WOLF PACK STORM BACK WITH FIVE GOAL THIRD PERIOD TO STUN BEARSNov 20, 2021
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack gave up three unanswered goals in the second period to fall behind the visiting Hershey Bears 3-2, but stormed back with five unanswered of their own in the third period to take a 7-3 decision at the XL Center on Saturday night.
Ty Ronning sprung Lauri Pajuniemi into the offensive zone just a minute after tying the game 3-3. Pajuniemi gained separation from two Hershey defenders and snapped his second goal of the game by Hershey starter Zach Fucale at 3:57 to give Hartford the lead back for good.
The Wolf Pack started the game off strong, opening the scoring 6:18 into the contest. Braden Schneider sent a perfect pass to Anthony Greco, who fired home his fifth of the season to get the night going. Just under six minutes later, at 12:13, Patrick Khodorenko lit the lamp for the first time this season. P.C. Labrie found Khodorenko, who fooled Fucale with a snapshot through traffic to put the Pack up 2-0.
The second period was a completely different frame, unfortunately for the Wolf Pack. Shane Gersich got the Bears on the board just 93 seconds into the stanza, pouncing on a turnover for his first goal of the season.
Hershey was able to even the game just under nine minutes later. Lucas Johansen fired a shot from the point that Mike Sgarbossa deflected on the way in. The redirect beat Keith Kinkaid, giving Sgarbossa his sixth goal of the season at 10:06. Hershey would continue to pour on the pressure, gaining their first lead of the night at 15:13 of the second period after a sustained stretch.
Former Hartford defenseman Dylan McIlrath fired a shot through traffic from the point that beat Kinkaid for his first as a Bear.
The third period, fortunately for the Wolf Pack, was a lot more like the first. Hartford found its groove, breaking out for five goals.
Pajuniemi tied the game 2:53 into the third, getting his stick on a shot from the wall by Ronning. 64 seconds later at 3:57, Pajuniemi snapped home his second of the game to give Hartford a 4-3 lead they would not lose.
Austin Rueschhoff set up the insurance, winning a battle behind the Hershey net and gaining possession. Rueschhoff sent a pass into the slot for Labrie, who buried his second of the season at 4:24 to make it a 5-3 Wolf Pack lead.
Jonny Brodzinski got into the fun at 8:26 of the third, firing a one-timer on the powerplay off a Zac Jones feed. Brodzinski would tack on his second of the game, and sixth of the season, at 14:13 while shorthanded. Brodzinski followed up after Schneider was denied by Fucale, poking the rebound home for his second shorthanded tally of the season to put an exclamation mark on Hartford’s seventh home win of the year.
The Pack is back at the XL Center next Friday night when they play host to the Springfield Thunderbirds for the first time this season. Puck drop is set for 7:00 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.