Jan 6, 2024

HERSHEY, PA – The Hartford Wolf Pack faced off with the league-leading Hershey Bears on Saturday night at the Giant Center in the first of four matchups this season between the foes. Trailing 3-1 early in the second period, the Wolf Pack dug deep and stormed back to knock off the Bears 5-3 in the first meeting since last May’s playoff series.

Brett Berard broke a 3-3 tie just 23 seconds into the third period, firing home his tenth goal of the season to give the Wolf Pack the lead for good. Alex Belzile forced a turnover just inside of the offensive blue line, then flung the puck toward the net. The puck ended up in the right-wing circle, where Berard snapped the puck on the net, sneaking his third goal in as many games past Clay Stevenson. Belzile picked up the only assist on the goal, his second of the night and team-leading 28th point.

The Wolf Pack opened the scoring for the second game in a row, as the team’s powerplay took advantage of an early opportunity. Mac Hollowell fired a shot toward the goal from the left-wing point that clipped off the stick of Belzile. Stevenson made the initial save, but a rebound sat to his right that Jake Leschyshyn was able to locate. Leschyshyn banged the rebound home for his second goal of the season 11:30 into the contest.

The Bears responded, however, taking advantage of a puck that didn’t make it out of the zone. Aaron Ness fired the puck from the left-wing circle, with two forwards in front. The puck first hit Ivan Miroshnichenko, then deflected off the stick of Garrett Roe and into the net to even the game 1-1 at 17:58. The goal was Roe’s fourth of the season, his first in the AHL since the 2012-13 campaign.

The Bears took a quick 3-1 lead early in the second period, as they scored twice in just 39 seconds. First, Jimmy Huntington found a rebound and buried his seventh goal of the season on a powerplay 1:37 into the period.

Then, moments later, Riley Sutter sprung Henrik Rybinski in on a breakaway. Rybinski went to the backhand and lifted a shot over Louis Domingue at 2:16 to put the Bears up 3-1.

The Wolf Pack did not quit, however, and evened the affair before the intermission. Matthew Robertson scored his second goal of the season 12:33 into the middle stanza, ripping a shot over the glove of Stevenson from the left-wing circle.

The Pack tied the game at 16:57, as a hard-working shift was rewarded. Bobby Trivigno fed Connor Mackey coming down the right-wing side, and the defenseman labeled his second goal of the season over the blocker of Stevenson. Trivigno, whose hard work kept the puck in the offensive zone, picked up his seventh assist on the goal.

For the third game in a row, the Wolf Pack netted a goal early in the third period to break a tie. This time, it was Berard who snapped home his tenth goal of the season and third in as many games just 23 seconds into the frame.

Late in the game, the Wolf Pack were sent to the penalty kill when Brandon Scanlin was whistled for a cross-checking minor. With just under two minutes to go in the game, the Bears emptied the net for a six-on-four advantage. Just 15 seconds into the penalty, however, Leschyshyn hammered home the dagger from his own zone, hitting an empty net for his second goal of the game at 18:17.

The win gives the Wolf Pack their third straight victory and snaps a six-game home winning streak and nine-game overall streak for the Bears.

The Wolf Pack continue their four-game road trip tomorrow afternoon when they visit the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the third meeting this season between the sides. The puck drop is set for 3:05 p.m. and coverage is available on AHLTV & Mixlr starting at 2:50 p.m. 

Hartford’s first home game of 2024 will be on January 13th as they host the Providence Bruins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available on 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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