WOLF PACK RECORD BEST START SINCE 2019-20, SHUTOUT PENGUINS 5-0 IN HOME OPENEROct 20, 2023
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack welcomed the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to town for their home opener at the XL Center in the first of six clashes this season. It took a period and a half for either team to find the back of the net, but it was Brett Berard’s first pro goal that kickstarted the offensive onslaught in a 5-0 win for Hartford.
The Wolf Pack controlled the pace for a long stretch in the first period with two powerplay opportunities, both of which were killed off by the Pens. Penguins’ goaltender Magnus Hellberg stood tall as the Wolf Pack piled on the chances, including a big save in tight on Jonny Brodzinski following a stretch pass from Mac Hollowell.
Tensions were rising throughout period one, finally coming to a head in the final minutes as two fights broke out in short order. Connor Mackey and Corey Andonovski dropped the gloves first, then Brennan Othmann and Taylor Fedun danced in the final minute of the period.
A strong penalty-kill to open the second period for the Pack led to a handful of chances in close by Brodzinski and Adam Edström, but Hellberg continued to keep the Wolf Pack off the board. Ben Harpur went off for slashing shortly after the instigator penalty to Othmann expired, but the Wolf Pack were again able to secure a penalty kill, their second of four on the night.
The stalemate broke at the 10:48 mark of the second period, as Brett Berard scored the first goal of his professional career, connecting on a feed from Adam Sýkora behind the net. Berard’s shot popped up in the air after colliding with another stick and snuck over the left shoulder of Hellberg. Hollowell recorded the secondary assist, his third in as many games.
With 1:29 to go in the middle stanza, Brodzinski added another tally, snapping a shot over the left shoulder of Hellberg from the right-wing circle. Sýkora recorded his second assist of the game, while Riley Nash recorded his first point of the season with a secondary assist. In a period that saw a lot more offense than the first, Domingue would stand tall, denying all 13 shots faced in the frame.
The Wolf Pack widened their lead at the 13:39 mark of the third period as Nash recorded his first goal of the season, burying a cross-ice feed from Alex Belzile that snuck under the left pad of Hellberg. Berard picked up his first professional assist on the tally, and second point of the night.
Two empty netters in the final minutes courtesy of Connor Mackey and Edström would seal the deal for the Wolf Pack.
Domingue recorded 35 saves in a strong shutout performance, his fifth with the Wolf Pack. It was also the eleventh straight regular season start for Domingue that ended in a victory.
The Wolf Pack return to action tomorrow night against the visiting Lehigh Valley Phantoms, a team fresh off of a convincing 5-2 win at Springfield. Tickets 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.