s top line connected on a pretty passing play 15:15 into the game. After a good look by the Wolf Pack at one end of the ice, Simon Holmstrom barreled ahead and gained the zone with possession before dropping a pass to the right wing side for Chris Terry. Terry quickly snapped a pass across the ice for Andy Andreoff, who had plenty of room to walk into the left circle and snap a shot home for his 18th goal of the season.
The Wolf Pack didn’t need much time to respond, equalizing less than three minutes later. Nick Merkley worked his way down the wall in the offensive zone, eventually finding himself in the far corner. Merkley fired a backhand pass into the slot for Matt Lorito, who made no mistake as he buried a one-timer for his eighth goal of the season at 18:09.
The Wolf Pack would quickly strike in the second period, taking their first lead of the evening. Lorito tapped the puck into the Islander zone, where Terry tried to kick it to his forehand. The veteran forward bobbled the puck, however, and Alex Whelan was able to pick his pocket. Whelan worked his way between the faceoff circles and labeled a wrist-shot over the glove of Skarek for his sixth goal of the season just 30 seconds into the frame.
The Islanders would get two powerplays in the middle frame, but Adam Húska stood tall. Húska made 13 saves in the period, keeping Hartford ahead and sending them to the final twenty up by a goal. When in that spot this season, the Wolf Pack were 18-0-3-0 entering tonight.
In the final period, the Wolf Pack would find the insurance marker with Ronning’s 18th goal at 13:05. The goal continues a career season for the forward, who has set new highs in both goals and points.
The insurance marker proved to be important, as the Islanders got their fourth powerplay of the game when Matthew Robertson was whistled for cross-checking at 15:23. Austin Czarnik took a feed from Terry and blasted home his 14th of the season and second on the powerplay in as many nights at 17:15 to make it a one-goal game.
The Islanders threated in the final two minutes, but Húska stood tall and preserved Hartford’s first regulation victory since March 19th. The win also gives Hartford a 7-2-0-1 edge in the ‘Battle of Connecticut’ for the 2021-22 season.
The season concludes on Sunday, April 24th, when the Wolf Pack host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on ‘Fan Appreciation Day’. Join us for numerous giveaways, while one lucky fan will receive the chance to shoot for $100,000! Puck drop is set for 3:00 p.m.
Tickets are 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.