Apr 5, 2023

HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack continued their chase to return to the Calder Cup Playoffs on Wednesday night, welcoming the Toronto Marlies to the XL Center for the only time this season. The Pack picked up two huge points, scoring a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory over the Marlies to lower their magic number to eight.

Jake Leschyshyn scored the game-winner for the Wolf Pack 1:42 into the extra frame. Libor Hájek collected the puck behind the Toronto net and sent a centering pass to Leschyshyn. Leschyshyn snapped a shot, but Keith Petruzzelli denied his attempt. Petruzzelli couldn’t hang onto the rebound, however, and Leschyshyn jammed it home to secure the extra point for the Wolf Pack. The goal was Leschyshyn’s second game-winning tally on the campaign, and his 14th  point in 16 games with Hartford.

Petruzzelli and Louis Domingue kept things quiet throughout most of the contest. The netminders allowed no goals for almost 59 minutes of play. The Wolf Pack had a pair of powerplay opportunities in the first period, but the Toronto penalty kill prevented the Pack from breaking the ice. Hartford’s defense was equally good in the opening stanza, allowing just five shots on goal.

The goaltenders continued their strong play in the middle frame. It was the Marlies who earned a pair of powerplay opportunities in this period, but the Wolf Pack penalty kill was equally up to the task, preventing the Marlies from getting on the board. Hartford also had a powerplay opportunity in the middle stanza after Jordie Benn was called for tripping at 8:02, but again they could not find the icebreaker, and the game remained scoreless heading into the third period.

Anton Blidh finally broke the ice at 18:48 of the third period. Ty Emberson fired the puck into a scrum in front of the Toronto net. Leschyshyn corralled it and attempted to jam it home, but Petruzzelli turned it aside. Blidh found the rebound at the top of the crease and buried it into the net to give the Wolf Pack the game’s first lead. The goal was Blidh’s sixth since joining the Wolf Pack, and his 12th on the season overall.

The Marlies would answer back a minute later. Petruzzelli was lifted in favor of the extra skater, putting Toronto up six-on-five. Topi Niemelä fired a shot from just beyond the right circle into traffic in front of the Hartford net. The puck snuck past the glove of Domingue and into the goal, tying the contest with just 12.2 seconds remaining in regulation. The goal was Niemelä’s first in the AHL and sent the game to overtime.

Leschyshyn lit the lamp 1:42 into the overtime period to give the Wolf Pack a much-needed extra point and their fifth straight victory.

The Wolf Pack return to the ice on Friday, April 7th, hosting the Bridgeport Islanders in the final ‘Battle of Connecticut’ this season. Join us for Wolf Pack Alumni Night and an Igor Shesterkin bobblehead giveaway! 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.  

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