WOLF PACK SCORE FOUR UNANSWERED GOALS IN 2000TH GAME TO POWER PAST ISLANDERS 4-1Feb 9, 2024
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack hosted the Bridgeport Islanders in the 2,000th game in franchise history in front of a crowd of 7,257 on Friday night at the XL Center. After conceding an early goal, the Pack rattled off the next four goals to defeat their in-state rivals 4-1 in what was a historic night for the franchise.
Brennan Othmann recorded the game-winner late in the second period at 18:35 to propel the Pack to a 2-1 lead. Brett Berard’s hard work along the boards drew in two Bridgeport defenders, opening up space for the cutting Othmann to collect a pass and roof a shot by Jakub Skarek much to the delight of the Wolf Pack faithful. Othmann’s tally was his 12th of the year.
39 seconds was all it took to have the game’s opening goal, as Julien Gauthier deflected a point shot from Robin Salo that snuck under the pad of Louis Domingue to give Bridgeport a 1-0 lead right out of the gate. Gauthier, a Wolf Pack and Rangers alum, made his AHL season debut in this contest.
The Isles had a chance to expand on their lead as Matthew Robertson went off for holding, but a strong kill culminated in Alex Belzile drawing a hooking call on Tyce Thompson at 8:35, giving the Pack a powerplay chance of their own. Hartford had three quality chances on their first powerplay of the night, but Skarek stood tall to preserve Bridgeport’s lead.
The Pack got another crack on the powerplay a few minutes into the middle stanza, as Karl Henriksson drew a cross-checking penalty. The Isles’ PK unit stood tall, generating quality chances of their own that forced Domingue to be alert.
Hartford drew a fourth penalty at 12:32, giving them another opportunity to get on the board. Just under a minute into the man advantage at 13:20, Robertson rifled a shot from the point that caught a piece of Ryder Korczak before pinballing past Skarek to tie it 1-1. Korczak’s powerplay tally is his fifth goal of the season. Artem Anisimov got on the board with a secondary assist, his third of the campaign.
Bridgeport nearly retook the lead moments later, but Domingue would stand tall to rob William Dufour with the glove. Dufour found the puck in the slot while all alone but couldn’t solve the veteran goaltender.
Hartford’s top line got to work shortly after, leading to Othmann’s go-ahead 2-1 tally.
A late double-minor penalty for high sticking by Bobby Trivigno sent the clubs into the second intermission with the Islanders getting 3:58 of powerplay time to open the third period.
A strong effort on the kill allowed Hartford to stay ahead to begin the final frame. It would be Trivigno fresh out of the box building the Pack’s lead to 3-1, as he spun off a defender along the right-wing wall before breaking free to beat Skarek under the blocker at 4:18. The goal was his fourth of the season. Brett Berard notched his second assist of the night on the goal.
A hard-nosed effort from Anton Blidh gave way to an empty net goal for Adam Sýkora, cementing the 4-1 victory at 18:55 with his sixth marker of the year.
Domingue made 37 saves to pick up his 13th win of the season, improving the Wolf Pack to 5-1-0-0 against the Islanders. That record involves four straight head-to-head wins in the ‘Battle of Connecticut’.
The Wolf Pack continue their homestand tomorrow night when they welcome the Providence Bruins to town. The puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m., and 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.