WOLF PACK EDGE THUNDERBIRDS 3-2 IN SHOOTOUT IN PRESEASON OPENEROct 4, 2023
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack returned to hockey on Wednesday night at the Koeppel Community Sports Center on the campus of Trinity College in style. The Wolf Pack scored twice in the third period, then used a Ryder Korczak goal to knock off the Springfield Thunderbirds 3-2 in the shootout in the first of three preseason affairs.
Korczak scored the only goal of the shootout in the second round, tucking a backhander by goaltender Colten Ellis. Talyn Boyko, who played the final 29:59 of regulation and the entire five-minute overtime period, denied all three Thunderbird shooters to secure the win.
It was the Thunderbirds, however, who struck first on this night. Anthony Beauregard opened the scoring 2:56 into the tilt, finding a puck in front of the Wolf Pack net and firing a backhand shot top shelf over Olof Lindbom.
Lindbom, the Wolf Pack starter, made his best save of the game later in the period. Keean Washkurak sped into the Wolf Pack zone on a partial breakaway but was denied by the netminder.
The Wolf Pack outshot the Thunderbirds 16-10 in the opening stanza, but Thunderbirds starter Vadim Zherenko stood tall, keeping the home side off the scoreboard.
Lindbom would give way to Boyko 30:01 into the game, a scheduled decision by Head Coach Kris Knoblauch. Lindbom made 12 saves on 13 shots in his preseason debut.
Zherenko also finished his night in the second period. The second-year goaltender denied all 22 shots sent his way in 40 minutes of action, giving way to Ellis after the second intermission.
The third period saw the offensive dam break, as the sides combined for three goals.
The Wolf Pack scored their first goal of the preseason 2:13 into the third period. Ryan McCleary found twine, blasting home his first of the exhibition season from the point. McCleary, a training camp invite, lasered a shot from the blue line that snuck through the traffic and beat Ellis. Adam Sýkora, who dished the puck from the right-wing wall, was credited with the lone assist.
Just over a minute later, at 3:35, another Hartford blueliner would blast home a goal. This time, it was Seth Barton who beat Ellis. Korczak, the shootout hero, and Brett Berard were credited with the assists on Hartford’s lone powerplay goal of the night.
The Wolf Pack would again head to the powerplay with under six minutes to go but could not find a way to extend their lead. Moments later, the Wolf Pack would take a penalty of their own, giving the Thunderbirds a chance to tie with 3:09 remaining.
The T-Birds took advantage, as Tanner Dickinson labeled a shot by Boyko for his first of the preseason with under three minutes to play.
Overtime solved nothing, despite each side generating one high-danger scoring chance.
In the shootout, Korczak scored the lone goal to propel the Wolf Pack to victory.
The preseason continues tomorrow afternoon when the Wolf Pack visit the Bridgeport Islanders in the first game of a home-and-home set. The puck drop is set for 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.