WOLF PACK OUTSHOOT BEARS 34-20, BUT FALL 2-1 IN WEEKEND FINALEFeb 11, 2023
HERSHEY, PA – The Hartford Wolf Pack peppered Hershey Bears netminder Hunter Shepard on Saturday night, firing 34 shots on the goaltender, and clipping the goal post three times. Will Cuylle did manage to beat Shepard in the middle stanza, but the goaltender’s terrific effort would be enough to cement a 2-1 decision for the Bears in the sixth and final meeting between the foes this season.
A loose puck at the blueline got away from the Wolf Pack on their first powerplay of the night, creating a footrace through the neutral zone between Matthew Robertson and Henrik Rybinski. Rybinski won the footrace, then entered the Wolf Pack zone on a breakaway. He snapped a shot by Dylan Garand for his third goal of the season 15:08 into the tilt, ballooning the Hershey lead to 2-0. The goal was the third shorthanded marker of the season for the Bears and proved to be the game-winner.
The Wolf Pack started the second half of their weekend back-to-back quite strong, firing the first seven shots on goal and hitting a goal post. The Bears settled things down, however, and broke the ice off a scramble out in front.
Mike Vecchione sent a pass to the front of the Wolf Pack net, where it popped to Mike Sgarbossa. Sgarbossa fired a shot into traffic the Garand never saw, giving the Bears a lead 12:13 into the game.
With Lucas Johansen in the penalty box for holding, the puck popped into the neutral zone and set up Rybinski for his breakaway goal.
Hartford finally got on the board after a strong stretch of play in the second period. Tanner Fritz fed Cuylle at the bottom of the right-wing faceoff circle, where the rookie quickly collected the puck and fired it toward Shepard. The puck snuck through the arm and torso of Shepard, giving Cuylle his team-leading 15th marker of the season. Fritz’s assist was his team-leading 22nd, and tied him with Turner Elson for the team lead in points with 26 on the season.
The Wolf Pack continued to pressure in the final stretch of the game but couldn’t solve Shepard. Late in the game off a turnover, Tim Gettinger was setup in-tight but his shot rang the iron.
In the final minute, Gabriel Carlsson was whistled for tripping, giving Hartford a six-on-four advantage. The Wolf Pack hit a third post in the final ten seconds, then had a scramble out in front that Shepard fought off, preserving the two points for the home side.
The Pack return home next Friday, February 17th, for a matchup with the Bridgeport Islanders in the latest installment of the ‘Battle of Connecticut’. Join us for $2 drafts and $1 hot dogs! The puck drop is set for 7:00 pm. 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.