WOLF PACK KNOCK OFF SENATORS THANKS TO STRONG THIRD PERIODMar 19, 2022
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack snapped their four-game losing streak on Saturday night thanks to a strong third period performance against the Senators in Belleville. Hartford scored the only three goals of the final frame, turning a 2-2 tie after forty minutes into a 5-2 victory in the final game of a five-game road trip.
Anthony Bitetto collected a loose puck at the blueline in the offensive zone, then fired a shot that whistled wide of the Belleville goal. The puck bounced off the wall behind the Senator net and popped in front to Patrick Khodorenko, whose shot hit the side of the net. The puck eventually found it’s way into the slot, where Mike O’Leary collected it and fired it by a sprawling Logan Flodell to break a 2-2 tie 3:08 into the third period. The goal would stand as the eventual winner.
For the fifth time in as many games on this road trip, the Wolf Pack surrendered the first goal of the hockey game. Cole Reinhardt won a puck battle along the near wall in the Hartford zone, coming away from a mass of four bodies before snapping a pass cross-ice for Jonathan Aspirot. Aspirot quickly settled the puck and fired from the far faceoff circle, cleaning beating Keith Kinkaid 10:45 into the game to break the ice for the Senators.
For the second time in as many nights, the Wolf Pack were able to get the game’s second goal, tying the affair at one just under nine minutes later. In the final minute of the opening frame, O’Leary shielded the puck nicely behind the Senators goal before finding Austin Rueschhoff with a backhand pass. Rueschhoff quickly realized he had no shooting lane, and instead dropped the puck back into the high slot for an oncoming Matt Lorito. Lorito stepped into a one-time shot and blasted it by Flodell for his sixth goal of the season at 19:36.
The Senators wrestled the lead back 3:10 into the middle frame. After setting up the game’s first goal, Reinhardt lit the lamp himself this time. After some early pressure from the Wolf Pack, the Senators gained the offensive zone with possession. Scott Sabourin protected the puck along the near wall, then flipped a pass for Reinhardt. Coming down the middle of the ice with speed, Reinhardt went to the backhand and beat Kinkaid in close for his eleventh goal of the campaign.
Once again, however, the Wolf Pack were up to the task and able to respond. Ty Ronning sent a blind backhand pass into the slot, which Tanner Fritz was able to get to first. Fritz snapped a shot through traffic towards goal that fooled Flodell for his eleventh tally of the season.
For the second time in three games, the Wolf Pack entered the third period deadlocked with an opponent. Unlike on Wednesday night in Syracuse, the Wolf Pack were able to win the final 20 minutes and collect two huge points.
First, O’Leary buried his sixth goal of the season at 3:08 to break the tie. Then, Khodorenko provided the insurance with his sixth goal of the season. Khodorenko and Fritz gained the offensive zone shorthanded on a two-on-one, with Khodorenko differing to Fritz. Fritz sent a return feed to Khodorenko, who made no mistake snapping a shot over the glove of Flodell. The goal was Hartford’s seventh shorthanded tally of the season.
Anthony Greco tacked on an empty-net goal at 19:06 of the third period to put the game away, giving him points in ten of Hartford’s last eleven games.
The Pack is back at the XL Center on Wednesday, March 23rd, when they take on the Springfield Thunderbirds. The game kicks off a four-game homestand and opens a stretch of two games in three nights against the T-Birds. Tickets for all remaining Wolf Pack home games are 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.