WOLF PACK WIN SIXTH STRAIGHT, CRUISE TO 6-2 VICTORY OVER ISLANDERSApr 7, 2023
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack welcomed the Bridgeport Islanders to town for a crucial finale in the ‘Battle of Connecticut’ for the 2022-23 season. Six Wolf Pack players lit the lamp as the team cruised to a 6-2 win over their in-state rivals and lowered their magic number to four.
Karl Henriksson potted the eventual game-winner for Hartford 10:41 into the opening stanza. Adam Clendening attempted a shot from the top of the Bridgeport zone, but the puck went off the stick of Chris Terry. Clendening kept control of the puck and attempted a centering pass that was also denied. Finally, Clendening found Henriksson stationed in the slot and snapped a pass. The rookie forward promptly blasted a one-timer by the glove of Jakub Skarek and into the net. The goal made the score 3-1 at the time and stood as Henriksson’s second game-winning tally on the campaign.
Clendening broke the ice just under a minute and a half into the game. Tanner Fritz held the puck along the right wall and snapped a pass to Clendening at the top of the Bridgeport zone. Clendening unleashed a one-timer that found the back of the Bridgeport net, giving the Wolf Pack a lead they would not lose. The goal was Clendening’s first as a member of the Wolf Pack.
Fritz’s assist was his first of an eventual three-point night. Additionally, the assist was Fritz’s 40th point of the season, becoming the fourth member of the Wolf Pack to reach 40 points on the campaign.
Will Lockwood stretched the lead to two just over a minute later. Turner Elson attempted a backhand shot in front of the net that was denied by Skarek. A scramble for the rebound commenced, and Lockwood finally won it, lighting the lamp with a backhand shot under the blocker of the Bridgeport netminder. The goal extended Lockwood’s point streak to four games. Lockwood has tallied three goals and three assists in that span.
The Islanders cut the lead in half just over nine minutes into the period. William Dufour skated to the top of the Hartford zone and fed a pass to Vincent Sevigny. Sevigny blasted a shot from the blue line that found its way through traffic and into the Hartford net, getting Bridgeport on the board at 9:02 of the first period.
Henriksson found the twine at 10:41, putting the game out of reach for good, but the Wolf Pack were far from done.
Ryan Carpenter became the third member of the Wolf Pack to hit the 20-goal mark, scoring on the powerplay just over two and a half minutes into the middle stanza. Jonny Brodzinski fired a howitzer from the blue line towards the Bridgeport net. Carpenter deflected the blast past Skarek, pushing the Wolf Pack lead to three. The score was Carpenter’s 11th goal and Brodzinski’s 15th point against the Islanders on the season.
Anton Blidh gave Hartford their biggest lead of the night 8:37 into the final stanza. Lauri Pajuniemi found Blidh powering into the Bridgeport zone and snapped a cross-ice pass. Blidh corralled it and flipped a beautiful backhand shot over Skarek to stretch the lead to four. The goal was Blidh’s seventh since joining the Wolf Pack, and his 13th on the season overall.
Blidh’s goal also stretched his point streak to four games. Blidh has totaled three goals and two assists in that span. In 14 games with Hartford, Blidh has recorded ten points (7 g, 3 a).
Kyle MacLean cut the Wolf Pack lead back to three, converting a two-on-one rush for his tenth goal of the season at 9:58 of the third period. The Wolf Pack would soon reinstate the four-goal lead, this time for good, as Will Cuylle scored his team-leading 25th goal of the year about a minute and a half later. Cuylle’s marker was assisted by Brodzinski, who recorded his 16th point against Bridgeport on the campaign, and Jake Leschyshyn, who extended his point streak to five games.
Cuylle’s goal capped off the scoring, and the Wolf Pack earned a 6-2 victory to cut their magic number in half to four.
The Wolf Pack hit the road for a matchup with the Providence Bruins tomorrow, April 8th. The puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. The Wolf Pack return to the XL Center for the final regular season home game on Friday, April 14th, hosting the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Join us for Fan Appreciation Night featuring special guest Johnny Damon! The puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. To get tickets, visit 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.