WOLF PACK FALL TO AMERICANS IN ROAD TRIP OPENERJan 7, 2022
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack got Aaron Luchuk’s first goal with the club but came up short on Friday night in a 5-2 loss to the Rochester Americans at Blue Cross Arena.
Rochester went to the powerplay 15:03 into the hockey game when Zach Giuttari was whistled for interference. On their first powerplay of the night, the Americans went to work. Mason Jobst sent a pass to Linus Weissbach, who slipped open in the near side of the offensive zone. Weissbach snapped a wrist-shot that beat Wolf Pack starter Tyler Wall for his sixth goal of the season, making it a 3-1 game at the time. The tally would stand as the eventual game winner.
The Americans opened the scoring just 3:26 into the hockey game. Ryan MacInnis tallied his seventh goal of the season, capitalizing on a Wolf Pack turnover in their own end. MacInnis won a race to the puck and chipped it towards Wall. The puck fluttered in behind the netminder, putting the Wolf Pack in an early hole.
Luchuk, however, evened the contest at 1-1 just under two minutes later. Tanner Fritz fed Luchuk in the far faceoff circle, where he quickly fired off a shot that cleanly beat Aaron Dell for his fifth career AHL goal and first with the Wolf Pack. It was his first AHL goal since February 5th, 2019, when he was a member of the Belleville Senators.
Jack Quinn broke the 1-1 tie 11:46 into the hockey game to give the Amerks a lead they would not lose. Nick Boka fired a shot from the blueline that Wall was able to stop. Arttu Ruotsalainen, however, chipped the puck loose and it bounced right to Quinn. Quinn fired a backhand shot that found the back of the net for his 12th of the season.
The Amerks then extended the lead to two goals at 16:55 with Weissbach’s powerplay marker.
In the second period, Rochester’s special teams again proved to be a factor. This time, however, it was the penalty kill that found the scoresheet with a shorthanded tally at 2:15 of the period. Quinn forced a turnover in the Hartford zone and danced around a defenseman for a scoring chance on Wall. Wall was able to deny Quinn, but the puck popped out right to Ruotsalainen who buried his second goal of the season. Both tallies have come at the expense of the Wolf Pack.
The Wolf Pack did not go quietly in the third period. Ty Ronning cut the deficit to 4-2 with his eighth goal of the season 4:18 into the final period. Anthony Bitetto took the puck from behind the Hartford goal and wired a pass to Anthony Greco at the offensive blueline. Greco gained the zone with possession, then sent a pass to Ronning, who cut in on Dell and beat him for the club’s fifth shorthanded tally of the season.
It was the first time this season that the Wolf Pack both scored and allowed a shorthanded goal in the same game.
Despite a six-on-three advantage and multiple powerplay chances late in the frame, the Wolf Pack couldn’t close the gap against Dell. The veteran netminder made 13 saves in his busiest period of the night to cement his fifth win of the campaign.
MacInnis would punctuate the scoring with his second of the tilt, hitting the empty net at 19:43.
The Wolf Pack conclude their two-game road trip tomorrow night when they meet the Utica Comets for the first time this season. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Adirondack Bank Center. The Pack is back at the XL Center on Wednesday, January 12th, when they host the Charlotte Checkers. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. and tickets are still 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.