WOLF PACK LOSE 8-5 TO CRUNCH AT XL CENTERApr 2, 2022
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack surrendered a season-high eight goals on Saturday night, dropping an 8-5 decision at the hands of the Syracuse Crunch at the XL Center in Hartford. The loss drops the Wolf Pack to 2-10-0-0 in their last twelve games.
Sean Day, who played 62 games with the Wolf Pack earlier in his career, extracted revenge 11:50 into the second period. Otto Somppi backhanded the puck back to the offensive blue while the Crunch cycled in the Hartford zone. Day stepped into a shot that found its way through traffic, hit the goal post, and beat Keith Kinkaid for his seventh goal of the season. The goal, which made it 6-4 at the time, stood as the eventual winner.
The Crunch opened the scoring just 1:50 into the hockey game, as Alex Barré-Boulet pounced on a rebound and tucked home his 14th goal of the season. Charles Hudon’s initial shot was stopped by Kinkaid, but the veteran goaltender couldn’t corral the rebound.
The Wolf Pack punched right back, however, and tied the game at 4:47. Zac Jones fed a pass down to Patrick Khodorenko, who handled it on his backhand before quickly transitioning to his forehand and snapping his eighth goal of the season by Amir Miftakhov.
Hartford took their first lead of the hockey game less than five minutes later, this time getting a fortunate bounce. Ty Ronning was looking to send a pass to Anthony Greco, but instead caught the skates of a Syracuse defenseman. The puck bounced off Declan Carlile and into the net for Ronning’s 16th goal of the campaign.
The Crunch took their timeout immediately following the goal and proceeded to take over the hockey game. Simon Ryfors took a centering pass from Gabriel Fortier in front of the crease and stuffed it by Kinkaid for his eighth goal of the season at 10:28 of the first period. Syracuse then needed just over three minutes to retake the lead, as Carlile avenged the bad bounce. Carlile stepped into a shot in the near faceoff circle and blasted it by Kinkaid for his first professional goal in just his second game. The goal, at 13:56, gave the Crunch a lead they would not lose.
Cole Koepke gave the Crunch some insurance with his 19th of the season just 92 seconds into the middle frame. Koepke took a backdoor pass from Barré-Boulet and fired from the far faceoff circle by Kinkaid to make it a 4-2 game.
The Wolf Pack wouldn’t go quietly, however, and got it to 4-3 at 7:36. Bobby Trivigno collected the first point of his professional career when he sent a pass from the near wall to Hunter Skinner in the slot. Skinner cleanly beat Miftakhov for his fourth goal of the season. The good feeling lasted just 30 seconds, however, as the Crunch extended the lead back to two on Ryfors’ second of the night. The Swedish forward collected a pass in the faceoff circle and snapped the puck off the post and by Kinkaid for his third tally of the weekend.
The seesaw continued as Ronning scored his second of the night at 10:51, but Day’s goal 59 seconds later proved to be the difference.
Hartford showed a sign of life 3:29 into the final stanza, as Nick Merkley took a perfect backhand pass from Trivigno and beat Miftakhov to make it 6-5. The Wolf Pack pressed, and even got a powerplay with a chance to tie the affair.
Special teams continued to plague the Wolf Pack, however, as Anthony Richard ended all the suspense with a shorthanded marker at 10:51. For good measure, Richard tacked on an empty net goal at 17:13 to cement the season series sweep for Syracuse.
The Wolf Pack open a seven-game road trip on Monday night when they visit the Providence Bruins. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. You can listen to the call on Mixlr and watch alongside on AHLTV, with pregame starting at 6:50 p.m.
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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.