HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack fell behind 3-1 on Wednesday night at the XL Center in downtown Hartford, but used another big second period to propel a comeback and defeat the rival Bridgeport Islanders by a final score of 4-3.
Thanks to a roughing penalty to Grant Hutton and a delay of game to Kyle MacLean, the Wolf Pack found themselves on a five-on-three powerplay late in the third period. Jonny Brodzinski won a faceoff back to Zac Jones, who fed Morgan Barron in the near faceoff circle. Barron fired a one-timer that beat Jakub Skarek at 18:15 of the second period to break a 3-3 tie and put the Wolf Pack up for good.
Hartford opened the scoring just 2:48 into the game, using a strong start to break the ice. Cristiano DiGiacinto fired a perfect pass to Justin Richards, who skated into scoring position and snapped home his first goal of the season to kick start the scoring.
The Islanders took over from there, scoring each of the game’s next three goals to jump ahead 3-1. Otto Koivula scored his third goal of the season on the powerplay 8:02 into the game, redirecting a shot by Arnaud Durandeau. 3:57 later, the Islanders would gain their first lead of the night when Blade Jenkins pounced on a rebound and buried his fourth of the campaign.
Jenkins needed less than three minutes to find the net a second time. His second of the game and fifth of the season came at 14:43, as he gained the offensive zone on a two-on-one and elected to shoot, beating Keith Kinkaid.
Trailing 3-1 at the first intermission, the Wolf Pack turned the tide early in the second frame. Zach Giuttari fired a shot through traffic that missed the net, but the puck came to Alex Whelan behind the goal. Whelan quickly wrapped the puck around the far-side of the net, beating Skarek for his second goal of the season just 1:47 into the period.
13:05 later, the Wolf Pack were able to draw even with Tanner Fritz’s fourth goal of the season. Libor Hajek fired a shot from the point that Fritz redirected perfectly in the slot to get the score to 3-3.
Moments later, the Wolf Pack powerplay would strike for the third straight game. Barron blasted home his team-leading sixth goal of the season at 18:15 to put the Pack ahead for good.
Hartford got a key penalty kill in the third period, cementing their third straight win overall and their fourth victory in five tries against the Islanders this season.
The Wolf Pack return to the ice Friday night when they visit the Providence Bruins. Puck drop is set for 7:05 pm.
The Pack is back at the XL Center on Saturday night when they play host to the Hershey Bears. Saturday is also ‘Hockey Fights Cancer’ night at the XL Center. Puck drop is set for 7:30 pm. For tickets, please 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.